Located next to Independence Hall and in the lovely Hotel Monaco, the Red Owl Tavern opened up a few years back, seeking to provide updated American fare to the local (read: tourist) masses. So in an effort to check it out, the GF and I decided to have dinner here with some out of town friends, before enjoying some drinks at the rooftop Stratus Lounge.
Apologies in advance for the piss-poor cell phone pictures, but we were heading out for a night on the town after!
Hibiscus Fizz [$11]
Absolut hibiscus vodka, lemon juice, basil syrup, sparkling wine
The GF went with the hibiscus fizz, which featured tart effervescence with a nice lime finish.
Buffalo Trace bourbon, Amontillado sherry and chocolate bitters
The chocolate bitters were a nice complement to the Buffalo Trace, with the sherry providing some smooth flavors to round things out.
Fried Calamari [$12]
We started off with some fried calamari, which had avocado crema dressed over the crisply fried squid. Unfortunately, the dish was over-salted so after a few, no mas.
Potato Skins [$8]
The potato skins came as a trio, and while the spicy chorizo was nice, the skins could have been crisper. The innards were creamy though, with sour cream dressed on top.
Vegetable Casserole "Cassoulet" [$18]
The GF went with the veggie casserole (at least according to what was printed on the menu), which was a melange of veggies mixed in with gnocchi and topped with cheese. This was well-seasoned and hearty, but the flavors seemed to blend together a bit too much to distinguish any individual element.
I went with the standard burger, ordered medium-rare. This came out medium-well and was clearly mixed up with my friend's who got the medium-rare. Still, the saving grace was that the burger had a nice salty crust and was juicy within. The cheddar was perfectly melted and the crisp bacon provided some salty heft. The garlicky parmesan fries could have been crisper, but were delicious nonetheless.
I couldn't help but get some mac and cheese and Red Owl Tavern's iteration on this comfort staple featured sharp cheddar and nicely al dente pasta. No quibbles here!
As you can see on the receipt, this post was long overdue. And for this particular trip, I wasn't overly impressed by the dishes I tried here, especially considering there are plenty of offerings are available in Old City and nearby Midtown Village. The small tables were annoying as well, especially considering the abundance of space.