After hearing such great things about the place, I finally had to check out The Commoner in Downtown Pittsburgh. It’s one of those newfangled trendy spots (located inside the similarly trendy Hotel Monaco), but unfortunately the lunch menu isn’t as vast as the dinner menu. But burgers were still on the menu so I was eager to try one out.
I went with the Pa Burger (as in Pennsylvania), which is made from local ground beef mixed with Elysian Fields lamb, some Pennsylvania noble (not fit for a commoner) cheddar, watercress and smoked yellow tomato ketchup. It also comes with fries. I ordered without the watercress because I like water, but not cress, then looked forward to my meal.
Unfortunately it did not start off well, as a couple slices of pickles and some sort of pepper came skewered upon my bun. This would be a difficult start to overcome and it turned out the burger was simply unable to do so. The meat was pretty flavorless and ground too finely such that there was very little texture to the burger. It was cooked to a pretty perfect medium rare, but this was not enough. The cheese was also not enough, for while it was nice and melty it couldn’t carry the flavor the burger on its own. The smoked yellow tomato ketchup came on the side and helped up the flavor a bit, but also not enough. I enjoyed the fries in that same ketchup, but they were nothing more than a solid side.
So, as you can see, the Pa Burger at The Commoner is not worth any sort of fuss. There are much better burgers to be found in Pittsburgh, and likely much better items to order at The Commoner. Yet, if you’re going to put a fancy pants burger on the menu you’d better do it right.