Friday, December 5, 2008

Review: Tap Room on 19th

For as long as I've been walking back and forth between my parents' house and my grandmother's, there's been a bar on the corner of 19th & Ritner Streets in South Philly. Aside from Relli's Bakery on the other corner (good cakes, lousy pastry), it's never been a culinary destination. But some new owners have taken over the former dive and are trying to drag it into the Gastropub Century. Will they succeed?

They're off to a good start. The bar has been tastefully refurbished, and there are four high-top round tables for dining. It turned out to be a little awkward since there were six of us that night, but the second floor is currently being remodeled for restaurant seating. A fairly decent selection of beers on tap, though it would be nice to see a few more local brews occupying the Stella and Blue Moon taps. But, they were half-price since we were there for the 5-7 happy hour, so I won't complain.

We tried out the cheesesteak spring rolls for a starter, what is by now a pretty common item. They were done well, not too greasy and suitably beefy and cheesy. I had the fish and chips - nice crispy batter on the fish, and mutant-ly huge (though perfectly cooked) potato wedges and some nice coleslaw. L went for the burger, which was flavorful and cooked correctly, though a wider selection of toppings aside from American, Swiss, cheddar or provolone would be welcome. Fries were good and fresh, though a bit on the lighter side for my taste. My parents both got a slow-cooked brisket entree which looked delicious and was certainly generously portioned.

The menu is pretty huge, with 'small, medium and large' plates. Honestly I don't think it would be a bad idea to trim it down a little, but maybe they're at the stage where they're throwing things against the wall to see what sticks. The item everyone's talking about is the crab fries, which in this case are topped with real crab and not just Old Bay. They may be worth a shot on our next visit. The only thing really missing here (which is a little surprising in this day and age) are some decent vegetarian options, but that may come in time as well.

All in all, a pleasant surprise in the old neighborhood. If you are coming in from out of the area, you may consider SEPTA or parking a few blocks away unless you're comfortable with double- and triple-parking. Or if you're lucky enough to live nearby, just walk in. You've finally got a bar to be proud of in the neighborhood.

Tap Room on 19th on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Taproom on 19th has really tasty food and its inexspensive. The place is clean it has a nice mix of people. The flat screens are great too. Get the STEAK SALAD and TEMPURA VEGGIES my favorites.