We can get so caught up in froufrou and foie gras that finding the completely unassuming, inexpensive and family-friendly Clam Tavern (339 East Broadway Avenue, Clifton Heights; 610-623-9537) — once we figured out where Clifton Heights is — was a relief. It’s fish. Lots of fish. Flying Fish on tap. Stuffed fish on the walls. Live fish in a huge tank. And, oh yeah, great fish on the plates. We keep going back for the buttery baked clams, served on one-of-a-kind custom steel plates, and the fried shrimp platter.
Narrow Cafe Apamate (1620 South Street; 215-790-1620), with its sunset-orange walls, is both a Spanish coffee shop, offering three distinct hot chocolates (homemade churros optional, but highly recommended), and a continuous-service restaurant (closing before 9 p.m.). Choose a fresh, light cold sandwich, or a charred hot one. The De Pollo has cubed grilled chicken and a delicate, cheesy sauce. For breakfast: a classic tortilla Española. Service can be spacey, but the vibe is too charming for that to matter.
Brunch at Brasserie
Executive chef Chris Scarduzio continues to build onto Georges Perrier’s empire, adding a surprisingly casual, summer-only Sunday brunch at Brasserie Perrier. Brunch at Brasserie (1619 Walnut Street, 215-568-3000; brasserieperrier.com.; Sundays, 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m.) satisfies a Sunday morning craving for basic French flavors — quiche, escargots — but doesn’t neglect the big, sweet American appetite. A Belgian waffle is topped with berries, maple syrup and cinnamon-scented whipped cream. French toast gets bananas, more maple syrup and candied walnuts. There’s even an upscale take on scrapple.
All day long, two ear-pieced bouncers stand outside Lucky Strike (1336 Chestnut Street, 215-545-2471; bowlluckystrike.com), enforcing a dress code. (At lunch, it’s easy; the crowd trends more to laptops than extra-large t-shirts.) To those who pass inspection, the L.A.-born lounge/bowling alley offers a lengthy menu of dressed-up, but still mostly deep-fried, bar nibbles — the waitress will push the macaroni-and-cheese balls, a neon cheddar twist on the mozzarella stick. The food is unchallenging. But you came here to bowl. Bring on the cocktails, fresh-fried potato chips and ugly shoes.
“Gerenser’s Exotic Ice Cream” (22 South Main Street, New Hope; no phone), the faded sign announces. “Homemade.” That’s not entirely true. Although it reopened this summer for its 59th season after a flood-forced hiatus, the New Hope landmark has temporarily outsourced its ice cream and reined in its flavors. Once, there was Ukrainian rose petal and Puerto Rican banana brandy; now, there’s just the “Jersey Sunrise.” But until the ice-cream-making equipment is repaired, we’ll happily watch the sunrise: creamy vanilla ice cream, heavy with bing cherry halves, painted with wide streaks of fudge.