First Look: Society Hill Society

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Halfway through April, Society Hill Society opened quietly in the space that formerly housed the The Artful Dodger at Second and Pine. Perhaps you didn’t notice the change because Society Hill Society, or SHS, appears as though it has never not been there.

A cozy spot full of wooden booths and a U-shaped copper bar, Society Hill Society has the potential to be the new favorite neighborhood spot for the Bella Vista and, uh, Society Hill set. Start your meal with a pull from the one tap in the restaurant, Pilsner Urquell, or one of head bartender Paul MacDonald’s cocktails. Then, dive in to chef Yun Fuentes’ menu of updated colonial classics.

The menu draws on the idea of the tavern–a neighborhood gathering place serving uncomplicated food–so the menu is peppered with dishes that aim to evoke Philadelphia’s regional foods from long ago.

To that effect, there’s snapper (as in turtle) soup on the menu. Bar snacks include deviled red beet eggs, oysters (naturally), chicken pot pie croquettes, and the cutest little pierogi (truffled ones with onion jam) that you ever did see. The local flavor tie-ins continue with a duck scrapple salad, a side of foraged mushrooms, and a beautifully executed, barely Pennsylvania Dutch entree of crispy pork belly with dumplings and ham consommé.

Though they’ve clearly done their research, they seem to falter slightly when it comes to seasonality and local sourcing. Even now, at least a week before the arrival of the first local peach to their neighbor, the Sunday morning Headhouse farmer’s market, and their three course, sixty dollar Summer Supper “seasonally inspired multi-course menu” boasts a chilled peach soup, while rather stiffly announcing: “stone fruits are now in season.”

Still, there’s plenty of great flavors, beautiful plates, and potential for the cozy restaurant to become a neighborhood favorite, especially as a brunch destination for those farmer’s market shoppers who will need to take a break from grocery-hauling once peach season actually starts.

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Society Hill Society [f8b8z]

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