Kennett Be The Worst Joke On The Internet?
Over the last two months, Kennett has repeatedly popped up on my radar. Between favorable reviews from Craig LaBan and some other bullshit I'll make up later [Whoops. - Ed.], my interest became officially peaked.
Walking into the bar after the last First Friday felt a bit like coming home to a place you've never been. Rich wood tones and music courtesy of some British fop immediately warmed me to the space, which seems to specialize in that "premium rustic" look so in vogue these days; low brow at high prices. After glancing at the solid beer list, I had already decided I'd be returning many nights over the summer. Ordering an Avery Salvation, I leaned back and relaxed, anxious for what I was sure would be a delicious burger.
That was before I looked at the menu.
The Burger: EWWWWW. A beef patty made with bone marrow, salt and pepper, topped with pickled onions and anchovy mayo. Someone took all the food that makes kids say “GROSS!” and combined it into a burger that sounds, well, gross. With a side of yuck.
Kyle: The last time I ate bone marrow I spent 12 hours regretting the decision and 12 months wondering if my days of putting questionable things in my mouth were coming to an end. I've had allergies to some foods and distastes for others, but never in my life has the thought of a food elicited fear in my mind and pain in my stomach. “I'll never eat bone marrow again,” I told my girlfriend with all the conviction of a hangover survivor.
Had I known that Kennett's burger included bone marrow, I wouldn't have recommended we try it. Finding ourselves seated and already served, Laurence and I still had a debate about whether we should go through with it, or opt for the lamb burger; for a brief, terrifying moment, we considered making it a burgerless night. After much debate and hand-wringing, we ordered the burger and girded our stomachs for misery.
In the accepted narrative arc, this would be the part where I confound your expectations with how glorious the experience turned out to be. But, I'm a piss poor writer, and so:
Kennett's burger is fine. Unlike the sickening experience at Ladder 15, Kennett's burger features bone marrow shavings mixed into the ground beef and cooked thoroughly, and the result is a burger with a rich and fatty flavor but absent the grease and weight. Dusted with only salt and pepper, the only seasons you ever really need, it offers a simple and effective balance of flavors. The meat, if anything, was healthy and lean, with the marrow offering the deception of unhealthy food and flavor.
That deception carries through to the rest of the sandwich's ingredients. No one would mistake a hamburger for health food, and Kennett takes advantage of this widely held belief by sneaking in nutritious(ish) toppings. From the pickled onions to the anchovy mayonnaise to the collard greens, every extremely fresh ingredient is something you hated as a child and pretend to enjoy now for the sake of appearing mature. Maybe that's because it takes a mature person to maintain a poker face while swallowing the sour, fishy combination on the burger, or to not cry a little when looking at the steaming greens.
Oh, yes, the collard greens. They aren't listed in the burger breakdown because they aren't on the burger—they arrive on your plate in the exact spot you would expect a pile of crispy, greasy, fattening french fries. In a further blow to my attempts to die before 40, Kennett has tossed the fries aside and replaced them with one of the least popular vegetables known to man. All iron and oil, the collard greens taste like the worst parts of your childhood. Or the best parts of alchemy. Adding peculiar flavors to your burger is one thing, but replacing fries with vegetables is inhumane in the extreme.
Eating this burger will not make up for an adolescence of unchecked caloric intake and bad parenting. Interesting in concept, the mash of flavors is at best distracting instead of complementary, and at worst unpleasant. The patty itself is good, and I'd consider getting it again sans toppings, but the slight achovy taste and vinegarified onions hurt rather than help. And, honestly, collard greens? Are you trying to mock me or guilt me? If I wanted to feel bad about my life decisions I'd go back and read the Burgerdelphia archive. Rating: 5/10.
Laurence: The first rule of Burgerdelphia is that we eat burgers. The second rule of Burgerdelphia is that we write about eating burgers.
You wake up. You go to your day job. You eat a burger. You write about a burger. Repeat.
After you've eaten enough burgers, they begin to blend together like the sundry cow pieces in a meat grinder. “Did we eat the burger already? Did we like it?” Khyber, Kennet, PuB and Kitchen, Kinkos. Soon they all seem the same. Sometimes there are standouts. But the Whiskey Kings of the Philadelphia are few and there is vast pool of mediocrity just below this tier. A while back we put all the burgers on a graph to analyze the rating distribution. It fit neatly under the standard statistical bell curve. This means that the very good and the very bad are few, while the middle ground covers a wide swath of real estate.
And that's maybe the best I can say about Kennet's bone marrow burger. Aside for causing Kyle and me extreme stress as we considered whether to risk our abdomens once again on a substance known to be about as pleasant as slime mold on junkyard sofa, there's not a lot to say about the food. The bone marrow's enhancement of the meal was about as successful as Anthony Weiner's cover up tactic and the collard greens instead of fries were more offensive than his indiscretion.
With decent bread, a nicely spiced patty, fresh vegetables, and grilled pickled onion there's nothing not to like, but that's just not really good enough for me anymore. The food at Kennet overall is better than the burger and I'd love to return to sample some of the other fare when I'm off the clock. I saw a plate of gnocchi that looked killer and had me second guessing my carnivore behaviors. Rating: 6/10.
You know how some meals or restaurants are described as "an experience?" That's a nice way of saying "bad in an interesting way." Kennett's burger is an experience.