Tuesday, January 30, 2018

White Dog Cafe University City Review

Originally opened in 1983, White Dog Cafe in University City is a true pioneer in what we now consider to be the local, sustainable food movement. With that in mind, restaurateur Marty Grims purchased White Dog from Judy Wicks in 2009. And in doing so, he brought sleek, yet welcoming designs while maintaining the environmentally sound model. Consistent with all of his restaurants, he continues to ensure well-executed and creative dishes as well. Having just celebrated the 35th anniversary, the University City cafe recently expanded by adding 82 seats. This includes a bar and a lower-level solarium. Designed by the folks from Rohe Creative, floral fabrics and garden furniture keep it all in theme with White Dog's uniquely whimsical rooms.  

Cocktails: Honey Mule [$13] | McGruff Manhattan [$13]

Local is name for the cocktails as well. Having recently gone on a Philadelphia Distilling Company tour, I was excited to see both Bluecoat Barrel Reserve bourbon and their barrel-finished gin on display in their McGruff Manhattan - boozy, yet smooth, with a bit of sweetness coming through on the finish. The GF enjoyed her Honey Mule, which featured Penn 1681 vodka, along with the sweet spice of the Fruitlab ginger liqueur and Q brands ginger beer. 

Squash Fritters [$12]
Chili curry emulsion, pickled vegetables, micro cilantro

To start, we enjoyed the seasonal squash fritters. Crisp nuggets of hearty squash married well with the chili curry emulsion underneath, with the countervailing bite of the pickled veggies offering up a nice acidic balance. 

Kennett Square Mushroom Soup [$10]
Truffle creme fraiche, snipped chives

I always have to get the mushroom soup here. Not only are the Kennett Square mushrooms local, they doesn't get any better. Poured tableside, the earthy umami punch from the mushrooms hits you along with the faintest scent of truffle from the creme fraiche underneath. Don't forget to mop up the last spoonfuls with the house-baked bread.

Locust Point Chicken Chopped Salad [$22]
Smoked bacon, Birchrun blue cheese, hard boiled egg, red onion, ranch dressing

For the GF's main, she opted for the chopped salad, featuring grilled Locust Point chicken. It's enough for two, with the funk of Birchrun blue offering up hearty savoriness along with the crisp bits of bacon, hard-boiled egg, and ranch-dressed greens. 

Green Meadow Double Cheddar Burger [$19] + Farm Egg [$2] + 1732 Meats Bacon [$2]
Grilled red onion, tomato, smoked bacon mayo, truffle Parmesan fries

Do get the burger here. Green Meadow Farms beef is juicy and well-seasoned with a nicely seared crust. I opted for a farm-fresh egg and 1732 meat bacon - the perfect combo. Each bite is amplified by the fact that there's smoked bacon mayo covering the buttery brioche. And to complement this behemoth? White Dog's killer truffle parm fries. Trust me - if you're at any Fearless Restaurant (think: Autograph, The Deck, Moshulu, White Dog Wayne), you'll be missing out if you don't order the fries. Crispy on the outside with a great chew to the spuds within, the perfume of truffle and the salty hit of parm will have you dreaming for more. 

Kennett Square Mushroom Gratin [$9]

I'd highly recommend ordering the mushroom gratin as well. And why not when they're this tasty, especially when melded with cream and truffled bread crumbs. Delectable.

Apple Pie Bread Pudding [$9]
Croissant bread pudding, brown sugar bourbon ice cream

We ended our meal with the apple pie bread pudding - comforting, sweet, and with a nice juxtaposition between the warm pudding and the house-made bourbon ice cream. The brown sugar notes really came through.

So if you're in University City, I'd highly recommend stopping by White Dog Cafe for any meal. Judging by the crowds at the bar and dining in on a Saturday at 6PM, I'd say the neighborhood agrees. Pro-tip: for brunch, I'd definitely ask to be seated in the solarium - it's a visual treat that will complement the tasty dishes that are sure to come out. 

FTC Disclaimer: Thanks to White Dog Cafe Philly & Fearless Restaurants for hosting us. Regardless, my opinions is mine alone and, therefore, unbiased. 

White Dog Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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