I'm from the Reading area, so I when I venture over to Philly, I usually hunt down some chow. In this case, my wife surprised my by taking me to Jack's Firehouse for a late lunch. Years ago, I expressed a desire to check this place out after enjoing his show on Food Network.
The place wasn't very busy at 3:30, but a few other touristy looking folks were scattered about. I asked the bertender what he had on tap and he said he had a nice Yards ale he'd like me to try. My wife ordered a diet coke, and received a tiny bottle of regular coke. According to Yards web site, they've won all kinds of awards for their Extra Special Ale, so mine must have been Philly PA or something else, because what I drank was terrible.
The service was pretty good, although we ran into one of my pet peaves where the waiter disapears for 10 minutes just because we weren't ready to order when he was.
He eventually brought us a couple of biscuits and a tiny corn muffin, along with some kind of raspberry puree (had the consistency of apple butter). Not bad, but nothing like my granny's buscuits or cornbread. The puree was rather pointless, very cold, but lacking flavor.
To start, I tried the shrimp and corn chowder. Not bad either, but not really chowder and not much corn, especially considering the time of year. My wife had the black eye pea and ham soup. This was outstanding.
For lunch I had North Carolina Crab Cakes with Hot Lava sandwich. Oh how disapointing. Lightly toasted(or slightly stale) flavorless white bread with a tiny crab cake and no heat at all. Did they forget the hot lava? What the heck is hot lava? When I go some place new with a serious chef, I ususally take what they serve me - but I was close to asking for more sauce. The crab cake itself was fine, so I ended going open face, just so I could taste it.
Wife ordered the Smoked Brisket with Grilled Onion Barbecue. Although better than my meal, it was also disapointing. Nice smoky flavor in the beef, but it was dry, tuff, and served on the same mediocre bread. After looking closer, it turns out that they sliced it with the grain. Odd.
The fries were good, but somewhat soggy. The highlights of the meal were the 2 little choc chip cookies brought with the check. Overall, I'm disapointed. I'd try it again for dinner, but given how often I make it to Philly, my time and cash will be better spent elsewhere.
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