Craig LaBan enjoys much of what he eats from chef Yun Fuentes’s menu at Society Hill Society. In particular he enjoys brunch and the fresh Pilsner Urquel.
His ode to pierogi are delicate, their handmade sour cream dumpling skins stuffed with truffled mashed potatoes over molasses-sweetened Vidalia onion jam. He tapas-izes chicken pot pie, tucking a creamy velouté of leg meat, carrots, and peas into croquette sticks that would please even the toughest Amish Spaniard. His summer peach soup is simply a gazpacho-good tribute to ripe local summer fruit, the sweet pureed peaches tanged with a hint of vinegar and garlic, sparked with salty bits of shaved ham and tiny floating spheres of creamy goat cheese.
Two Bells – Very Good
For another opinion on this Society Hill restaurant, read Trey Popp’s review of Society Hill Society from the October issue of Philadelphia magazine.
Society Hill Society inspired by the past [Philadelphia Inquirer]
Society Hill Society | Photo by Courtney Apple
In the annals of faint praise, neighborhood restaurant is a peculiar epithet. People usually apply it to the places that make them feel most welcome. Yet it’s a dismissive classification—not just because it implies that a place merits only limited attention, but because it suggests that one neighborhood restaurant is more or less interchangeable with any other. Warm hospitality, a menu that’s not trying to reinvent the wheel, consistent cooking, and bang—your Brewerytown pals are all, “Why can’t somebody open a place like this by us?”
Nobody would ask that about Society Hill Society, because Reed Barrow has remade the old Artful Dodger into a public house that looks like pints have been sliding across its hammered copper bar since the first bricks were laid on Headhouse Square (and only lately, eclectic cocktails). Locally crafted spindle chairs and coarse-grained chestnut soak up the warm light of yellow globe fixtures on patched plaster ceilings. The upper bar shelves hold objects so random, it seems they must have taken decades to accrue. Is that a femur wedged in next to the ship captain’s hat?
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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.
And we have the pictures to prove it
One of the most asked queries that land in our inboxes over the past few months is just what is coming to the corner of 2nd and Pine Streets, the longtime home of the Artful Dodger. Requests for information have gone unanswered and now, less than a week before the grand opening details have finally been revealed.
Michael Klein gets the details on Reed Barrow’s first bar and restaurant, Society Hill Society. The neighborhood tavern concept will have JG Domestic and Rosa Blanca chef de cuisine, Yun Fuentes in the kitchen where he will be serving up a menu “inspired by classic Pennsylvania flavors, served in a casual atmosphere.”
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So Avance’s opening might be the big news tonight, but come Monday at 7am, Jose Garces’s dead-on rendition of a classic Miami Cuban diner, Rosa Blanca, will be hitting the scene.
The Foobooz News Team rolled up on Rosa Blanca (the former Chifa, 707 Chestnut Street) just ahead of tonight’s staff-on-staff dinner, and can I tell you how much I loved this place? Seriously, I’ve been pining for some seriously good Cuban food since leaving Tampa more years ago than I care to mention, and this might finally be the place that brings it home. We didn’t get to try a lot–just a few rum-heavy cocktails (including a very well-served Cuba Libre), some ropa vieja (which was excellent), a bowl of black beans and rice and the best fried yucca I’ve had in a decade or more of looking EVERYWHERE for it.
More on Rosa Blanca »
Construction is underway at 707 Chestnut Street as Jose Garces continues work converting Chifa into Rosa Blanca, a Cuban diner. The diner will be similar to retro-Cuban diners found in South Florida and will feature an open kitchen with stainless steel and white subway tile. A pink and faux-marble lunch counter runs along the open kitchen. Black-and-white tile flooring completes the diner feel. The main dining room is laid out similar to Chifa’s, with booths along the walls and tables down the middle.
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We know quite a few things about the new Cuban diner that Jose Garces is going to be dropping into the space on Chestnut Street that once housed his occasionally-underrated Latino-Asian fusion restaurant, Chifa. We know that there’ll be Cuban sandwiches and we know that there’ll be empanadas. That there’ll be an integral take-out component to the concept, with a counter selling completas and pasteles right inside the door. We know that there’ll be a rotisserie and a rum menu, that Yun Fuentes will be running the kitchen. And we know that the big man himself really wanted the place to be open 24 hours, but still isn’t sure whether or not that’s going to fly.
And now, we know two other very important things: The name of the place and it’s opening date.
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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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Yes, folks, it’s that time again. The second-annual Hop Chef competition (last year’s was won by local boy George Sabatino) is happening in Philly on Tuesday, April 23 at Union Transfer. Yes, tickets are still available ($53.50 a head, with part of the proceeds going to local charities) and yes, the smack-talk is already lighting up Twitter (check out #hopchef to listen in on the fun). But right now we have some news…
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On Tuesday, April 23rd at 7 p.m. at Union Transfer, some of Philadelphia’s most talented chefs will be competing to become Philadelphia’s second Ommegang Hop Chef.
The winner of Hop Chef Philadelphia will represent the city in a cook-off at Brewery Ommegang’s annual Belgium Comes to Cooperstown weekend.
Tickets cost $53.50 per person and includes all the Ommegang you can drink plus tastes of all six dishes that will showcase the competing chefs ability to pair beer with food.
The Hop Chef Philadelphia Competitors »