As a way to put the final knife in the back of this wretched winter, the Red Owl Tavern is celebrating the Ides of March with a well-curated dark beer tap takeover. It starts tomorrow, Friday the 14th, and will run straight through the weekend with local and national craft beers at the bar.
So what will you be drinking? I’m so glad you asked. They’ve got Philadelphia Brewing’s Joe Porter for starters, Shawnee Black IPA, Founders Reserve Breakfast Stout, Southern Tier 2X Milk Stout and then Sly Fox Nihilist Imperial Stout to round out the list. So if you’re a fan of beers that drink like a meal–or if you really just need a drink or seven to get through this last terrible stretch of cold and ice–check ‘em out this weekend.
Red Owl Tavern [f8b8z]
Photo by Jim Graham
Craig LaBan’s Year in Bells came out last weekend. The annual feature includes some revisits to restaurants reviewed earlier and the announcement of a Chef of the Year award.
The Saint James in Ardmore, which was skewered a year ago in its initial review has now been upgraded to a single bell (hit-or-miss). Citron & Rose, which lost its partnership with Michael Solomonov and his Zahav team maintained its two-bells, based on the strength of new chef, Karen Nicolas.
Tiffin Bistro and Red Owl Tavern rounded out the revisites. Each managed to hang on to their one bell ratings but frankly, each sounded lucky to have done so.
Chef Eli Kulp, who came to Fork and High Street on Market from New York's Torrisi Italian Specialties was named Chef of the Year. LaBan said of Kulp's cooking, "his knack for unexpected combos and rustic techniques (offbeat pastas, fermenting, charcuterie) produced grand presentations like his whole-duck feast - a multi-part poultry masterpiece that was among the best birds (and meatballs) I've ever eaten."
Craig LaBan's Year in Bells [Philadelphia Inquirer]
Red Owl Tavern couldn’t put it all together for Trey Popp as the restaurant in the Hotel Monaco was the definition of hit-or-miss.
Such was the pattern: a few things to like in a dish, and then something else that marred it. Luscious house-made pastrami sandwiched in flaccid “grilled naan” without char. Exquisitely cooked sheepshead snapper over an underseasoned cassoulet. A dynamite linguica sausage—arranged on awkwardly oversized toast bites. A deep liquor list but completely forgettable cocktails. Even the beet pasta I loved at Square 1682 was gummy here. And service was a roll of the dice: swift and candid one night, clueless and interminable another.
One Star – Fair
Philadelphia Restaurant Review: Culinary Fumbles at Red Owl Tavern [Philadelphia magazine]
Red Owl Tavern [Official Site]
Photo by Courtney Apple