Midtatlantic takes University City to the next level in regards to cuisine. Chef Daniel Stern (of R2L) has fun with the foods of the Midatlantic states and creates a restaurant the encourages exploration. With items like crab or vegetable scrapple, Tastycake bread pudding, and a multitude of local craft beers, this restaurant has an original and delicious menu that gives a West Philadelphia foodie a chance to come up for air from all the pizza and freezer burgers in the area.
Josh: The Stovepipe
Basically an adult root beer float, but way classier than those words sound. Made with Bourbon, Navan, Drambuie & Root Beer, The Stovepipe was designed by head chef Daniel Stern. The drink definitely had bold root beer flavors and was a great way to start the meal while we waited for our food.
I had the Rumspringa in its first version around when Midatlantic had recently opened. I enjoyed the drink at the time, but it was hard to find the bite of the rye in the cider it was mixed in (really great cider though). RumSpringa 2.0 is made with Rye, Aita Snap, Bitters, Maple & Burnt Orange and was a much more potent and enjoyable drink. All of the flavors complemented one another and it was nice to have a cocktail with Snap in it (vs. the much more proliferated Root by Art in the Age).
I always have the shrub when I got to Midatlantic. It has gone through a few evolutions. it has always included fresh fruit, vinegar, and a little sugar with a spirit. Originally you could choose the spirit, but they learned that the best of us order gin drinks. The newest variation has gin with fresh muddled berries and tarragon in the mix, and the sweet and sour profile of the drink is very refreshing. It is a unique drink that I have not seen made in other bars, so when at Midatlantic I jump at the chance to have it.
Appetizer: Meat and Cheese Board
Now THIS is what charcuterie should always be like. 3 different kinds of meat (plus a terreine), 4 kinds of cheese, condiments, and a pickle jar! Plus they serve it with a varied assortment of breads in an amount appropriate to the size of the plate.This enormous appetizer is recommended for 2-4 people, and it could easily feed more. The actual items will change out frequently, but this time we had the pleasure of sampling a house cured summer sausage that was pleasant (if not a little bland) and a chorizo with a great kick. The cheeses, much to Josh’s chagrin, included a soft goat cheese (which actually was quite clean tasting rather than the usual funk of a goat cheese) and the local “Tommenator“, a Tomme style that is brined with Troegs Troegenator double bock.
Josh: The Midatlantic (Burger)
I’ve had this burger before, but there’s about the flavor combinations that keep me coming back. The burger is always cooked exactly how I order (medium rare for me, thank you) and comes with their house made summer sausage sliced on top with horseradish cheddar and pickles. The Ma Chips are a must. These house made kettle crunch chips are perfectly cooked and fresh and really help the burger to standout from the crowd.
Holly: Corned beef and Cabbage
Rich and delicious! Corned beef and cabbage is one of my favorite meals (thanks to my father) and this variation was perfect. The meat was incredibly tender and rich, the cabbage was well cooked but not soggy, and the cute assortment of multicolor potatoes, baby beets, and long slices of carrot were not only delicious but really beautiful to look at. It was topped with a horseradish cream and a couple of croutons (which I could have done without, truthfully). The whole thing was buttery, savory, and incredibly satisfying.
Dessert:Simmons Chocolate and Peanut Butter Pie
Okay, so this specific time we didn’t get dessert (that meat and cheese board is a beast) but you MUST try this peanut butter pie. Each little pie is made in an individual (sharable) portion, which is filled with a rich chocolatey -peanutty mouse, and topped with pretzels! Sweet and salty–feeding our stereotypical foodie nature to its very core.
Midatlantic has a great interior. It takes the industrial vibe that is ever so popular in this city and makes it just refined enough that it is appropriate to the level of cuisine it accompanies. The floors are of polished concrete, which always looks great in my opinion (and it’s really easy to keep clean). The lights are custom pieces made from bundles of fluorescent tubes with wild looking red wires escaping from the tops into the ceiling, which was left uncovered. Along the back wall, sheets of wood in various shades of yellow, red, and green create an interesting texture that also draws attention to the open kitchen area and bar, which also had the keg room exposed to draw attention to the plethora of craft brews available. There is also a private room that is separated from the main dining floor by a sheet metal wall with tiny windows punched through, giving a small peak of any parties that me be planned. Besides the fact that the now-ubiquitous Emeco Navy chair was used, this interior is highly original and very successful.
The Overall Experience
This visit the place was actually pretty busy (which is not usual during dinner time as Midatlantic seems to do its biggest business at lunch) so the service was just a tad slow. But our waitress was polite, very knowledgeable, and eager to help us make good choices in both food and drink. We also sat outside this time, which was very pleasant due to the glass division protecting us from people on the street and the swanky firepit in the middle of the outside patio.
Midatlantic is definitely not the cheapest place around (especially not in the proximity of its University City neighbors). This trip we go three cocktails, an appetizer, and two entrees for around $100 before tip. The great thing about this price range, however, is that the restaurant wont become overrun with rowdy college students during game time, and the quality of food and portion sizes are really worth the slightly higher price tag. It’s not a place to go every couple of days after work, but it’s great for impressing a date or a quiet evening with a friend or two.
Overall Experience: 4/5
Will We Visit Again
Yes, and we already have a few times. This is one of our favorite places due to its proximity to our home, the fact that it is usually quiet, and the great selection of interesting food and drink.