First Bite: Frog Burger’s Love Burger
Philadelphia is officially a burger town now — we’re awash in gourmet patties from Bobby Flay, Jose Garces and more, as evidenced by our reviewer’s epic burger adventure in the July issue of the magazine — and now Steve Poses. Poses’ Frog Burger, a temporary tent in the Franklin Institute’s front yard, is the newest addition to the ballooning list of joints that satisfy your red meat fix. With its juicy burgers and eclectic sides, though, Frog Burger has the potential to stick out as a summertime favorite. We headed to the stand for lunch today to try the notorious Love Burger (pictured, after we took a bite out of it) — a beef patty sandwiched between two grilled cheeses, topped with a bacon-studded remoulade. Our arteries may be a little narrower for it, but we made it through the triple-decker sandwich (designed by Poses’ 23-year-old son Noah).
Honestly, though it may sound like a cardiologist’s horror, the Love Burger wasn’t all that much different from having a cheeseburger on a buttered, toasted bun. The grilled cheeses were buttery (but not greasy) and of thin, manageable size (you don’t have to unhinge your jaw for this one), and the remoulade added a nice, smoky-salty tang.
That said, while the novelty of grilled cheese-buns and a bacon-y special sauce makes for an interesting gimmick, what really made the Love Burger loveable was, well, the burger part. Poses wanted his burgers to be juicy — he tested 18 different burger blends to get the tastiest, juiciest meat. The decided-upon 80/20 house blend from local vendor Esposito’s provides just that. The thick patty — grilled to a perfect center-pink medium — was juicy and flavorful, the kind of burger that soaks the bun (in this case, the grilled cheese) in meaty, drippy goodness. The burgers are so juicy that the Frog Burger offers bibs to customers.
We also ordered a no-frills cheddar cheeseburger (pictured at left) to offset the absurdity of the Love Burger and to let the patty shine on its own. Served on a Martin’s potato roll with lettuce, tomato, and red onion on the side, the classic burger was everything a backyard burger should be—tasty, juicy, nicely charred beef; soft, fresh bun; single slice of melted cheese. Simply good. A side of salty fried green tomatoes, served with sans-bacon remoulade, provided a crunchy fix alternative to French fries (which are also available in plain, garlic, jalapeno, and cheese varieties).
Poses also got the backyard burger stand-vibe right. The straightforward shack gives off that kind of good, summer grilling smell, and there is ample picnic table-style seating. Frog Burger could use a few more patty flippers and cashiers, though — service is slow, and we could see how the line could become unbearable on a hot weekend afternoon.
Frog Burger, The Franklin Institute, 222 North 20th Street