Tag Archives: philly

Cafe Thanh Truc

My wife and I strolled by this place and picked up a classic sub. It was fantastic, though a bit smaller than I am used to seeing up here in NYC. But for $4.50, it was worth every penny.

Unfortunately I didn’t get a photo of it to share, but I did get a shot of the outside.

This was in Philly, by the way, near Pat’s & Geno’s. As such, they had a Vietalian version of banh mi that featured Italian sausage:

Didn’t try it.

CAFE THANH TRUC
1037 S 8th St
Philadelphia, PA 19147

Butcher & Singer

Butcher & Singer overall score: 90

My wife and I were in Philly for the weekend to see family and take in some sights. After a long day of walking around, we hit Butcher & Singer for a late evening carnivorous meal.

Flavor: 9

We ordered their Pat LaFrieda 50oz tomahawk rib eye. This thing was monstrous.

But, as you can tell, it was cooked to a perfect medium rare.

Let’s get right in there:

Gorgeous. And they did a fine job on this thing, especially considering there was no aging done to the cut. That bone adds a lot of flavor into the meat though. It was perfectly seasoned with a good crust on the outside, and the flavor penetrated deep into the muscle tissue for a nice even bite. I just missed that aged funk a bit.

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 9

A strip, two filets, two rib eyes, and multiple sized porterhouses are available here. Not too shabby, but also nothing over and above. In addition, there are no dry-aged selections. They do a great job cooking these fuckers though, so that’s a plus. And all the meats are LaFrieda, so you know you’re getting top notch quality here.

Portion Size & Plating: 9

Portions are all nicely sized here, with the exception of the bacon. I felt there could have been two strips for $12. Plating is simple and basic – nothing fancy.

Price: 9

I mentioned the bacon above. In addition, I felt that the tomahawk was a bit pricey for a non-aged cut at $125. Their porterhouse seemed to be a better deal for two diners. In any event, it was still well worth the shell-out, and they ended up comping our dessert, which was very nice of them.

Bar: 9

I wish this bar was bigger, because I would definitely give it a 10 based on the quality of the cocktails alone. There was some lounge seating as well, which was nice, but ultimately this bar was a bit small for such an immensely high-ceilinged joint.

In any event they mixed a perfect martini.

And they sported an awesome cocktail menu, with an entire page dedicated to Manhattans.

Definitely a cool place to hang out, even if you’re not eating.

Specials and Other Meats: 8

There are pork chop and lamb chop selections here, as well as a girly chicken entree. Not bad, but I’ve seen better.

Apps, Sides & Desserts: 8

We started with the thick cut maple bacon, which was awesomely sweet and savory at the same time.

Yes, that bacon is smiling at you.

I wish there was one more slice for that price of $12. Oh well.

For sides we went with a half portion of creamed spinach, which was generous for just $6. This was just okay. It did the job.

The stuffed hash browns were excellent. This was basically a latke of shredded potatoes with chunks of diced potato and sour cream inside. Fried to a crisp. Excellent for leftovers with fried eggs on top.

For dessert we went with the ice box lemon cake, which was similar to a key lime pie, only frozen. I liked this very much.

Seafood Selection: 9

There’s a great deal of nice looking seafood on the menu. Branzino, swordfish, shrimp, lobster and salmon. We also got a peek at the seafood tower app from across the restaurant and it looked marvelous. Not to mention they also had some east and west coast oyster varieties that were being offered on special.

Service: 10

Our waitress was awesome. She knew her meats in and out, and she was quick with answers to my questions about the beef itself, where it came from, whether it was aged, etc. Also, the bread was good. It was served with a soft, whipped butter, and it was warm and fresh.

Ambiance: 10

Fantastic. I am guessing this was an old bank that was converted into a steakhouse due to the incredibly high ceilings.

And they’ve got a nice bull head in the rear.

They play fancy 1920’s music, which is a nice change up from the typical trendy bullshit I’m hearing in NYC these days. Bravo.

BUTCHER & SINGER
1500 Walnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19102

Vietnam Restaurant

My wife and I hit this place before catching a bus back from Philly. Generic name aside, this place was pretty good at satisfying our cravings for Viet food.

We started with an order of banh cuon; rice noodle crepes rolled with ground chicken, mushrooms and herbs, served with a tangy, sweet and savory fish sauce and bean sprouts.

This is one of my wife’s favorite Vietnamese dishes, so we pretty much always try to order it if we see it on a menu. This one was pretty good, but I think it’s safe to say we’ve both had better.

Next were a pair of soups.

First, the classic beef pho noodle soup, with thinly sliced eye round beef (my go-to Viet soup of choice).

This packed a good amount of flavor, but, again, we have had better. Nonetheless, this bowl was still better than good portion of NYC Viet joints, which are known to suck on the whole.

Second soup: My wife had bun bo hue, which is typically a spicy lemongrass pork- and variety meat- based soup that contains everything from tripe to congealed pork blood.

This version had brisket as opposed to all that offal. It was still super spicy and had a great lemongrass kick to it. Also, the noodles were good. Lots of times the noodles used in this style of soup get too soggy and overcooked. These held up nice to strict scrutiny.

I still liked the pho better, but that’s a subjective thing for me. I think, objectively speaking, the bun bo hue was the better bowl here, even though it was dumbed down and “Americanized” a bit to avoid the use of offal meat.

VIETNAM RESTAURANT
221 N 11th St
Philadelphia, PA 19107

Pat’s v. Geno’s

The classic Pat’s / Geno’s rivalry has been done to death, so I’m not going to write a treatise here. I’m gonna tell you how it is plainly: Both are highly overrated, but they’re worth hitting at least once just to do it.

My wife and I tried one sandwich from each place, the same exact way: cheesesteak with wiz. No onions, no mushrooms, no other cheeses. Why? I wanted to test the meats out. $10 each.

PAT’S

Pat’s gives you more meat and more cheese on a superior bread.

However, that meat is riddled with chewy wads of fat. I’m a champion of rib eye fat, but this was no bueno. We spit pieces out several times throughout the process of eating our respective halves. Also, the quality of the meat seemed a bit shitty. You can just taste it. I think they also cook too much at once, because it had a steamed, rubbery texture as opposed to a nice griddled crisp.

GENO’S

Geno’s has the better ambiance, if such a thing can even be assessed.

Geno’s also had better meat quality, although that quality was still sub par on the whole. On the other hand, Geno’s didn’t give enough cheese on the sandwich. Lame.

So each had a benefit and each had a negative, but both were overrated. I think these places suffer from too much business. They make so much quantity so far ahead of time to deal with crowds, that they lose quality in the process.

In the quest for cheesesteaks, I suggest hitting Shorty’s or Wogies here in NYC. They’re better than these two joints by far. A buddy who grew up outside of Philly tells me that the better cheesesteaks are found in local pizza shops anyway down there, and that Shorty’s and 99 Miles to Philly are apparently pretty close to the real thing here in NYC.

PAT’S
1237 E Passyunk Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19147

GENO’S
1219 S 9th St
Philadelphia, PA 19147

Wogies

Wogies is known around town as having some great Philly cheesesteaks. I had been to the one in the west village once before. When I was downtown to meet a friend at a bar, I noticed a new Wogies location down by Rector Street on Trinity. I gave it a shot on my way home.

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I tried a chicken and regular Philly cheesesteak, both with wiz, American and onions.

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Pretty tasty. Only down side is that the cheese was not evenly distributed throughout the meat. It was mostly packed into the back of the sandwich, where the top and bottom sandwich bread meet, at the crease.

This other one I tried from the west village location was a cheeseburger hero. Pretty good, though heavy on the lettuce:

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WOGIE’S
39 Greenwich Ave.
New York, NY 10014

Shorty’s

Shorty’s is a Philly cheesesteak joint on 9th Avenue between 41st and 42nd Streets. They’ve actually got three other locations, but this is their flagship spot. I’d been in here once before and had a pretty damn good chicken cheesesteak. But this time I ordered a regular cheesesteak with American AND wiz, because I’m an animal, and onions, of course.

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That shit was so ooey and gooey that it would make Peter North drop his jaw in awe. I asked my buddy, who is familiar with genuine Philly cheesesteaks, if this compares to the famous Pat’s and Geno’s. His response was that this is pretty good, and that they do a very close job to the authentic style found in Philly.

We also tried regular and Italian flavored (parmesan and herbs) fries. Both were really good but if I had to choose a favorite I would say the Italian style was a little better. The cheese makes it pop.

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Anyway, if beer is your thing, the place has a great happy hour special. Every bottle, can or draft is $4 until 7pm during the week. That’s pretty great, so get on it.

SHORTY’S
576 9th Ave.
New York, NY 10036

Reading Terminal Market

My wife and I took a stroll through Reading Terminal Market today in Philadelphia when we were nearby for a cousin’s 5th birthday party. This place is awesome. I was a little overwhelmed actually. It’s basically like a flea market filled with awesome places to eat, with cuisines varying across dozens of cultures. There are even some fresh meat, cheese, seafood and produce purveyors too. Unfortunately I was full, having just eaten some great pho and banh mi at a Vietnamese place just outside of Philly. But I wasn’t too full to snap some photos for you fuckbags. Here they are. Enjoy.

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Atlantic City

The crux of this entry is going to focus on two food stops we made while we were here: Morton’s and White House Sub Shop.

My buddy and I flew down like CEOs on a 30 minute flight from Long Island to check out a classic car auction that was going on at the convention center. I won’t bore you foodies with pics of the awesome cars. Instead I’ll get right to the good shit.

Had I known there was an Asian culinary battle going on down there, I would have registered to view/taste. Too bad I didn’t know until it was too late. This was right at the bottom of our elevator bank:

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Morton’s

I haven’t been to a Morton’s in a long time but I remember them being really great. My memory served me well. We went to Morton’s on Friday after we checked in. The rib eye was nearly perfect, aside from some bits of inedible gristle. Evenly cooked, juicy, with that signature aged flavor. 9/10.

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rib eye
rib eye
rib eye

My buddy tried the peppercorn strip steak. It was great too – really nice flavor, though I would go without the sauce. 9/10.

peppercorn strip
peppercorn strip

As a beef eater, I got my typical gin martini, made with Beefeater:

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On the side we had some bacon and onion mac & cheese, which was really good. Creamy, good smoke flavor.

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We also did a wedge salad – pretty standard:

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But the highlight of the meal was the “bacon steak” appetizer. It was soft and tender – don’t let the grill marks and charred looks deceive you in this image. It was thick, smokey, and delicious. We went back for more on Sunday, but they didn’t open until 5pm and we had a flight to catch.

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The service here was excellent. Our waitress, Nicole, knew her steak well and made great suggestions to us, and the management was good enough to come over and check in on us to make sure everything was to our liking. The price was right too: at only about $100 each we thought we got a great deal for all that food.

White House Sub Shop

This place is awesome. We went on Sunday morning at about 11am. I went with a cheesesteak loaded with the works: hot peppers, grilled onions, lettuce, and tomato. PACKED with flavor, not too salty or greasy, good quality bread. Just right. And for $8.66 you really can’t beat it. Check out all the pics:

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Worst part of the trip: Noodle Bar at Caesar’s. We were excited to go the first time, especially since I saw pho on the menu. Too bad it sucked. It was bland, and the meat quality was low to poor at best. Also WAY too many noodles and not enough meat. Overpriced too, at $16 for a shitty bowl that is much better and costs only $6 in NYC.

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On Saturday night we were starving since we skipped dinner and had $2 beers at Mountain Bar instead.

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decor at mountain bar

The only place open nearby at 1am, that we knew about anyway, was the fucking Noodle Bar. So we went back in. This time I ordered salt & pepper pork chops. They were pretty good, but I didn’t expect them to be deep fried and DRENCHED in table salt. WAY too salty. I only ate about half after doing my best to dust all the salt off.

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Lucky for us, we were able to salvage the night before with a good Bloody Mary at Phillips the next morning.

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And some gelato at the hotel lobby:

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And when I got home, my wife had this waiting for me – a new custom cell phone case with one of my logos on it. Best wife ever.

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