Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Sultan of Sling

The Cherry Hill Mall has come a long way from the days when Houlihan's was the signature restaurant. The oldest indoor shopping center east of the Mississippi River is now ringed by eateries of many stripes, from a high-end steakhouse to a faux Caribbean hideaway.

The newest addition to the mix is Bobby's Burger Palace (2000 Route 38, 856-382-7462), serving comfort food from celebrity chef Bobby Flay. The Cherry Hill location is the chain's eighth (a spot in University City opened last year) and sits alongside Seasons 52 and Bahama Breeze.

As customers snake their way through the ordering line, an oversized menu on the wall provides the list of options. Burgers, whether beef, ground turkey or chicken, can be made "topless" - without bread - and fashioned with cheese, vegetables and condiments of choice. Ordering a sandwich "crunchified" nets you kettle-cooked potato chips atop the burger.

Despite pleas from other members of our Philadelphia sports-loving family, our older son went for a medium-well Dallas Burger ($7.75), crusted with spices and crowned with coleslaw, Monterey Jack cheese, BBQ sauce and pickles. (Rest assured there is a Philadelphia Burger, made with provolone cheese, grilled onions and hot peppers.) We brought along an Udi's gluten-free burger bun, and he simply ported the ingredients onto the bread. The manager we spoke with assured us that the kitchen is familiar with gluten-free food preparation and takes care to avoid cross-contamination.

The partially open kitchen has three separate fryers, one each for the gluten-free, thin-cut french fries and sweet potato fries ($3.00) and one for onion rings. The sweet potato variety is served with a spicy honey-mustard horseradish sauce, while the old standbys come with a ramekin of creamy fry sauce.

While the Palace also serves up milkshakes to chase the burgers, they're made in the same blenders as malteds, so we stayed away from those.

Seating was at a premium when we went - less than a week after opening day - and given that the food is both tasty and relatively inexpensive, I expect that to be the case for a while. I recommend that if you're in a party of multiple people, at least one group member should stake out a table while others stay behind to place the order.

Bobby's Burger Palace (Cherry Hill) on Urbanspoon
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