Had an enjoyable night on Saturday. We live in Mt. Airy and have been anxiously awaiting the opening of NXNW (North By Northwest). It opened on Friday the 20th and this past Saturday we finally made it in, but more on that later.
I'd like to start by giving a big thumbs up to P.J. McMeniman and his fab chef Larry. We have frequented our neighboorhood hang McMenimans for almost 9 years. Back when they didn't have a kitchen and PJ's Mom used to make Chicken salad and meatballs in a crock pot they served from behind the bar. Several years back they added a full kitchen and served very good food, albeit "pub gub". They just were awarded Best Of Philly for their chicken wings. We were told recently they sell something like 200 lbs. a week. The reward is very well deserved as I know I've put away my share of those pounds, but I digress. What I really want to talk about is what they have done over the last year in regards to their dinner menu. The food is truly outstanding a real Chowhound find for a neighboorhood bar. Everything I have tried has been top notch. I have heard excellent things about their softshell crabs which are also offered in season as a lunch special sandwich. My husband raved about his grilled vegetable ravioli in tomato leek sauce he had Saturday. I tried it and he was right, outstanding! I am hooked on the steamers in garlic butter sauce. Little tiny sweet clams with lots of garlic and parsley and a hunk of bread to soak up all the yummy jucies. I saw the portabella mushroom stuffed with shrimp, brie cheese and spinach go by our table, have to try this next time. Also great value for the $$. Fabulous beer selection too. I think he has 12 rotating taps with very interesting selections including some unusual Belgians and American microbrews.
After dinner we went across the street to NXNW. We looked at their menu which is cajun soul food. Pricier than McMenimans, but on a par with this type of place in the city (Entrees topped out at $19 - apps around $6-$10 - Sides $3). We couldn't resist trying a little something. I had a side of their Mac & Cheese, really good had a spicy kick I think it was Cayenne Pepper. Also had the calamari with a blood orange dipping sauce, also very good. Didn't have room for the entrees, but everyone eating there (and it was packed) looked very happy and the food we saw being served looked great.
Atmosphere is really cool - more SoHo than Germantown Avenue by a long shot. We entered at 8:00 for 9:00 (actually was more like 10) entertainment and enjoyed 2 bands and paid no cover. Not sure what their long term plan on this is. Maybe it will depend on the artist. They also have a beautiful raised seating area ajacent to the big front windows with a baby grand piano. I hope they employ a piano player, maybe for happy hour or on nights when they don't have a band. Also check out the vintage bar. Don't know where they found that, but's it very cool.
Sorry so long, can you tell I really like these places?
Worth the trip, I'm so glad this is in my neighboorhood, NXNW is an excellent addition and I'm sure along with McMenimans will continue to grow Mt. Airy as a destination.