Saturday, April 11, 2015

City Tap House: Logan Square Review

Public House was home to many a happy hour when I was in grad school. While it didn't have the best food, the space was sleek and spacious compared to most spots in Philly. When I heard City Tap House had decided to take over the space, I was excited at the prospects for the food as well.

I missed a recent Yelp Elite event at CTH, so before seeing Interstellar IMAX at the Franklin Institute with some friends, we all stopped by to grab dinner and a drink. CTH has several outposts including one in Uni City and another in DC. They're possibly expanding to NYC as well!

There's plenty of space and seating for you and your friends to grab a brew and watch a game on the big screen. It seems fairly family friendly too as there were plenty of kids hopping around while enjoying their food and night out on the town.

Buffalo Trace Bourbon [$12]

I started off with some Buffalo Trace bourbon - lightly smoky and refreshing. 

Corn & Crab Hush Puppies [$12]
Citrus remoulade, honey thyme butter

We ordered a slew of apps. The corn and crab hush puppies had great crunch, but maintained a fluffy consistency crab and corn, with seafood essence. It was served with a citrus remoulade and a housemade honey-thyme butter which had a touch of subtle sweetness to add richness to each bite.

Foie Gras Mousse [$15]
Apple cider gelee, pommery mustard

When I saw that foie was on offer at CTH, I knew that efforts were being made in the kitchen by Executive Chef Ian Branning, who has honed his skills at Ruth's Chris and Stephen Starr's empire of restaurants. I was really surprised at how nice this turned out - creamy, yet light, the richness of the foie was tempered by the apple cider gelee. Six grilled toasted points were the perfect vessel for the foie, which was also balanced by the acidity of the pickled red onions and the great dijon mustard. A must order.

Ten Spice Wings [$12]
House blue dressing, celery, carrots

A huge portion of wings had a great dry rub that wasn't spicy and had a texture reminiscent of cornmeal. The chicken was moist and juicy. Celery, carrots, and blue cheese accompanied the wings.

Blue Crab Mac n Cheese [$12]
Cavatappi pasta, herbed bread crumbs

While the mac n cheese could have used more bits of blue crab, the essence was definitely in the creamy cheese sauce. The cavatappi noodles were perfect to hold on to that delicious sauce, with a great al dente texture.At first I thought this was a pittance of a portion, but the richness of the dish made this just the right amount.

Caesar Salad [$10]
Romaine hearts, Parmesan crisp, garlic croutons, crispy shallots

Considering the onslaught of apps for just 4 of us, the GF opted for a lighter option for her entree. The salad was dressed well, without being drowned in Caesar dressing. A thick Parmesan crisp, garlic croutons, and bits of crispy shallots rounded out each bite.

Braised Short Rib [$21]
Truffled parsnip puree, radicchio, salsa verde, shaved horseradish

I went with a heartier dish of short ribs. While the meat could have use a bit more seasoning, they were fall-apart tender and there were three decently sized portions of meat. The buttery and subtly sweet parsnip puree was lightly accented by the truffle oil, though I missed the shaved horseradish. The star of the dish for me though? The raddichio which had some acidity (pickling?), which I enjoyed.

CTH is not just a bar offering pub food. It's on par with a gastropub, offering great bites with some creative twists. On top of the great food, the service was on point as well. We had a great, snarky waitress from Brooklyn and the manager Andrew managed to stop by to check things out. On a Friday night at 7PM, it was bumping and everyone seemed to be enjoying their drinks and food. Considering we live only a few blocks away, I'm sure we'll be by again. Hopefully the rest of 2015 solidifies this great start for City Tap House at Logan Square!

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