Garces brings the Awesome Burger Armada to Amada
Before eating at Amada, I decided to really dig into the texts and do some research. So, it's time for a little history lesson. Long before the founding of Burgerdelphia, but not long after the founding of the country, Jose Garces, maybe the most acclaimed new chef between Savannah and Boston, decided to conquer Philadelphia. He prepared an armada 100 strong and sailed directly up the Delaware river. To let the world know his plans, Garces' ship was emblazoned with the word “ARMADA” in three-foot-high white letters. Garces' sole weapon: an awesome canon. That is to say, a canon that fires not bullets, but awesomeness. Sadly Garces did not realize the city is immune to awesome, as evidenced an abundance of un-awesome things here. The city of Philadelphia, without the guidance of the brilliant founding fathers, decided to open fire on Garces and his promises of bringing awesome to the city. Using the guns on the USS Olympia, they fired on Garces putting a massive hole in his ship and destroying the letter “R” in the word "armada." Garces was quickly defeated but managed to crash land the ship around 2nd and Chestnut where it remains today (though much altered and repaired) as Garces' restaurant “AMADA.” These are all facts*. Garces was granted asylum because he proved that he was the 391st illegitimate child of Benjamin Franklin and had secret burger knowledge in his DNA. What, you ask, happened to the awesome canon? Well seeing that the city was immune to awesome but not to being fat, he deiced to fire its mystical awesome inducing power at burgers. The results are impressive.
Now left-wing revisionist historians will try to tell you all sorts of crazy things. These people will tell you Amada is Portuguese for “loved” and that the tapas restaurant, (Garces' first) which opened in 2005, has an elegant yet casual atmosphere and wonderful attention to detail. You might also be told that Amada has a few excellent beers to choose from but has a great wine and cocktail selection. I think you know better than to believe all that.
*These are probably facts.
The Burger: You'll need to head early because this is a lunch-only burger. I know, this seems unfair and a waste of time, but it's not. It is awesome (see above). The 8 oz. Black Angus patty is cooked with all the love Garces can offer. It's served with tomato escabeche, guindilla aioli and Manchego cheese on, what else, a homemade brioche bun. And bacon, oh the bacon... more on this below. Truffle fries in a rich truffle mayo accompany this heavenly burger.
Laurence: Did I mention that this burger is awesome? Seriously, call out of work tomorrow and go eat it. The bacon is not why I love this burger so much, but it helps. The bacon is the thickest, trimmest, smokiest bacon in the land. It's to be expected from a place that has a bronze statue of a pig greeting you at the entrance and hocks of meat hanging over the bar. Now the bacon is great and while that's all very exciting, bacon does not make a burger. What does? Well balanced flavors, blending to the point of sublime, make a burger. The flavors of this burger meet everywhere they should. There's a nice subtle garlic flavor mixing with the savory meat, smokey bacon, rich aioli, and buttery roll. Everything is fresh and flavorful. You really can't ask for much more. I could go on but I think I made my point. Score: 9/10.
Kyle: Like the Patriot Act or the latest Marlon Wayans film, Amada had me thinking, "How the hell did they make that" for days after I had their burger. But unlike the destruction of our civil liberties or White Chicks, my incomprehension when facing Amada's hamburger was due to how amazing it was. The quality of this project is due in no small part to Iron Chef-winner Jose Garces, who is the Tony Stark of food and will now be referred to exclusively as Iron Man Jose Garces.
Where even to begin? Turning to my articulate and comprehensive notes, the first words written are "OH EM GEE truffle fries," which is as good a start as any. You don't get many fries, but what you get are thick, generously cut and heavily seasoned with truffle oil, with bonus truffle mayo hidden in the bottom of the bowl. Paired perfectly with the truffle flavor, the burger had an intense smokiness, unsurprising for a restaurant focusing on charcuterie but shockingly potent nonetheless; between the exquisitely cured bacon and the hearty burger, the flavor reminded me of some of the stronger rauchbiers I've tasted (think Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Märzen) and actually caused me to cough following the first bite. Speaking of the pork, the bacon at Amada may be the greatest I've ever tasted, and it was so thick that my mighty incisors couldn't easily slice through it. The patty itself was a definitely closer to medium-well than medium, but the meal was so delicious that I can hardly hold this as a strike against it.
Unquestionably, this is one of the best burgers I've ever had. That you can only get it at lunch is a crime, but it only highlights that Iron Man knows he can build a better burger. Amada's burger is the prequel to what you'll find at Village Whiskey (review coming soon); it is The Godfather to Village Whiskey's The Godfather: Part II, and I cannot wait to experience it. I am somewhat less optimistic for White Chicks 2. Score: 9/10.
Go tomorrow. I think your boss would understand.