50 Burgers, 50 Days: Phil's Ice House

 
 
A burger a day all around Austin, plus an answer
to the pressing question: fries or rings?
 
Day 5: Phil's Ice House
5630 Burnet Road. 707-8704, www.philsicehouse.com.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday. 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday-Saturday.
 
By Mike Sutter | Fed Man Walking | 08.15.11
 
The burger: Phil's draws from its symbiotic relationship with Amy's Ice Creams to adopt random Austin neighborhood names. In one $8 mini-burger basket, for example, you can get a taste of Crestview (chili cheese), Rosedale (barbecue sauce and onions) and a more geographically expansive Violet Crown (bleu cheese and onions). But my target was the Jardin ($8), a one-stop version of a Mexican street burger with ham, bacon, cheddar and jalapenos. Bacon rules this protein piñata, beating the beef and less aggressive pork like it was Oscar Mayer's birthday. Apparently the bun got all the candy, because while it might act all sweet, it's still pushy and smothering. Step aside.
 
Fries or rings? The nod goes to the mix of regular and sweet potato fries that comes with your burger basket. They're crisp and hot and truly different from one another, with starch textures that play to each one's strengths: earthy or honeyed, both cut flat for more surface crunch. Filament-thin onion rings, on the other hand, cleave together in fragile clumps on a basket as slick as an oiled-up Slip 'N Slide (75-cent upcharge or $3.75 a basket).
 
(Photos by Mike Sutter © Fed Man Walking)
 
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