114 South 20th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
VW may be Jose Garces’s fifth Philly establishment, but it’s his first non-tapas, non-Latin one, and this corner spot feels more like a bar than an eatery. There are only seven tables inside; a gorgeous bar takes center stage; and stars include a well-researched list of 130 whiskeys and classic cocktails like the old-fashioned. But since it’s Garces, people come for the food. While the vibe is understatedly cool, the menu items are totally — in a good way — over the top. The duck fat french fries are layered with short ribs and cheddar cheese sauce; the lobster roll has bacon; and quail is salty, meaty and deep-fried. The burgers are big, eight ounces each, and made of three cuts of beef and Kobe fat. The Village urger, served on a sesasme seed bun from Garces Trading Company and topped with Thousand Island dressing, is a moist, lip-smacking umami delivery vehicle. Insider tip: Avoid the crowds by going for lunch.
Best of Philly 2010: Diet Buster
This is the reason you passed up the glazed doughnut at work and took that extra spinning class this week. Totally worth it.
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