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Southwark

  • j

Thinking of taking a date to southwark any thoughts? I have yet to try it. thanks

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  1. Go for it. The food's great (medium-fancy, delicious), nice decor, friendly staff.

    3 Replies
    1. re: SteveK

      We were disappointed when we tried it a few weeks ago -- we liked Gayle MUCH better!

      1. re: Beulah

        I also prefer Gayle, but I don't consider the food to be all that similar. Some of the things Southwark does well (like the veal cheeks or pork chop) are of a more hearty/rustic nature, comparatively speaking. I like Southwark for that kind of food, and I like Gayle for really thoughtful sauces, quite a bit of foie, etc.

        1. re: Beulah

          Actually we were dissapointed with Gayle AND Southwark and found Django almost as good as before. That's Just MHO. BTW, if eating inside Southwark you are relegated to the back room unless you love smoke which is what it is in the Bar.

      2. The food and service WERE very good when they first opened. But the last couple times I went service was really slow and the food O.K. Spend a little more and go to Gayle, it is excellant.

        1. I have not been there myself, but I do remember a post that stopped me from trying it. Apparently, at some point the menu had a message on the back that said "if you don't like the dish, the fault is not in the prepartation, but in your taste. We do not refund dishes."

          1 Reply
          1. re: Saturninus

            I went early in its existence and our party of four all enjoyed our appetizers - veal cheeks were excellent. However Cod and Cabbage slop aka Brandade was faultily prepared and to my taste was inedible, and the waitstaffs' attitude to us showing up with kids was a disgrace, especially in light of their being only one other couple in the pleasant back dining room. I have been back since for a nice pint of Amish Ale but would never eat there again as a result of their attitude, and average food. Just like the ""sadly missed"" Sud at 6th and Catherine(I never ate there but sat outside once for 15 mins waiting for service), if you put a sign up that offends your guests, you better be sure you're good enough for the long haul.

          2. Southwark is a great place to go if you like attitude and average food. The chef will accept NO requests for adjustments and you better order carefully because they will not let you send anything back. It says so right on the menu.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Jo

              As you and everyone can tell from the widely divergent posts, this place elicits strong emotions. Personally, I think very highly of Southwark. The range of opinions stems from the fact that the restaurant, from the decor to the menu to the preparation to service, is an intensely personal reflection of the owners. If you share their vision of dining, then the experience is one of the best in the city. If you don't share that vision, then you're likely to feel otherwise. There was an old art journal whose tagline read, "making no concessions for the public taste." Southwark shares the same sentiment. They have VERY high standards and a particular vision. If you don't share it, then tough. Would you tell Jackson Pollock, "a little more red down there"? So how is that different than asking, "a little more sauce down there"? It's not. If your love of food permits you to move beyond yourself as the center of the universe to share the communal experience of tasting the world through another's palate (or to continue the analogy, palette), then you'll love it. If your goal is to satisfy your own cravings at the expense of a chef that is willing to compromise his or her vision, then this is not the place for you.

            2. Try Ansill. They have a very interesting menu and a great wine list. Staff was very helpful and friendly.

              1 Reply
              1. re: LuLu

                I loved Ansill too.

                Contrary to Craig Laban I found the Pork Bellies to be excellent.

              2. I had dinner there three weeks ago and had a very mediocre meal with snobby service in what seemed a "back room" of a dining room. I could not find any entree that I wanted. I had the sweetbreads which was the only highlight of the meal and I asked for more sauce and I was told "that is all that the dish gets" Cheese tray had so many things (so little cheese) the waiter did not even know what was on the dish. Our ribeye steaks were over cooked and tough. Desserts were poor.

                1. I've enjoyed every meal I've had at Southwark, of which I have had many, and never found the need to ask for substitutions or to send a dish back. I am not generally a high maintenance diner, though, but neither am I particularly low maintenance... I've always found the servers and especially the bartenders to be welcoming and adept. My favorites items of those that seem to stay on the menu regularly are the farmhouse platter (it is not a cheese plate) and the butter cookies with lemon curd. I am surprised at the overwhelming Southwark-hatred on this board, given that everyone I know who has been there likes the place.

                  I also like Ansill but I am not sure how dinner-date friendly it is given the small plates formula.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: QVDiner

                    Hatred has nothing to do with it. Asking for more sauce for a dish that you really like is not being high maintance. Check out the reviews in city search could so many people be wrong? The owners poor approach to the customers simplest needs will close this restaurant. I forgot the coconut cake with some kind of drizzled sauce on it. We left our half eaten desserts on the table had to go to Ansill to finish our night. they had a real manager that welcomed you as you walked in.

                    1. re: QVDiner

                      "I am surprised at the overwhelming Southwark-hatred on this board, given that everyone I know who has been there likes the place."

                      Awww comeon. I had heard nothing against Southwark when I walked in the door. In fact, the reason we tried it was because it had been mentioned a few times here and in LaBans column.

                      The place is a disaster. If you want to characterize my feelings as hatred so be it. We were treated indifferently, with distain and the food was mediocre at best. It is interesting that there is such a dichotomy on this board. People either hate it or really love it. What gives? Are there two chefs as well as totally separate wait staff. Let me guess. The evil staff only comes out when there is a full moon.

                      Or is there another explanation?

                      1. re: Jo

                        It just strikes me that Southwark is one of those restaurants that inspires a visceral negative reaction in some people ("a disaster") - much like Django or Morimoto - that IMO is not in proportion to actual quality of the place.

                    2. My partner and I went with friends and found the service distracted and unfriendly, the portion size terribly small in relationship to the price, but the food good. (Though we did head over to Beau Monde for dessert because we had gotten fed up with the server.) I never saw a "don't send it back" notice - if I had, I would have walked out the door. Who needs that kind of grief when you are paying the bill???

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: anne w

                        Its hidden on the back page. (Unless they took it off due to bad press.)

                        It says something like "we cannot be responsible for the personal tastes of our diners. Please order carefully."

                      2. Go somewhere else. There are so many terrific places in Philly why waste an evening at mediocre restaurant.