So I've been on a bit of a new (to me) restaurant tear the last month or two and I haven't been posting about them, I'm going to start now with American Sardine Bar.
I'll start off with the one thing that turned me off to the place before we even got any food: the jerk who walked in the bar with his (I'm assuming) rescued pit bull, and the bar staff not only didn't say "I'm sorry, your dog will have to wait outside while you pick up your six-pack of PBR", but bent down to pet the dog. I'm assuming they washed their hands afterwards but I really don't think that's the kind of thing I should have to worry about when going out to eat. That's one reason dogs aren't legally allowed in restaurants, y'know? Between the dog, its leash, and its owner the bar aisle was blocked for almost 10 minutes, during which patrons had to step over and around the dog or leash to get by. Anyway, I blame the bar staff more than the idiot with the dog, he obviously didn't know or care that dogs aren't allowed in restaurants (unless they're service dogs) but the staff should.
The food we had started out good but fell off as the meal progressed. We started with the two best things we had: the sardine sandwich and the onion rings. The sardine sandwich was probably the only thing we had that I'd go back there to eat, with hard boiled egg and mustard it was everything I like about sardines. I didn't care so much for the patty melt, it was as good as I'd expect given the obvious fact that it is drenched in butter. And I mean drenched, the various parts of the sandwich were all sliding over each other and the bread was soaked and falling apart, I had to use a fork after a few bites and it was way too rich to finish. I appreciate that the caramelized onions were well done and apparently the bread is baked in-house but drowning the sandwich in butter really wasn't doing it any favors. We also had the seitan cheesesteak, my companion liked it more than I did.
Anyway, I wouldn't recommend it. A couple good dishes out of six isn't enough. It also doesn't really compare favorably to South Philly Tap Room, which is not that far away, where Scott Schroeder is also the chef, and where the beer, food, and service are all much better for the same money.