One of things I love doing in the spring and summer is stopping by a local bar for happy hour. One place I enjoy going is The Memphis Taproom, which, despite their claims on their website that they are in Kensington (and claims of being in Port Richmond on “Diners, Drive In’s and Dives”), is located in Fishtown on the corner of Memphis and Cumberland Streets. This irritates me. Fishtown is a neighborhood that has gentrified and no one seems to have enough brains to ask the people who live there (and I mean the original inhabitants) what neighborhood it is. Anyway….
We sat outside in their cool yard/beer garden and munched on hot dogs from thier very own truck, served by the very funny Steve Miller-Miller, but it started to get kind of cold so we relocated to the inside bar. We ordered some food and here’s the highlights.
First off we ordered Crawdad Donuts. They are described with “Jalapenos, green onions, shellfish nage”. A “nage” is a broth flavored with white wine, vegetables, and herbs, in which seafood is poached. The liquid is then reduced and thickened with cream and/or butter. In other words: it’s delicious without being too heavy. This nage hit the mark.
And it also has a ton of little bits of crawdads in it, which it was awesome.
I’m not exactly sure why they call them donuts, as I really thought that the texture was more of a beignet, but whatever, potato, potahto. these things were great.
As you can see, they have the green onion in the mix, which really gives the dough a nice tang. As I said above, I think the texture is more beignet-ish, and it soaks up the gravy like nobody’s business!
This is definitely not something I would have ordered normally and I’m glad I took a jump to give it a shot! For $9, it was totally worth it!
The second thing we ordered were Beef and Onion Pasties. A Pastie (pah-stee, not the stripper type pay-stee) is a traditional English food, basically it’s a little fried savory pie. It’s the official food of Cornwall, England and you can stuff them with whatever. These have short ribs in them and sit in a horseradish sauce & parsley sauce.
I have to say, I loved the sauce. It was a little creamy but the horseradish wasn’t ground down so much that you couldn’t taste the texture of the root. It also has a little heat to it, so the horseradish they used to make the sauce wasn’t too old. Here is a tip: you like horseradish but don’t like crazy heat? Let it sit in the fridge for awhile. It tends to lose it’s potency.
Anyway, onto the pasties themselves. Short ribs are things I can eat everyday for the rest of my life. The pairing of the horseradish and the short ribs was smart, because, at least in my family, we smear horseradish all over meat like that.
For once, I was smart enough to let something sit for a few minutes before taking a bite and burning myself, and I’m glad I did. The dough was nice and crisp, and not very greasy at all. The short rib meat inside was moist and delicious. If I had to pick something to nitpick about, I’d say that the pastie could have been filled more. there seemed to be a lot of empty space in there. Maybe put in some mashed potato, or some peas or something. For $9, maybe bulk it up a bit.
Overall, it’s not cheap but if you are looking for some food that is a little left of center to eat while celebrating the end of the week, hit the Tap. It does get super crowded after about 5:30 but if you can get there early, go for it.
One of the things I do on a regular basis is stand up comedy. There is an Open Mic on Monday nights at Urban Saloon called Laughs on Fairmount that I try and hit weekly. It’s a fun mic with a great vibe. Just as importantly, Urban Saloon has some great food. Last week they updated the menu and, being the glutton I am, I decided to give something new a shot. The new Cuban Sandwich.
This Cuban sandwich has pork, ham, cheese, pickles and a nice mustard on both sides. The pork is pulled and the ham was grilled before putting this thing together. They weren’t skimpy with the mustard and it was nice and warm when I got it. Overall, it was delicious.
I opted for loaded tater tots instead of fries (or a side salad) because Urban makes the absolute best with bacon, cheese whiz and green onion. Oh my god, they are awesome! Perfectly fried and the bacon is obviously not from a can or a bag. I have had them many times and I swear to you, you will never find a better tot plate in this city.
The one small problem I have with this sandwich, and it makes it not really a Cuban but a
cuban-ish sandwich, is this: Cubans are made on a roll. Always on a roll. Then you press it and it moves into delicious territory. This sandwich was made on white bread. So, technically that makes it a crazy good grilled cheese with meat..and a pickle. I’m still kind of puzzled about that. Maybe the kitchen didn’t have any rolls? Maybe they dropped the sandwich and it was the last roll and they had to remake it with white bread? I have no idea.
It was a good sandwich (which fantastic loaded tater tots) but not being on a roll was just weird. If they add a roll, this thing could be a huge, huge seller.