The Express Lunch at Varga Bar

Varga Bar has a great beer selection and is a good spot in the summer to sit outside and have brunch. They also serve lunch, including an “Express Menu” with a choice of soup and sandwich for $9. It comes with the claim that it is served within 30 minutes to get you back to work/class quickly while still allowing you the experience of a civilized mid-day meal. The ambiance it kitschy but enjoyable; they are all about the Varga pin-up girls over here, and I can’t complain about the sexy ladies painted on the ceilings or pictured on the walls.

First up, tomato bisque and a chili cheese kobe dog. The tomato bisque was fine, not particularly memorable. I was pumped for all of the condiments they pile on the hot dog, but skeptical that it could be filling as a lunch. The poppy seed bun was many notches above any standard bun. The meaty dog held its own flavor wise, even under all the chili and pickles. The chili is responsible for getting this hot dog close to being a sufficient amount of food.  It tasted good, it was fun, but maybe not worth going out of your way for.

I also tried the lobster bisque with the roast beef sandwich. When the pair came out to my table I sniffed… and did not like what was wafting at me… I really do not know what is going on with my luck in the soup department these days, but this soup was STANKY. I really couldn’t eat it. Could have been an off day, but I am not really up for revisiting that one.  Moving on, the roast beef was perfectly edible. The brioche bun was notable, maybe even the most exceptional element of the sandwich. The meat tasted good, but had some pieces that were too chewy to eat and probably could have been paired better with a cheese other than gruyere.

Other sandwiches on the express lunch menu include roasted pork loin, roasted portobella, and grilled cheese.

THE + (What somebody who likes this place would say)

  • I am looking for a sit down lunch, but I don’t have a lot of time
  • I like fancypants hot dogs
  • I am in the mood for a quality beer with my lunch
  • Outdoor seating when it is warm out

THE – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)

  • The thought alone of foul bisque makes me queasy
  • Some of the options are just ok and not even worth $9 plus tip
  • All of the sandwiches come with some form of cheese, so our lactose intolerant friends might have some issues there

Varga Bar, 942 Spruce St. (at 10th St.), 215-627-5200


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