I wrote about Race Street Café's burger a couple weeks ago on AHT, and honestly it's been on my mind ever since I took my first bite of it. There's not much I can add here that I haven't already said on Serious Eats, but amongst all the burgers I've had in Philadelphia, it's probably one of three (try guessing the other two!) that I could see myself craving/returning to Philly just to have... it's just that good. It's nothing innovative or new, it's not dressy or gaudy, it just feels... right. Everything about this burger screams perfection, from the delicate and firm crust on the bun to the perfectly melted and integrated cheese, all culminating with the gorgeous pink innards...
Love at first sight. It's okay to admit it... don't lie to yourself. The thing is, Race Street Café never really shows up on anybody else's favorite burger lists. You get your usual suspects of Village Whiskey, Good Dog, Monk's Café, etc. - which is really a shame since for the most part, they all pale in comparison imho. I've had all of them... and even if I'm nitpicking, there was something wrong with every single one of them. If you asked me what was wrong with this burger, I would be speechless. Probably because I was too busy ignoring you while shoving gigantic bites of burger in my mouth.
What's messed up is that the burger isn't even the best thing I ate there. It was the garlic mayo. Disgustingly enough, if you told me I could buy a bottle of their house mayo and squirt it into my mouth like some deranged fat kid... I would. Inevitably I'd end up spraying some on my clothes, but you know what? I wouldn't even bother cleaning it off. I would relish the opportunity to walk around town smelling like a garlic and fat-based emulsion. It'd be pretty boss. I know what you're asking... "but wait! What about the picture of the fries... how are they!?" Answer - they're just there to sop up the garlic mayo. Fact. Anyway, I know what I'm doing next time... I'm slathering the mayo all up inside that burger. Oh god, what a mighty sandwich that'll be.
Race Street Café is home to one of... no, my favorite burger in Philly. The only downside is that you'll leave covered in burger "love juices" and speckles of mayo all over yourself. No amount of shame would stop me from going back though.