Sidecar is a South Philly staple, and the vibe and food fit right in with its hip neighborhood. Although we have gone to Side Car many times before, we have neglected to share a review with you all. This seemed like the perfect time to do one, since Holly’s mom was in town, and we could get her two-cents in the post as well!
Sidecar keeps a pretty fresh and ever-rotating set of taps featuring a lot of area craft brews and specialties with some old standbys like PBR. They also have a respectable bottle list with beer offerings in all the major styles for those who aren’t feeling the draft list (myself during our latest visit).
Holly: Ithaca Saison
I have learned that Saisons can pretty much be a crap-shoot flavor-wise. Some are more wheat-y, some are very bitter. This one was very biter, which I’m not a huge fan of. But it went well with my food so it became drinkable with dinner.
Josh: 1809 Berliner Weisse
I’m a big fan of the berliner weiss style. It’s the sourdough of beer in my mind: light, airy, and with a nice sour pluck to it. Plus, if you’re ever offered a syrup (natural fruit syrups like raspberry or Woodruff) don’t. A great beer to drink with your meal and especially good to go with the creative pub faire offered at Sidecar Bar and Grille.
Josh: Burger and Onion Rings
Sidecar makes a solid burger at an affordable price. They offer 3 different topping options all ranging from 10-12 dollars. I went with the cheddar, bacon and mushroom burger ($10) medium-rare w/fries (vs. mixed greens). The burger was great if a bit more on the medium side of medium-rare. It was pretty big as well but wasn’t really greasy at all ( a nice plus to not have my burger on my hand). I also got way more fries than I remembered/was expecting. Their fries are a solid straight cut fries with the right amount of salt.
The onion rings were ordered because I forgot how much fries they give you with a sandwich @ Sidecar. These were huge, beer batter onion rings that were perfectly crisp & golden brown. They were fried expertly (no excess grease) and were as good as I remembered them being in the past.
Holly: Sweet Potato Soup (special) and Pork Carnitas
I wasn’t feeling all that hungry at this visit, so I thought I’d be safe with a soup and a small appetizer. Foiled again. The soup came in a bowl as large as my face,with beautiful and delicious bright orange soup contained. The soup was savory and slightly spicy from the chipolte. It was garnished with cilantro and sour cream. I chose to pair it with a single pork carnita (an appetizer sold per piece). The carnitas are juicy pulled pork, paired with jalapeno and pickled onions. i was really craving the sharp pickled flavors, and they went great with both the pork itself and the silky smooth texture and flavor of the soup. I was not, however, able to finish my meal by any stretch of the imagination.
Mom: Turkey Sandwich (Thanksgiving dinner on sourdough).
“The greens were excellent. The sandwich was massive, and I had to bring half of it home! It’s excellent though” –Mom. Her sandwich really did look excellent. And the bread was MASSIVE. Her sandwich was almost 4 inches tall, and chock-full of the essence of thanksgiving. I might have to try it sometime.
Sidecar, in all honesty, is a designed for (and probably by) hipsters. It’s a little bit urban, a little bit too dark, and a little bit eclectic. But truthfully, this is exactly what the food is like there so the decor actually works to support the whole vibe. It’s pretty simple, but cute details like religious votives, melted vinyl record spice racks, and beer menus tacked into a cork board wainscot give the place just enough uniqueness to keep me interest. The also just opened a new upstairs area, but we didn’t get to see it. We will eventually, though, because Side car can be absolutely packed downstairs if it’s a weekend or during an event, and that extra space was badly needed.
The Overall Experience
Sidecar was and is usually a little noisy, but its a small space and it never gets out of hand. The food and the service are always spot on and there is always something good to drink on tap or to be mixed for you by their competent bar tenders (I’ve tested their gin cocktails in the past). It’s a great place to go with a friend or a small group, but too noisy for a date and even with the new upstairs I’d avoid going with a large group during peak hours.
Sandwiches around 10 dollars, snacks and appetizers under 10 with beers in the 5-10 dollar range definitely makes sidecar very affordable and an easy place to drink for awhile or just have nice big meal. Our check was around $50 for the three of us.
Overall Experience: 4/5
Will We Visit Again:
Yes. And we have already. For a fun experience check out their Sunday Night Pork special “Pork Me Sundays”: everything with pork in it is half off! They also offer an amazing brunch (with their namesake sidecar cocktail featured. – Note from Josh: It’s a girly sidecar w/ sugar on the rim which is not part of a traditional sidecar).
(And on a side note, be sure to Like both Sidecar and Kraftwork, their sister restaurant, on Facebook. The two send the best ridiculous music videos to each other and it’s great for some laughs, besides the updates you get for restaurant events and menu additions).