Announcing a new Meetup for Metro Philly Monday Night Supper Club!
What: MPMNSC @ South Philadelphia Tap Room
When: June 30, 2008 7:00 PM
Price: $1.00 per person
Where: Click the link below to find out!
Meetup Description: Here's something a little different.
AGAIN, DO NOT SIGN UP UNLESS YOU ARE COMMITTED TO ATTENDING.
South Philadelphia Tap Room
by Adam Erace
Charming decor lime leather seats, quirky barrel chairs, neat chalkboards, hardwood floors, and big custom windows is surprisingly nice.
And now there's new blood in the kitchen. South Philly native Michael Zulli who was the exec chef at Bridgewater's Pub, a place that greets the Acela jetset with yak burgers and boar stew. A recovered vegetarian converted by the wonders of boar bacon, Zulli has transplanted his game theory south, filling the SPTR menu with ostrich, elk and bison testicles.
Buffalo steak hums with smoky Southwest heat from a wrapping in Neuskes applewood bacon that Zulli doctors with an in-house jalapeno curing. Sambal-spiked baby octopi get grilled to a summery char and tossed simply in lemon, extra-virgin olive oil, parley and oregano. But on bamboo skewers, the ostrich kabobs have so little meat they look more like naked Tootsie Pops than proper kabobs.
That's actually bear bacon in the Bear BLT Salad, cut from the belly of farm-raised brown bears. Unfortunately, when it's burned it tastes just as acrid as regular bacon. Overly creamy Caesar dressing and huge, fork-straining wedges of awful out-of-season tomatoes don't help.
Zulli's hire coincides with SPTR's seamless expansion into the abandoned house next door. Exposed brick, wrought-iron rails and wood booths furnish the 40-seat dining room, which affords a glimpse of a pirate flag hanging in the semi-open kitchen. This year at the Tap Room, says Cap'n Zulli, they're taking no prisoners.
Dude does a remarkable job updating such usual suspects as wings (dry-rubbed Thai-style with ginger and allspice, then basted in a hot-sticky-sweet ginger-chili sauce glaze) and burgers (topped with King Ludwig beer cheese and IPA-braised onions). English muffins bookend the respectable crab cake sandwich and Blue Pig, a six-ounce patty of ground wild boar crowned with gorgonzola and porky boar bacon, the temptation that hastened Zulli's exile from the garden of vegan. The nooks and crannies add nice texture, but a muffin augmentation would hang onto the boar better.
Slender and pale-blond, McDonald's look-alike fries come with all sandwiches. Still, I advise ordering the poutine, Quebec's comfort food of fries, brown gravy and fresh cheese curds. Shiitake gravy and mozzarella cheese curds top Zulli's poutine (say it: poo-tin), an incarnation just as artery-clogging and unhealthy as versions I've had up North (which is really the highest compliment payable in poutine terms).
East Passyunk's Mancuso & Son supplies the poutine's curds, as well as the formaggio for a cheese plate, which might include peppercorn-studded pecorino, asiago or gorgonzola. But don't ask the servers. The hipstery, skinny-jeaned staff range from spacey to animated, but they're across-the-board with not telling and not knowing what Mr. Mancuso's serving tonight.
Wicked desserts puffy honey-drizzled churros, Bailey's bread pudding come courtesy of Zulli's pastry chef and cousin Michael Giovanetti. Skip the Breathalyzer-busting Stoli Vanil root beer float (like making out with a hooker from Chernobyl) in favor of green-haired sous chef Zach Volta's dope strawberry trifle: strata of fresh strawberry compote, chantilly cream and moist Rumple Minz-soaked pound cake.
Learn more here:http://diningout.meetup.com/263/calendar/8126714/