Gastropub Greatness: North 3rd

Between the classic Standard Tap and its slightly newer, more neighborhoody cousin, North 3rd, the Philadelphia’s Northern Liberties has cornered the market on gastropubs.

I don’t know why I’m still surprised that these “bars” consistently serve as good or better grub than most of their food-focused bretheren, the restaurants. But surprised I was when my friend dragged me to north of Spring Garden for my last meal as a resident of Philadelphia.

After ordering a glass of wine – off the also surprisingly decent wine list – and my friend a pint of the day’s special microbrew, we perused past the regular menu to the specials. I began with fresh gazpacho, while my friend went for the chicken empanadas. The cold gazpacho was refreshing, though a bit heavier than I was used to. The dollop of guacamole in the center was a nice compliment to the dark and spicy soup. While I could only finish half, my friend’s empanadas disappeared in half the time.

For my entree, I chose another special: seared scallops with red pepper, corn, potato and andouille fricassee. It was beyond delicious. The scallops were humongous, but cooked to perfection, while the fricassee (which I believe was mislabeled – isn’t it supposed to have chicken?) provided ample flavor support.

Following a large bottle of some killer Belgian brew, we unfortunately had no room left for dessert. But no matter – It was still a fitting cap to my eating adventures in Philly.

Let’s hope North Jersey and New York City live up to the legacy.


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