In desire of gastropub fare, but tired of our usual haunts, a few friends and I ventured to Pub and Kitchen (19th and Lombard). I had been to the former restaurant, Chaucer's, once before, and the transformation was drastic. Pub and Kitchen has been able to achieve lighting nirvana in their small space, creating a warmth that filters throughout. Service was quick and attentive without being overbearing. But on to the food.
I highly recommend trying the Bar Snacks, which are a steal at $3 a pop. We sampled the duck liver pate and fish mop rolls. The latter were delicious. If memory and taste serve me correctly, it was some kind of white fish combined with a creme fraiche accompanied by potatoes and herbs on crusty bread, all of which is underscored by a hint of citrus. The flavors are sophisticated and complex. Two large pieces come to an order.
Entrees: I was in the mood to go light, so I ordered the onion soup ($8) with a side of brussels sprouts ($5). What made the onion soup distinct was the addition of some kind of wheat beer (I think) to the broth, which stood up to the strength of the cheese and paired well with the sweet, caramelized onions. My only complaint: some of the cheese on top of the soup burned at the edges under the broiler. My side of brussels didn't achieve as high marks. The brussels were overcooked as well as the accompanying bacon. The flavors hit the mark, blending well, but the execution fell short.
We had also ordered the fish and chips, an altogether unspectacular dish, especially considering the steep price tag: $16-18 (don't remember exactly). The chips lacked a certain crispness, adding to the overall ineptitude. Also ordered was the steak and potatoes ($22). Not more perfectly could the steak be cooked! Rare, au poivre, and blissful. Not as much could be said of the potatoes, done in a hash brown/latke style, which seemed old and overdone.
In all, a pleasurable experience with exceptional flavor and ambiance; however, echoing other reviews, the actual cooking has yet to find its groove. Potatoes and brussels, especially at this price point, should be done without error. This has yet to happen.
To sit at the bar with a drink and "bar snack" before venturing out for the evening--yes, this would be delightful and really the most prudent of actions.
Pub and Kitchen
Philadelphia, PA, Philadelphia, PA
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