tourist review: white dog, good dog, now a happy hound
i've been back and forth to philadelphia over the past year or so for work and neglected to do a review during one of my major chow trips. to make it up, here are a few thoughts on my recent trip
white dog. my work is in university city and it's inevitable that during each trip we will end up at the white dog. raves from over a year ago set my expectations high but they were dashed fairly quickly, but the past two trips have been wonderful. i had the bass and local pork belly over a celery root puree. one of the best dishes of the year by far. the fish was moist, the pork was just mildly salty but full flavoured and tender while having a fabulous crisp skin that was far from tough. the sherry mustard sauce accompanying it was the icing on the cake that balanced out the salt subtle flavours with beautiful sweetness and a hint of pungent burn.
spicy chocolate pot the creme at the end was nice but not as amazing. very smooth beautiful chocolate with a delicious dose of cinnamon to perk it up and make it interesting. was not as impressed with the soggy "churro" lump on the plate.
good dog. hit this bar up before and fell in love immediately. their good dog burger, roquefort filled and carmelized onion topped, is nothing short of perfection. if you scan the toronto board you will quickly notice the frustration we have with getting anything less than grey meat. i asked for the rarest they could do and received something with a nice thick charred crust and a warmed interior that was stark bright pink/red. the oozy cheese was abundant and everything delicious. considering it comes with a very nice side of mixed yam/potato fries, $10 is great.
and from an outsiders point of view.. .jim's kicks ass for cheesesteaks. the tough grey sliced meat from steve prince of steaks was not worth the detour.
Thanks for the report Pinstripe. Funny you mention good dog. One thing that Philly may do better than anywhere else is bar food. The gastro pub movement seems to be taking off across the country, it's been alive and well here for several years.
finally managed to make it to the white dog cafe (i've only lived in this area for the last 3 years!!) and we thought it was pretty decent. guacamole was just OK - can't hold a candle to the taquerias around washington ave. had a crispy seitan / cauliflower / apple curry which i give points to for its creativity. however for something reminiscent of an indian dish, i felt the seitan (fried) was too heavy VS. the curry being too light. still, it was good for what it was. S.O. had the blackened catfish with some SUPER buttery grits on the side. two very heavy meals - pretty good tastes. definitely glad we took the el there so we had a decent hike from the train station to home. we needed it after that. i can't go breaking new year's resolutions less than one week into the game (refusing to sacrifice chowhounding for dieting, i've resolved to counter each dining splurge with physical activity of equal intensity). not about food, but next door, the black cat gift shop has some really adorable gifting ideas - shame i didn't discover this before xmas.
i've always stuck to what i consider the more westernized preparations at places like the white dog as it's the ingredients that really need to speak for themselves. they definitely do use a heavy hand with sweet and rich flavours/ingredients... so after consuming a plate that originally seemed a bit on the small side, i'm always stuffed and practically rolling home.
I love the good dog burger! I am not really a bar person and the music can get pretty loud in there but I keep going back for the burgers (and the friendly service).