Sometimes when you’re in the mood for a burger, you want to walk up to a counter, say something like “number two, no mustard,” and then sit down at a picnic table with a burger wrapped in paper and a red-checkered basket full of fries. Other times, you may want something a little… nicer. Kensington Quarters is here for you when you want a really good burger, but also maybe a $15 cocktail and a waiter who does more than take your number off your table when you’ve gotten your food.
Kensington Quarters is located on the main strip of Frankford Avenue and has the advantage of being in the right place at the right time. Tons of bars and restaurants are making the move to Fishtown, and people now just assume that if there’s a new place on Frankford, it has to be good. While that’s not always the case, it fortunately is with Kensington Quarters - both in the food they serve and the experience you’ll have here.
The menu here is very meat-focused and includes everything from duck breast to a $100 mixed grill, but there are enough options that you could even bring a vegetarian here - as long as they don’t mind walking past the windows of hanging cuts of meat. It’s also not a steakhouse, despite the fact that everyone seems to think it is. They actually only have one steak on the menu, and while the ribeye is good, it’s far from our favorite thing here. That title belongs to the burger and it’s not even close.
The burger is what you should get here every time, and it’s what you’ll come back for. There’s nothing super special about it, and we can’t tell you what type of beef they use or sauces they created for it. But what we can tell you is that this simple combination of ground beef, cheese, onions, and pickles is a serious contender for our favorite burger in the city. It’s equal parts cheesy, flavorful and tender - and it’s all so perfectly cooked that the meat just kind of melts as soon as it hits your tongue.
Other than the burger, you’ll find a mix of things that are all good, but won’t blow you away. The agnolotti pasta is definitely memorable (if a bit too salty) and we like the mushroom toast quite a lot as well. They also do a pretty solid brunch in a part of town where brunch isn’t super common. And yes, the burger is available then, too.
Kensington Quarters is a good spot to know about for a bunch of reasons. It’s a nice place to hang out and grab a drink, and the space feels like a combination of an old farmhouse and a new Whole Foods. It also has one of the nicer back patios in the area where you’ll find us as soon as the six-month winter ends. But really you should come here to eat the burger with two hands while shutting out all exterior noise and disregarding everything you were taught about public eating etiquette. It’s that good, and you don’t even need to grab a number and stand in line to enjoy it.
In the words of Rihanna, this is what you came for. It’s juicy, just rare enough, and immediately surpassed at least 15 of our other favorite burgers on the first bite. It comes with onions, cheese, and pickles on the side. Put them on or don’t, put ketchup on or don’t, it doesn’t really matter. It will always taste great.
A red pepper pasta with tomato sauce and topped with broccoli rabe. This would probably be one of our favorite dishes here if it was just a little less salty. Still, not a bad choice, and we’d probably eat it again regardless.
It’s a pretty simple combination of sourdough toast, aioli, and mushrooms, but we like this quite a bit.
The agnolotti shells are filled with a sweet corn filling, and then the whole thing is covered in a butter sauce and topped with carrots and braised lamb neck. This is one of the best things here, and it’s definitely the highlight of the “pantry” section of the menu.
These shishitos are decent, but nothing to write home about. Our favorite part of this is the lemon aioli that the peppers are topped with. If we could, we’d make a law demanding that everything made with mayo had to be replaced with this.
This includes some sausage, pork belly, and pork loin. There’s also a side of succotash that’s okay, but not particularly memorable. Honestly, just get the burger.