Though the Electric Factory awkwardly straddles the no-man’s land between Chinatown, the Loft District and Northern Liberties, it lies within easy if less than picturesque walking distance to any of those neighborhoods. So when I decided to check out Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds last week, I struck out for a bite to eat first in Northern Liberties. Standard Tap beckoned. It’s a bastion of Philly’s gastropub scene for a reason, turning out solid dishes from all corners of its chalkboard menu. This night, though, I was hankering for a burger and a beer.
The Standard Burger may just be one of the most solid burgers in town. A standard setter, if you will. (Go ahead. Roll your eyes.) It may not win awards for ingenuity, in the vein of the bleu cheese infused burger at Good Dog, or reach out and grab your attention, like the topping of long hot peppers at Royal Tavern. But it's really, really sound, anchored by what’s most important – high quality beef that’s tender from not being over-handled, juicy and flavorful from adept cooking. In the comparisons above, I hardly meant to write-off the Standard’s toppings: sautéed mushrooms and onions, an ample lettuce leaf, a thick slice of beefsteak tomato (that was actually ripe and fresh unlike the pallid, wannabe tomatoes at most burger joints) and just the right amount of melted Monterey jack. The burger even shows off the talent of the chefs in the kitchen – and reflects the Tap’s vegetarian friendly menu – as the toppings are tasty in and of themselves and would work just as well on a veggie burger as on the omnivore option. Even the fries merit a mention, fried to a golden crisp, well-seasoned and cut medium so there’s a nice crunch to the exterior balanced by a wee bit of meatiness at center.
When I spotted Sly Fox IPA slotted into one of Standard’s two hand pumps, I looked no further. The more I drink from Sly Fox the more I’m impressed by the fine balance of their beers. This is really complete IPA, with a perfect hop/malt balance, fresh, floral aromas, no cattiness and a really sunny feel with just the right bitter edge on the finish. The beer’s creaminess when issued from the beer engine just adds to its appeal. And it’s also a righteous pairing with the burger. Get in there and grab a pint while the getting’s still good.
901 N. 2nd Street (at Poplar)
Philadelphia, PA 19123 [map]