Wow, that is the best description I can give about American Sardine Bar. My friends and I decided to go here on a Saturday night and it is a great place to go with a large group of friends. The draft list is top notch and the food is a fusion of all types of ingredients that would cause the biggest stoner you know to be amazed by the creativity that concots these decadent dishes, the menu changes constantly so you almost always have something new to try out if you are an adventurous eater. Hanging out at the Sardine bar, reminds me of hanging out at a small town corner bar, the laid back casual atmosphere encourages you to stay the entire night while drinking, eating and having a good time with friends.
I started with Kenzinger and ordered a bunch of food for everybody to try out (must admit I ended up eating a lot of it myself though.) First up was the beer mussels, these mussels were some of the largest mussels I have ever seen. Each mussel was perfectly cooked and the plump, juiciness of the mussels tasted so very fresh. They were served in a delicious spicy, sweet tomato garlic based broth that made me want to lick the bowl clean after finishing. These mussels were up there with some of the best mussels I have had in Philadelphia. Out next came the Sardines, one fried, one sautéed, should have just went with two sautéed, as the fried was ok, but the sautéed was spot on in flavor. The feta, olives and lemon flavor complimented the salty fresh sardine well. The plate delivers a delicious light Mediterranean style flavor that you are looking for from a dish like this. We also ordered the fried pork ribs which were solid, a little tough but still a nice pork taste.
I know, I know what you are thinking, these dishes don’t seem to be that creative, well after a couple more beers that is when we knew it was time to pick up our game. We ordered the Monkfish Liver with Spicy Kimichi, Smoked Turkey Gravy fries and some sweet Bologna sliders. The monkfish liver, aka the foie gras of the sea, was absolutely amazing, the liver so creamy and rich, yet somehow light and fresh at the same time, while the spicy kimchi added a super spicy, sour ingredient to the overall experience of the plate. This dish is something you would expect out of a Korean restaurant. Up next came the sweet Bologna slider on a potato roll, topped with some type of slaw, that kind of tasted like sauerkraut to me and spicy mustard. I haven’t had Bologna since I was about 10 years old and used to throw out my lunch everyday unless I was starving because I disliked Bologna so much and I thought I would never have it again. But yet again this slider isn’t my moms cold bologna sandwiches on white bread. This slider has everything, salty sweet Bologna, spiciness from the mustard and sourness from the slaw, it comes together to turn a looked down upon ingredient like Bologna into a truly tasty sandwich. And then came the smoked turkey gravy fries. Have you ever had thanksgiving leftovers smothered in gravy? If so, have you ever had them piled high on a mountain of delicious salty french fries? If not, I suggest you try these fries out, the smoked turkey, peas and gravy go absolutely spectatcular together to create a dish that knocks you right off your feet and leaves you wanting to find football on the TV.
After those innovative, scrumptious dishes I did not think the final part of the meal could be better, but yet again I was proven wrong, as I ordered the Short Rib Bahn mi. The salty short rib was thinly sliced and was a perfect meat to use as a riff on the Philly cheesesteak, that along with the sour cucumber kimchi and creamy chicken liver mayo on top of a beautiful crusty roll made this dish one of my top 5 sandwiches in Philly. All these flavors come together to make a rich creamy filling that is softened just enough by the roll so that the sandwich taste is not too overwhelmingly rich.
American Sardine Bar is a 5 Tizzle Experience, sit inside or outside and enjoy the food, drink and casual ambience. The best part about American Sardine Bar is that you can get some of the best diner, sandwich and high end ingrients and dishes all in one place.
American Sardine Bar is located at 1800 Federal Street.
Eat, Drink and Be Merry!!!!!!