Philly Brunch Round Up

Sunday is the only day that Josh and I both have off.  This means that we go out to brunch after church pretty often.  This is often a way that we will try out a place before going there for dinner (because really, if you can’t do breakfast we probably don’t want your dinner).  Below are some Highlight meals and cocktails from different brunches around the city.

Kraftwork

Kraftwork, as I’m sure our regular readers (aka: Holly’s Mom) are aware, is one of our favorite spots in Philly.  We raved about them in our dinner review and their brunch is equally delicious. Highlights include Biscuits n’ Gravy (perfect comfort food with country sausage gravy and flaky biscuits), massive bloody marys (maries?), and daily house-made pastries.  As an added bonus, it’s even an acceptable place to take your parents/siblings/grandmother because there’s a large selection of well-made recognizable food (we tested this theory with Holly’s dad, brother, and brother’s friend, who all enjoyed their meals).  Kraftwork just can’t fail us.

Kraftwork Brunch Menu

Square Peg

Two Words: Breakfast. POUTINE! (more to come on that in a bit)

This center city spot is the new kid on the block.  Square Peg (thankfully) replaced one of the played-out locations of the Marathon Grill with a creative menu fitting of the large interesting space and trendy center city location.  We chose to test this place out for bunch based on the unique whiskey-centric cocktail menu, which delivers the best Bloody Mary concept ever presented: bacon infused SCOTCH replaces tasteless vodka to create a tangy, complex, and thoroughly enjoyable cocktail to accompany equally exciting brunch menu items. Like breakfast poutine.  Our waitress assured us that it would change our lives, and oh hell yes it does.  Poutine is a Canadian specialty composed of fries, gravy, and cheese curds. Add to this already delicious combo two fried eggs and replace the regular gravy with country sausage gravy and you’ve got Square peg’s answer to the game changer.  it’s huge, delicious, and absolutely perfect (especially with their bacon mary).

Square Peg Brunch Menu (they also get a shout-out for really attractive website design)

The Abbaye

The Abbaye is a neighborhood joint in Northern Liberties with friendly staff and a decent bar menu.  I like to give them my business because they used to let me church have events there, which is pretty cool for a bar that generally has no connection with religion.  Unfortunately, their dinner menu isn’t so exciting, so it’s hard to encourage Josh to try them out.  Luckily their brunch is pretty irresistible, namely the brunch cocktail menu and the variety of “hangover cures.”  I ordered the Texas Benedict, which garnered a high-five from our waiter, apparently because it’s a shiz-ton of food.  Fried chicken, bacon, eggs, and gravy atop fluffy biscuits is awesome – and completely impossible to finish in one sitting.  I also received my coffee in a shark-week mug.  Pretty unbeatable, I’d say.

The Abbaye Brunch Menu

Conclusion

This is only a small sampling of places we love.  Other honorable mentions (that may be featured later) include: Sidecar bar, Ida Mae’s Buncherie, and Rocket Cat.  We also have a few places that we have yet to hit up. Anyone up for another brunch roundup soon?  I know we are.

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KraftWork

Kraftwork

This Fishtown foodie haven is the much hipper (and possibly more refined) younger sister to South Philly’s Sidecar Bar.  Kraftwork has everything that a gastro-pub should: great beer selection, interesting bites, and great service.  This joint can (and will) run with the best of the Center City luxury eateries, but it’s down-to earth atmosphere, wait-staff, and clientele make it a great place to try items that may otherwise seem out of reach.  Its non-intimidation factor means that aspiring foodies can dip their toes in the world of weird, while providing a safety-net of familiar options to run back to if the more adventurous menus are too daunting.

The Drinks
Kraftwork is known for their large selection of beers on tap (24 at any given time) which come in varying pour sizes depending on the beer (ranging from 8oz pub glasses to 64 oz growlers). Kraftwork uses a unique system of pairing second set of 24 kegs that will automatically go once the beer on the first list kicks.  This is noted on the menus, which makes it easy to tell what is available at the time of ordering.  In addition to a really great beer selection, Kraftwork has a few cocktails on the drink menu that they also change up about as often as the menu does which tend to have interesting names to match their interesting ingredientsI had The Poe (Dry oaked Gin, Dubonnet, Orange Curaçao, Pechaud’s Bitters, and Absinthe) and it was a well made cocktail.  The Gin was up front (as it should be) and all the other flavors followed, mingling, but each distinct. Cocktail service was fast and our bartender obviously knew what she was doing.  Unfortunately for any of you reading this the Poe is no longer on the menu for you to try, but I would suggest either the J.F. Sebastian (a shout out to Blade Runner) or the Montgomery Scott.

Current Drink Menu (As of Monday May 16th)

The Food

Appetizer: Corn Fritters (from the specials menu)

The fritters piqued our interest and we tried them. They were appropriately sized for an appetizer and perfectly fried (crispy with no excess oil). The came plated with a black sauce which we couldn’t deduce what was in it, but it certainly tasted good and added to the fritters over all as did the greens garnishing the plate.  This was a great appetizer to have with your opening drink and set the stage for the meal to come.

Main Courses

Josh: Burger with Cheddar and Bacon-Onion Jam

Usually Holly is the burger aficionado and I’m the one that tries the other sandwiches or plates at a gastropub, but we mixed things up this time. The menu offers you a couple choices when you craft your burger from the cheese to 1 free topping and of course you can add more depending on what you like. I went with the 2 year aged cheddar (cheddar is by far one of the best burger cheeses) and the bacon onion jam (had to see how that paid off). The burger was cooked exactly to order (I always order medium rare) and the cheese and jam (little crunchy from the bacon and sweet from the onions) did not disappoint. I got the same herb fries as Holly and really enjoyed them.

Holly: Short Rib Sandwich

This beast of a sandwich came piled high with deliciously tender slow-cooked short rib, poblano cream, pepper jack cheese, and fried onions.  Firstly, the meat was perfect: fall apart, juicy, and flavored just right.  But seriously, the best part was that poblano cream.  it added just enough spice to make the sandwich interesting, and it cut through the richness of the short rib.  As with all sandwiches at Kraftwork, the short rib comes paired with either herbed fries or a salad.  If you’re not trying to watch your figure, go for the fries.  They are the perfect match-stick cut, with great texture and a really interesting flavor from the herbs (and German-style mustard aioli).

Dessert: Chocolate Terrine

This aptly named dessert comes with raspberry coulis and salted walnut brittle.  A terrine, for those who don’t know, is usually constructed of meat purée and seasonings, and formed into a little brick to be served with toast and cheese. Well, this was basically a chocolate version of that (and with better texture).  The dense little chocolate “brick” melted perfectly in our mouths, and when paired with the slightly sour raspberry sauce and salty brittle, it became a harmony of opposites to quell the most discerning foodie into submission.  Salty-sweet, crunchy-dense, clean and rich flavors and textures marry to create the perfect little ending to a great meal.

Current Dinner Menu (As of Monday May 16th)

The Design

Kraftwork’s menu is full of items that are constructed from familiar elements presented in an interesting way, and their interior mimics that notion.  One wall features the almost-stereotypical crumbling brick wall, but the plaster damask pattern (designed to look like it was crumbling as well) makes a ubiquitous design feature into a piece of art.  What would normally be extremely uncomfortable backless bar stools are custom-designed (by a sculpture artist) with ergonomic seats and personal foot rests.  Structural I-beams are the support for industrial lamps that look like they come straight from the mind of Dr. Seuss.  And a GIANT saw with laser-cut hops in the blade calls attention to the focus of the place: a central U-shaped Bar made of perforated steel and wood.  This is one time that I wont criticize an industrial interior: Kraftwork’s designer got it just right with elements that make the urban industrial look cool again.

The Overall Experience

Kraftwork more than delivered on all of our expectations. We went in expecting good food, hipster staff and customers, and a decent beer selection and got all of that, but not quite in the way we expected.  The food was the highlight of the night (I thought that the beer would be – Josh) as both the appetizer and the dessert were more than their menu descriptions belied. Although a good portion of the staff and customers were hipsters, there were some normal middle-aged couples  and our bartender looked like she could have worked in just about any kind of place. The beer selection is as good as it looks,  but despite trying out a beer made with rye (which was delicious)  it was Josh’s cocktail that took prize  above all of our beer selections in a restaurant that’s supposedly all about beer.  Everything about the outing was enjoyable and we can equally recommend it for a date, ladies night, or guys night out.

The Receipt

Appetizer, two dinners, 4 drinks, and dessert!  We managed to get all of this for  just under 65 dollars (and we weren’t even trying to be thrifty).  Kraftwork is a really great place to grab a bite (or a beer) on a budget.

Our Ratings

Drinks: 5/5

Food: 5/5

Design: 4/5

Service: 5/5

Budget: 5/5

Overall Experience: 5/5

Will We Visit Again: Yes.  They have an ever-changing specials menu and the beers are also regularly rotated.  Not only was the service, food, and drink selection great, but it was easy to get to and super easy to find parking. Be sure to check out their Facebook page for the most up-to-date food and drink menus!

Visit The Kraftwork Website