On The Road: Burgerdelphia Eats Las Vegas, Gets Sick

All I wanted was a goddamn hamburger.

One of the most important things I've learned since starting this site is that, despite being a murder-ridden, drug-laden, genetically-muddled-with-New Jersey cesspool, Philadelphia has one of the best food cultures in America. No where is this more evident than when I go on my annual trip to Las Vegas.

That city's cuisine, much like the rest of its reputation, is built on neon lights, broken dreams and cancerous silicone implants. Its idea of a nice restaurant is, well, Bobby Flay's. You can judge the "quality" of the restaurants by how old their stripper waitresses are (determined by counting the rings around their eyes), but no matter where you go, all the food in the city tastes a little like smoke and a lot like crushed barbiturates.

Burger Bar

I didn't want to dine at one of the various McTitties in the city, but in order to claiming my winnings as a business expense I needed to write a review, so the hunt for a burger began.

On my last trip to Vegas I had one of the finest and most healthful burgers of my life: the deep-fried kobe beef sliders at Company. Unfortunately like the restaurant's website, the bistro was unavailable, booked for private parties every week. Strike one.

Next stop was a steakhouse called Tender. Still in the mood for kobe, I ordered their $25 kobe burger, medium rare. One coworker of mine wanted to share the kobe experience and ordered the burger as well, while a second ordered the kobe meatloaf. Later that night, the three of us shared another experience as we all threw up violently for hours. Strike two.

Disheartened but determined to get a tax writeoff, we ended up at the cleverly named Burger Bar, the only place in Vegas you can get a meal for under $50. I'd been there before for their impressive (for Vegas) tap list, and spent a night with some Young's Double Chocolate Stout and Deschutes' Abyss. But now it was time to go all out and get the epic Rossini burger, which features kobe beef, sauteed foie gras, and shaved truffles on an onion roll.

Burger at Burger Bar

It also costs $60. Despite my gambling winnings, I can't really afford that all-out.

Taking it down to a more middle-class level of epic, the $20 Hubert Keller burger is made from buffalo meat, with caramelized onions, baby spinach and blue cheese on a ciabatta bun. Despite being the second-rate choice, it is in no way a second rate burger. It's not merely good for Las Vegas, it's simply good. The spinach, cheese and buffalo mixture had a taste and texture so similar to the Greek grape leaves that you could almost forget you were eating a sandwich. The buffalo especially was sublime, delicate and sweet with a finely ground texture that practically melted. Easily some of the best buffalo I've ever had. And I didn't throw up, making this the only place in Nevada I will ever recommend going.

As for my business in Las Vegas:

Eat your heart out.