Noblesse Non Oblige

Burger Breakdown

Noble - Map It!
$13.00
Lies, lies and more lies. And cheddar and special sauce. And more lies.
Thick cut fries, golden brown and seasoned with salt and hints of fresh herbs are included.
6.0/10

Nobility, like dinosaurs, never existed. Rumors in books from antiquity tell of its history, but much like bones in the ground or the question “do you think she's pretty?,” they are tests from god of your devotion. Why god displays the same psychotic insecurities as your college girlfriend, I don't know. Maybe the Gloria Steinem was right and God is a bitch.

The tarnished walls of Noble on Sansom have had an equally tarnished history: reviews over the years have been as mixed as the plaid uniforms of the servers. Philadelphia's understated-but-overpriced bistro market is saturated, and Noble has had a tough time defining itself. However, after changing the chef last year and recent additions like their rooftop garden, it's started to make a new name for itself as a high-end, posh dining destination for those with discerning taste.

It also had a deal on Groupon, which is the only reason we went.

The Burger: Looking over the menu, the first ingredient listed for the $13 burger is special sauce. Would that really be your top selling point? The Noble Burger also has cheddar and fries, and bacon for $1. And a surprise. But I won't tell you what that is yet. Oh, the suspense.

Burger at Noble

Kyle: Three reasons we ended up at Noble are: half off bar food, $3 beers and $6 cocktails during happy hour. Noble had been on our radar for most of the past year, but it wasn't until I saw the happy hour specials that we made an effort to go.

I'm going to do the noble thing and save you some time and money: Noble's happy hour specials are a lie. Yes, the restaurant offers $3 beers, $6 cocktails and half off bar food during happy hour. But to the point, they offer one beer for $3, one cocktail for $6 and one item from the bar menu half off. And ain'tthe burger, sister.

We naturally opted for bacon, which for some reason was underneath the burger. It was also strangely colored, a reddish-purple shade, and very circular, which in my Old Fashioned-sotted state I attributed to “magical meat elves” or Canadian bacon. Beyond the color and the shape, it was soft and sweet, characteristics I've never seen in bacon. Also, it was a beet.

They didn't put bacon on my burger. They didn't put bacon on any of our burgers. They put beets on our burgers. Beets.

What the fuck is a beet?

Allegedly this was only half a mistake, which like half of a hole, is wholly bullshit. Putting beets on burgers is par for course at Noble, a fact emphasized by the beet ketchup accompanying the tasty, crispy fries. Whether forgetting to include bacon is standard is as yet unknown. The bartender apologized for the absence, but apologies don't make bacon.

As I pondered how my life got to the point where the only thing to raise an emotion is pork, Vanessa took a large bite into her medium-well burger and was met with the Nile, post-plague. Blood poured out, unmistakable despite the other red juices coming from the beets. How the burger could have been so undercooked I do not know, but I do know that my girlfriend was not happy, which means I wasn't allowed to be happy either. Fortunately, I already wasn't. After the misleading happy hour price and missing bacon, the flood of blood was the third strike. I literally stood up and walked away from the meal.

Spiritually, I mean. I still ate the whole thing, but my ethos was so out of there.

How was the rest of the meal? I don't really remember. Those who tuned in last season will recall we don't take kindly to bacon betrayals, and it colored my perception of the meal. I know the bun was crispy and crusty, and that the meat was lean and had a nice texture, although it didn't have much flavor and was sweetened by the beet in a way I disliked. The burger didn't leave a necessarily bad taste in my mouth, but the experience did.

Noble's a decent restaurant, and our evening seems very likely to have been a series of unfortunate coincidences. The beets, however, were quite deliberate. I did not like the beets. Noble did not tell me there would be beets on my burger. Noble lies. Rating: 5/10.

Noble Burger

Laurence: I'm pretty sure the best cure for a terribly cold is going out to eat burgers and get drunk on cocktails. It was on such doctor's orders that I attended Noble with Kyle et al. Things started off on the right foot. My cocktail, an Old Fashioned had the panacea qualities I had hoped for.

The bar was pleasant enough, though a tad on the small side. Then again Noble isn't a huge place to begin with. Normally in situations such as this I expect to be manhandled by every waiter on his way out of the kitchen but was pleasantly surprised that I was left unmolested throughout the meal.

The anticipation for the burger was almost too much to bear. Delightful scents waft around Noble and I was already starting to salivate over the bacon, which by now you know wasn't to arrive. I'm not going to lie. That hurt. But it didn't ruin the meal for me.

The ingredients of the burger that did arrive were worth the wait. Good bread should never be underestimated. And on a burger it may be even more important to get just the right quality of taste, texture, and crust. Noble's house-made bun is top-quality. It has an excellent flaky crust, soft, fluffy, high calorie core, and the right balance of dryness to make it a perfect burger compliment.

The other ingredients were less notable, with the exception of the beets. Kyle's complaint about adding beets to a burger in place of bacon is warranted but to be fair we told the waitress we would continue eating even without bacon. She hadn't offer to reconcile the problem, leading me to think it wasn't something she was terribly concerned with in the first place, but we did accept the meal without complain; well, at least without audible complaint. And while I really would have loved some bacon, I did try to enjoy the burger as it was and I succeeded pretty well. In fact I quite liked the beet. The sweet and earthy flavors had a nice flirtation with the salty and savory meat and cheese. I wouldn't have picked beets as a topping if they were on the menu but since they were there I found them to be refreshing. Overall Noble offered a pleasant dining experience and a pretty good burger at place mellow enough to read a book at the bar, which is how I'd prefer to spend most of my life anyway. Until that day comes I guess I'll just have to coast on my boundless optimism. The whiskey helps too. That cold didn't stand a chance. Rating: 7/10.

Verdict: 

Probably not worth the trip for the burger. It's decent but a bit modern (beets as a topping). They might forget to give you bacon but if you're feeling adventurous and want a quiet place with a strong drink you'll probably be happy, otherwise, Village Whiskey is a half block away.

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