Bar None

As a break from midterms, we ventured down South Street once more to hit up Grace Tavern. It’s a tiny place that’s primarily a bar with seating in the back. Service was slow (I think there were only 2 people at the front of the house), so it took quite a while for our food to come out. I would almost recommend sitting at the bar (we were at the back tables) just so you could get the servers’ attention. However, it gave us time to catch up with one another!

Nicole: I ordered the Kelly’s Burger (bacon and sharp cheddar) ($8.75), which came with french fries on the side. They were very accommodating with letting me add toppings (I added sauteed onions and sauteed mushrooms); each extra topping was 25 cents each, but make sure to check the receipt at the end (they overcharged me initially). The meat was pretty good quality and I liked its flavor. The toppings seemed unbalanced; some were abundant (onions), while others I could barely tell were there (hardly tasted the cheese and mushrooms). I appreciated the soft Le Bus bun, but did not like how the bun had grill marks, imparting an unpleasant charred taste. I was hoping the twice-fried french fries would be crispy and delicious, but they were just run-of-the-mill ordinary. ★★★

Qingxin: I ordered the Chicken Fingers (breaded chicken fingers served with barbecue sauce) ($5.25), and I asked for a small side salad, which they included at no additional charge. I also ordered a small serving of fries. My meal was very average. I enjoyed that the chicken fingers were made from high-quality meat and had pretty good crunch. The saltiness level was okay–they were not extremely flavorful, but still had some flavor. The BBQ sauce was very average; it tasted like something from a bottle. The side salad was very disappointing. It supposedly came with a citrus vinaigrette, but it just tasted like leaves with oil on top–there was no citrus taste at all. The Frites were very disappointing, too. They could have been crunchier, and the special mayonnaise that came with it was just odd–it was too spice-y. Overall, ★★.

Luke: It is a bar. There was nothing special about my food. I started with the Blackened Green Beans (“fresh green beans sauteed in cajun spices; served in a basket with remoulade sauce for dipping”) ($3). They were bad. Though the green beans had a nice crunch, the charred seasoning that covered them was practically inedible. If they did not serve the specialty mayo, I would not have been able to eat more than two. It was as though I was eating rubbery charcoal. The mayo started off good. It was very tart, but that helped mask the burnt seasoning. Eventually I could not eat anymore of either. Between the bad taste of the beans and the amount of mayo I needed to mask the flavor, I quickly grew sick of both of them. It did not help that I also needed the mayo for my fries. I love crispy but not burnt fries. These were neither, even though their description was twice fried. I would not have guessed they were twice fried.

My main dish was the South Street Burger (sautéed onions and bleu cheese) ($8.75). As for the burnt burger and the charred bun, I feel there is a fairly clear line between toasted and black. The kitchen did not seem to think so. There were two bites at this meal I really enjoyed, both which included all the toppings: the cheese and the onions were heaped in a small pile right in the center of the burger where the meat could still be distinguished as meat. It was delicious right in the center, but nowhere else. It is a shame; the meat was well seasoned and the bun could have been perfect, light and chewy. To be clear, I ordered it medium. I have no interest in going back. ★

Ed: I have rarely encountered such a large dichotomy between my expectations and reality. The food looked great could not live up to the appearance. I ordered the vegan burger (“a meaty tasting vegan burger for you grazers; on a striato roll with our vegan aoli, lettuce and tomato, served with a side of baby greens”) ($6.75) with a side salad. To be fair, their burger was fairly tasty, although texturally it was mushy. I had few complaints about their vegan burger–it lacked some flavor,and the bun was not particularly toasty. Nonetheless, I ate the burger with little trouble. Their salad, on the other hand, was a completely different story. If by salad dressing they meant drenched in oil, then it would do the salad justice. Usually in vinaigrette we would see an acid and oil emulsion. I hope the chef forgot to add the acid, because I was eating unctuous leaves. If this is the intended salad, then it officially claims the title of Worst Salad Ed has ever eaten. If anything, I would have enjoyed the leaves without the “dressing” much more. To compensate, I ended up adding mustard to cut through some of the fattiness of the salad. My favorite part of the meal was their tap water.
On a side note, Ed is not vegetarian any more! But I will still continue to scout out vegetarian options for the occasional veg viewer. ★★

Grace Tavern ★★
2229 Grays Ferry Avenue
Grace Tavern on Urbanspoon