The easiest way to tell a bar from a restaurant is by the smell of the men’s room.
I couldn’t keep that thought away from my olfactory nerve during a recent night at Southwark. It had been years since my first time there. And my first time had also been my last. I remember having a fine dinner, but one that failed to cast the spell that so many other folks had fallen under at the then-new, classically styled Queen Village haunt.
In retrospect, that was probably because I’d eaten in the back dining room instead of at the bar, where bartender George Costa was mixing Gibsons and Aviations when the rest of the city was still one big slosh of pink-lemonade Cosmotinis.
Almost ten years later everyone else has caught up—and Costa has moved on—but Southwark is still humming along. It recently installed a new chef, Sam Jacobson, whose previous tenure at Sycamore helped put Lansdowne on the dining map.
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In the event that you’ve always wanted to eat cheese, followed by cheese, with a side order of cheese for dinner (and who among us hasn’t?) today’s your chance! The Chester County Cheese Artisans are teaming up with Sam Jacobson, the new chef at Southwark, to bring you exactly that kind of local cheese menu. Cheesemakers from Shellbark Hollow Farm, Birchrun Hills Farm, and Meadowset Farm & Apiary will be on hand to talk about their goat, cow, and sheep’s milk cheeses, respectively, and the menu features their cheeses and those from three other local producers as well. The prix fixe menu is six courses and will run you $45 per person, but you can also order individual dishes a la carte, in the event that you want to stop in to Southwark (number 11 on this year’s list of the 50 Best Bars in Philadelphia) for a great cocktail and a cheese nibble.
Call 215- 238-1888 for reservations.
But what’s on the menu? (Other than cheese…)
Nick Macri at Hop Chef
Michael Klein has the story on some major chef shuffling that’s been happening around town. Aaron Gottesman, who until recently you could spot whipping up lamb dishes behind the counter at the Reading Terminal’s Border Spring Farms is moving on to Kevin Sbraga’s Fat Ham. Gottesman was a participant in Foobooz’s first ever Open Stove night at Cook. Back then he was planning on working in Jen Carroll’s Concrete Blonde kitchen.
The opening at Border Springs is being filled by Hop Chef champion and Southwark chef, Nick Macri. Macri gets daytime hours and the opportunity to butcher, which is something he enjoys.
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Southwark says goodbye to summer tonight with an Allagash clambake. The $35 per person dinner features three courses plus a couple of Allagash beers, including the rarely seen Allagash Golden Brett. Not made from Brett Hull’s hockey gloves, this beer is instead Allagash’s first 100 percent brett fermented beer. Expect lots of juicy pineapple notes in the beer.
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Southwark’s Nick Macri won Hop Chef Tuesday night with “You Can Win Friends with Meat Salad.” A salad of housemade coppa with ginger pickled chiles, ballpark nuts, plus orange and coriander sauce. The dish will be on the menu at Southwark tonight and tomorrow. Wash it down with an Ommegang Hennepin.
Southwark [Official Site]
Photo by Yoni Nimrod
Southwark’s Nick Macri wowed the judges last night with his “You Can Win Friends with Meat Salad,” an ode to Homer Simpson. Where most of the chefs chose one pairing principle (simple pairing, incorporation, mimicking, story telling and experimental), Macri included all five in his Ommegang Hennepin-based dish and that was enough for the win. But the coppa with ginger-pickled chiles, grains of paradise bread crumbs, ballpark nuts, and orange-coriander-cured sauce wasn’t the only dish that impressed. JG Domestic’s Yun Fuentes won the People’s Choice with his duck arepa and Ommegang Rare Vos glaze. And Fork’s Eli Kulp created a first-of-its-kind treat in his Crackerjack-topped beer rye pretzels.
If you were there, you know how good everything was. If you weren’t, the best we can offer you are pictures, shot by COOK photographer and Friend of Foobooz, Yoni Nimrod.
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For this month’s producers dinner at Southwark, chef Nick Macri is welcoming Tired Hands Brewing. The dinner takes place tomorrow, April 17th at 7 p.m. and for $45 you can try four courses of Macri’s food paired with beer from the Ardmore brew pub.
On Thursday night, Southwark will be tapping Ommegang Hennepin in the run up to Hop Chef. Macri will be rolling out a special sausage from 10 p.m. to midnight (Southwark serves food nightly to midnight), but Hop Chef competitors looking for the inside scoop, Macri assures us this won’t be his Hop Chef dish.
Tired Hands Brewery Dinner »
$35 for three courses sounds like a helluva deal. And that’s what Restaurant Week is built around. But say you want to go somewhere awesome without having to deal with the crowds, the restrictions and the stressed-out wait staffs that are also a part of Restaurant Week. Is that possible?
More than possible, should you happen to find yourself in Queen Village at 11pm and within sprinting distance of Southwark. They’ve got a late-night menu there that’s just perfect for rounding out a long night, and you can eat your fill from it without ever being in danger of cracking the $35 Restaurant Week barrier. Here’s how:
Roasted potatoes $6
Fresh herbs and roasted garlic aioli
Steamed Clams $11
Dry vermouth, shallots, tomato, chili sauce
Charcuterie plate $16
And yeah, that’s only $33. Which means you still have two whole dollars to spare. With that in mind, you have some options. You could dump the clams in favor of grilled Andouille sausage with corn and greens, bringing the total to $34. Or, if you show up a little early, you could go for the escargot (which will bring you to $35 on the nose). Alternately, you could lose the charcuterie plate and have the octopus Bolognese without going over the limit by too much, but you kinda shouldn’t. Because newly-minted exec chef Nick Macri is something of a pig whisperer (I should say salami whisperer, but that just sounds dirty…). Either way, that’s really something you shouldn’t miss out on.
All Restaurant Week Coverage [Foobooz]
This Wednesday, Southwark is continuing its producers dinner series with ReAnimator Coffee Roasters. All four courses will incorporate the local roaster’s coffee and the food of chef Nick Macri. ReAnimator owners Mark Corpus and Mark Capriotti will also be on hand to answer questions. The four-course dinner is $45 per person and for $10 you can add a beverage pairing.
Coffee inspired dinner with ReAnimator »
Scott Schroeder (pictured on left) is back with another of his 10-question interviews over at Meal Ticket. This week he sits down with Nick Macri (right), who has taken over the chef duties at Southwark for a fun and goofy interview.
What you’ll learn; Southwark is now serving food to midnight and Canadians smugly believe they’re better than Americans.
10 Questions with Nick Macri [Meal Ticket]
Photo by Yoni Nimrod