Yes, the classic French bistro dish is Steak Frites.  But who can afford to eat that out these days?  At Union Trust Steakhouse in Philadelphia, steak options average 40 or 50 bucks--without the sides.  During weeknight Happy Hour in the dramatic and glowing upstairs bar, however, you can get a prime burger and perfect fries for $7.  Plus drink specials, $1 oysters, a dazzling view of the restored former bank with its soaring 65-foot purple medallion ceiling and impeccable service.

Similar Happy Hour specials can be found at high-end restaurants all over the country.  A good way to discover them is to check your local weekly newspapers (in print and online). And then sometimes you just have to ask:  Union Trust's happy hour specials were not advertised nor were they available at the main bar downstairs. (The "burger frites" special, though, can be ordered at lunchtime throughout the restaurant, located at 717 Chestnut Street).

For a truly comprehensive look at burgers options in Boston, Chicago, New York City, Philadelphia and San Francisco, check out The Burger Register  from New York Magazine's Grub Street blog.  Bon appetit.

Photo by Doreen Creede

"Use the good china for breakfast."