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Very nice early dinner at bar Ferdinand

  • m

We like Bar Ferdinand and this evening(late afternoon), we were there for drinks and food. David Ansill has started adding specials of his design, so there was a great shrimp, artichoke, onion salad with very thin slices of dried tuna, salad. I've forgotten the sauce, sorry, but it was imaginative and delicious. And some good bacalao croquetas. We had a very good time, nice service, great sherry, wine and beer. The other Tapas we ordered from the menu: pan tomate; duck hearts; chicken livers with bacon and caramlized onions; assorted vegetables with romescu sauce(really yummy, veg perfectly cooked, but if you order, the sauce is at the bottom of the generous pile of veg, so be sure to unearth it when you start to eat). We ate every scrap, and then Ansill sent out a couple of comps, a great squid with chorizo and bits of red pepper, and finally a blood orange and rosemary sorbet, the sort of mouth experience where you taste a sequence of flavors rather than an amalgam. My husband thought it was too sweet, but I think he couldn't rise to the challenge--we were too full. But still lovely to try it.

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  1. Has anyone else been to Bar Ferdinand since David Ansill took over? I was thinking of checking it out in the near future, just wondering if he's gotten around to putting his stamp on the regular menu. Their website makes no mention of his presence, they still list James Howard as the chef.

    10 Replies
    1. re: Buckethead

      Knowing David he may consult and be in and out of there before it even makes sense to change the website........

      1. re: cwdonald

        Have to agree David will just touch a few things on the menu, going this Saturday, I'll see if there are any different items on the menu

        1. re: cwdonald

          Why? He was at Ladder 15 for years.

          1. re: Buckethead

            Its a fair point, though you will have to admit there are many other well known chef's who consult with restaurants on menus, or are named executive chefs at a place as an interlude between one finished project and the beginning of another.

            So, I hope I am right, not because I think David is fleeting, but rather because he will have the opportunity to run his own restaurant again, in Philadelphia. And if I were to wish there were one place he would go in Philadelphia it would be Fork.. he would be a worthy person to follow Terence Feury.

            1. re: cwdonald

              That's an interesting thought. Also, he would be right across the street from Lucy's Hat Shop, where he cooked years ago.

              1. re: JanR

                Well, I think that would be terrific, because I live near Fork. I'd always wished we had been able to dine at Ansill more often, but it was a little too 'far' away to be a regular place for us.

                It's so bizarre to imagine that Lucy's Hat Shop used to serve actual food, cooked by David Ansill, no less.

                1. re: gina

                  This is what I always said about that 3rd & Bainbridge location... it just feels far "far" from anywhere else in Center City. And most people who would eat at Ansill (or Ela for that matter) are not the type to want to cross South St on a weekend night.

          2. re: cwdonald

            They've clearly stated that he won't touch the menu at all for a while, then bring his own thing in gradually.

            Not sure what warrants the snarkiness considering that he's really only been in 3 restaurants in the last 10 years, his Jamaica excursion excluded.

            1. re: Boognish

              Yes, and two of the three were his. I hated to see Pif go but it is common for a chef to move on from a BYOB to a place with a liquor license. Wish David could have kept both and that both remained successful.

              1. re: JanR

                Absolutely. I took my now-wife to our first date at Pif (and later our wedding dinner was at Bibou). We love David's cooking, but coming from West Philly, it was just a little too far to frequent regularly. It's a real shame that it didn't work out.

                That said, fingers crossed that he can put his own imprimatur on their menu.

        2. I was at Bar Ferdinand over the weekend and also had a very good meal. I asked the server about the menu and when it might change, he said Ansill is working out new dishes as specials and then once they have enough dishes that are good enough, they'll be overhauling the menu. There were 5 specials the night I went, we ordered them all, and they were all very good: bacalao croquettes, cold marinated shrimp, a coco flatbread dish topped with brisket and a few other things (really liked that one, the flatbread was excellent and the brisket was nicely crisped, much better than the huaraches you get at Garces' places), fried sardines, and a roasted rabbit dish with great crispy skin. I hadn't been to Bar Ferdinand in years but I will definitely be back sooner rather than later, even though our service was not that great.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Buckethead

            Thanks for the great report. How were the croquette? That sounds like a very classic dish, similar to dishes I have had in Lisbon.

            1. re: cwdonald

              It wasn't my favorite dish of the night, but it was done well: not greasy, lots of cod inside with a nice dressing holding it together. The brisket coco flatbread and the rabbit were both really excellent though.

              1. re: Buckethead

                FYI: the flatbread in question is called a coca not a coco. Not that it really matters.

                1. re: caganer

                  Good foobooz story about how Ansil is helping freshen up the menu...

                  http://philadelphia.foobooz.com/2012/...

          2. I was back at Bar Ferdinand last night for the first Thursday night tasting menu (http://philly.eater.com/archives/2012...). Long story short, it was an incredible value at $40 for the 8-course meal and $20 extra for 4 very good wine pairings to go with it. The 8 courses were all small but frankly for $5 per course they were bigger than I would have expected and the quality was ridiculously good. Ditto the wines at $5/glass, generous pours for the price and a couple really great pairings (Manzanilla La Cigarrera sherry with the gazpacho was my favorite). A few dishes stood out: a fried green tomato on top of a chorizo vinaigrette, a sliced tomato with fried parsley and mint, and grilled rouget with tomato broth, but all the courses were very good.

            Like the tasting menus Ansill used to do at Ladder 15, which IIRC were also $5/course, it was a fantastic bargain and I'm hoping to go back soon. Our server said that next week's menu will be based on olives.

            I did take a look at the regular menu also and some of the dishes I had as specials on my earlier visit have made their way onto the regular menu.

            5 Replies
            1. re: Buckethead

              Do you know if you are required for the whole table to do the tasting menu? Could a person who does not eat pork do this menu? I assume the regular menu is available on Thursdays? Sounds like Bar Ferdinand is really stepping up the quality.

              1. re: cwdonald

                The regular menu was available as well as the tasting menu, we were all there for the tasting menu so I don't know whether the whole table has to do it but I don' t think so. This particular one had a few dishes with pork in them (chorizo in one, pork belly in another, jamon serrano in another). The menu was themed around one ingredient (tomatoes), next week it's olives, so the dishes will presumably be totally different week to week.

                1. re: Buckethead

                  do you need reservations for the thursday tastings?

                  1. re: Bigley9

                    We made a reservation but didn't end up needing one, we were in the back dining room and it was mostly empty.

            2. OK went on a date there last weekend. It was a Sunday night place wasn't busy around 7 pm. Got seated outside which was a +. Forgot to ask bout new chef . I was too into my date . Order the heirloom tomato special which was tasty . Forgot how it was prepared. Tomatoes tasted so pure . Ordered the veggie special roasted corn over truffle relish . Divine really , always order the manchego fritter 2 of them. Did the skirt steak with egg & truffle always a winner.Shrimp in garlic & olive oil. & pitcher of sangria .

              1. Grub Street has the next 3 week's worth of Bar Ferdinand Thursday tasting menus, I could see myself eating all of them:

                http://philadelphia.grubstreet.com/20...

                Chef's Tasting Menu for Thursday, August 9
                Featuring the Jamon (ham
                )Offered Thursdays from 5 - 11pm; $40 per person (plus tax and gratuity)
                1st Course
                Trio of jamon…
                Serrano, marcona almonds
                Iberico, pickled vegetables
                Mangalica, stone fruits

                2nd Course
                Jamon croquette

                3rd Course
                Pork terrine, sangria jelly

                4th Course
                Jamon stuffed mussels, sherry vinegar

                5th Course
                Greens, potatoes, jamon, quail egg

                6th Course
                Grilled swordfish olive oil and jamon smashed potatoes

                7th Course
                Albondigas tomato, jamon broth

                8th Course
                ~ Dessert ~

                Subject to change, based on available ingredients.

                __________________________________________________________

                Chef's Tasting Menu for Thursday, August 16
                Featuring the Mariscos (shell fish)
                Offered Thursdays from 5 - 11pm; $40 per person (plus tax and gratuity)

                1st Course
                Crab croquette, lobster roe aioli

                2nd Course
                Salpicon of razor clams

                3rd Course
                Oil poached shrimp, crispy baby artichokes

                4th Course
                Grilled cigales, fennel and saffron

                5th Course
                Roasted mussels, orange and rosemary

                6th Course
                Scallop and clams, chorizo and squid ink

                7th Course
                Zarzuela

                8th Course
                ~ Dessert ~

                Subject to change, based on available ingredients.

                __________________________________________________________

                Chef's Tasting Menu for Thursday, August 23
                Featuring the Asado (roasted)
                Offered Thursdays from 5 - 11pm; $40 per person (plus tax and gratuity)

                1st Course
                Roasted oyster, pineapple

                2nd Course
                Roasted baby vegetables, pimento oil

                3rd Course
                Stuffed roasted piquillo pepper, goat cheese and hazelnuts

                4th Course
                Roasted scallop, "crudo" charred melon

                5th Course
                Roasted cod, heirloom tomatoes, olives

                6th Course
                Chorizo roasted in Rioja

                7th Course
                Slow roasted lamb shoulder

                8th Course
                ~ Dessert ~

                Subject to change, based on available ingredients.