Nomad Pizza – Excellent Pizza and Beer Bar Meal

Nomad Pizza Spicy Sausage Pie Philadelphia

Photo courtesy Nomad Pizza



Business Travelers: Do you recommend Nomad Pizza for

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Co-workers, Colleagues or Customers?
Conducting Business; having a Business meeting?
Dining alone?
Women Business Travelers dining alone?
Friendly staff, patrons and good service?
Enjoyable food?
Meeting other Business Travelers?
Rating: 3.4/5 (2 votes cast)

After becoming a success in its New Jersey location, Nomad Pizza opened its second location in the former Horizon’s space on 7th Street bringing its wood-fired oven pizza.  The Horizons team opened the critically acclaimed vegan, Vedge, on Locust Street.  Nomad had been teasing Philly with its mobile truck but finally opened a real location in the city.  We talk about our pizza meal at the bar.

On Tuesday, April 3, 2012 about 7:30, I was looking for baseball on television, a bar and a meal to review.  I went to Brauhaus Schmidtz and Percy Street Barbecue (sound warning…why do this?)  and they both had basketball on the televisions.  Reviews on both places to come. I thought the Phillies were more popular although it was pre-season baseball.  Well, the Phillies will have to wait.  I realize I am near Nomad and see a crowd sitting inside and at the sidewalk tables having lots of fun.  The doors and windows are wide open, it was just a beautiful night.  I could see there was no bar downstairs but was told there was a bar upstairs.

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How Much to Tip at a BYOB? Mercato: What a Terrific Meal!

 


Business Travelers: Do you recommend Mercato for

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Co-workers, Colleagues or Customers?
Conducting Business; having a Business meeting?
Dining alone?
Women Business Travelers dining alone?
Friendly staff, patrons and good service?
Enjoyable food?
Meeting other Business Travelers?
Rating: 3.5/5 (2 votes cast)

Usually I write about meals eaten at restaurant bars to give you feel for the overall experience including the food, placement of the bar, how the bar blends into the overall restaurant scene, the friendliness of the other bar patrons, the quality of the service and personality of the staff. We at BarTaste think this can be very useful if you are a local looking for a good meal while sitting at a bar or a traveler unfamiliar with the area looking for a good place, maybe even alone, to sit at the bar and eat, especially relevant to the business traveler.

Sometimes we stray off topic a bit.  Eating at bars and writing about the experience will naturally exclude a number of new and favorite restaurants because they have no bar.  This is especially true with BYOBs, no liquor often means no bar. Some have kitchen bars where you can sit at a counter in front of the kitchen and watch all the action, we will review those as well.

Finally the point, whew!  How much to tip at a BYOB?  You bring your liquor, probably wine but it certainly could be something else.  The server opens it and keeps it cool if necessary and pours throughout the meal.  Seems to me that there is no difference in the service whether or not you bought the bottle in the restaurant or bought it there. The cost of the bottle is not on the check.  I’m always surprised when I get the check thinking something is wrong and it is too low then quickly realizing no booze in the total.  So what do you do?  How do you figure out a tip?

Sunday evening April 22, 2012 about 8:15 PM a friend and I went to Mercato, one of my favorite BYOBs.  It is a terrific Italian place.  We brought wine and ordered the Mussels and Clams, Short Rib Ragu and Parmesan Crusted Veal Cutlets to share.  All was absolutely delicious but the Short Rib Ragu was the star.  The meat and the gnocchi were just wonderful.  We topped this all off with a great desert, the Bitterseet Molten Chocolate Cake.  Nice, fun place with great service.  The restaurant is tightly packed but that makes for part of the fun.  No reservations but we got right in probably because of the rainy cold night kept many people at home.

The check came in at about $71.  I normally start my tip at 20% going up or down from there depending on how the service is.  Certainly had we ordered wine with dinner the check would have been higher so I always take a higher number as a starting point for determining the tip, a starting point as if a moderately priced bottle of wine had been included.  Our tip came to about 30% of the actually check and probably about 22% had wine been included.  Getting good service in a restaurant is a pleasure and I like to say thanks.  Leaving a larger tip in a BYOB, where you are getting the same service for your bottle, just makes sense to me.  Take care of your server and thank them for a job well done including keeping that wine cool and your glass full.

BarTaste Rating  ★★★★☆ 

Mercato
1216 Spruce Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
215-985-2962
Mercato Menu
Philadelphia Weekly Mercato Review ”You’re Quite the Dish: Octopus at Mercato”

Mercato on Urbanspoon

JG Domestic – Bright, Friendly and Great Food

Photo courtesy JG Domestic



Business Travelers: Do you recommend JG Domestic for

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Co-workers, Colleagues or Customers?
Conducting Business; having a Business meeting?
Dining alone?
Women Business Travelers dining alone?
Friendly staff, patrons and good service?
Enjoyable food?
Meeting other Business Travelers?
Rating: 4.1/5 (3 votes cast)

It was Friday, March 30, 2012 and I was meeting friends who worked in Cira Center for a lunch meal at the bar at JG Domestic.  JG Domestic is in the lobby of the Cira Center near 30th Street Station.  Many think JG Domestic is a destination restaurant unless you live or work in University City, in the Cira Tower or are nearby at 30th Street Station, Drexel University or University of Pennsylvania.  I disagree, it is a short walk or cab ride from much of Center City.

We sit in the middle of the long end of the bar, there are only a couple of seats taken with lots of room.  Part of the long end of the bar faces the wall and the liquor but stretches into the lobby portion of the restaurant then angles around.  From where we were sitting in the middle, we had a partial view past the wall in front of us to the diners across the bar and through the restaurant into the lobby, a good comfortable spot. The longer portion of the bar has about 12 seats, 3 more on the end and about 3 additional on the other side before the wall started.  This unique shape is possible because of the architecture of the Cira Center, a very handsome, glass building.  The glass causes the lobby and the restaurant to be brightly lit throughout its expansive space with all the sunshine making for an excellent place to have lunch at the bar.

JG Domestic is a Jose Garces restaurant and the man is terrific, always known for wonderful food so we knew we were in for a treat.  I order the onion soup and the Muffaletta sandwich.  I ask before ordering if the sandwich is large, the very friendly and talkative bartender says it is quite large.  I order the soup and the sandwich anyway, deciding to take half of the sandwich  with me for a snack if it is too much.  The soup is great and the sandwich with Mortadella, La Quercia Prosciutto, Mozzarella, Black Olive and Pickled Vegetables is terrific as well. The sandwich is large as promised and half leaves with me to be enjoyed later. .

My two friends order a burger to split and a chopped salad to spit as well.  Very surprising since my friend can devour a very large burger in record time.  I ask him if he is sick  and claims no but I wonder.  The restaurant graciously splits the salad and burger for them making for quite the good lunch. Burger was cooked very nicely, pink in the middle, perfect for them. Salad was great as well.  We were told by some coworkers of my friends on their way out of the restaurant not to order the Friday special crab cake as they felt it was small, good if you are dieting.

As I said, many seats at the lobby side of the bar offer views through the front of the restaurant and into the lobby making you feel engaged with the activity around you while you eat.  Lots of open bar seats at this time of day. Seat have small backs. There is one television which is oddly mounted directly at eye level behind the bar showing ESPN.  While we were right near it, and since it was at eye level, we could see the TV quite clearly, I suspect if you are not close by, the television would be difficult to see.  Don’t go counting on catching a game or a show.

I highly recommend JG for a bar meal for the placement of the bar, the great food and the service.  The bartender was VERY friendly, talkative, engaging and interesting.  Sit more toward the lobby and you will get a better feel for the restaurant and the comings and goings of the people in the lobby and restaurant.

Learned something new.  One of my friends said brown napkins are used to keep white lint off of men’s and women’s dark suits.  Details like this make this place shine.  I will be coming back for another meal to check out the dinner bar experience.

BarTaste Rating  ★★★☆☆ 

JG Domestic
Cira Centre, Ground Floor
2929 Arch Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
215-222-2363
JG Domestic Menu
Travel + Liesure JG Domestic Review

JG Domestic on Urbanspoon

Jamonera – Spanish Small Plates, Delicious and Great Service

Photo Courtesy Jamonera



Business Travelers: Do you recommend Jamonera for

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Co-workers, Colleagues or Customers?
Conducting Business; having a Business meeting?
Dining alone?
Women Business Travelers dining alone?
Friendly staff, patrons and good service?
Enjoyable food?
Meeting other Business Travelers?
Rating: 3.6/5 (2 votes cast)

I remember reading a quote from Valerie Safran, who opened Jamonera with Marcie Turney, about why they closed Bindi, the Indian BYOB which had previously occupied the space.  I found the quote again on Foobooz: “After a while you get tired of hearing people say, ‘We don’t eat Indian food’.”  That was me, although I’ve eaten several terrific meals at Tashan.  Thanks for making the switch to Jamonera.

I walked into Jamonera on Thursday, March 29, 2012 a little after 7:30 pm.  I had been to Jamonera for dinner before and was really looking forward to sitting at the bar, having a meal and writing a review for BarTaste. Ugh, I was quickly disappointed as there were no bar seats available.  The very nice hostess said she thought some people were leaving soon but the place is small with nowhere to really wait.  I went across the street to a bench in front of Zavino (a good place for a bar meal, review to come) and did some email and tweets, it was a beautiful evening.  I kept my eye on the door of Jamonera (is it possible to stalk a restaurant?) and suddenly three people I had seen sitting at the bar walked out the door.  I quickly crossed the street and claimed one of the 3 seats on the short side of the bar.  Turns out this is the best place to sit.

I order a drink and ask for a menu.  The bartender was very nice and attentive and extraordinarily busy.  Lots of people working here, one guy behind the bar was just wiping glasses. They could have helped out the bartender a bit, maybe with place settings at the bar for example. The bartender worked fast, furiously and efficiently and my service did not suffer at all.  I often will just drink some of my cocktail before ordering a meal and did just that this evening. I’ll order something else to drink with my meal. The bartender nicely asks to borrow my menu (menu shortage?) to show someone else, promising to bring it back which he does but I already knew what I was ordering.  Maybe some trees were saved?

I order the Spanish Breakfast and it just looks good but tastes even better.  A nice start to a Thursday bar dinner.  It was served on a skinny plate, long and narrow.  I’ve encounter this before while eating a bar meal at Valanni.  Maybe I’m a sloppy eater but I struggled to keep the food on the plate again, eating some of it off the bar. It was all worth it. The Spanish Breakfast was delicious and I highly recommend it. I remembered a Marcie and Valerie connection to Valanni and found Marcie mentioning it on Grub Street Philadelphia. Perhaps the skinny plates came along.

I’m ready for another course, my bar neighbors say the Papa Frita is very good, it sure looks good, but I already know what I am ordering.  I order the Mergues Sausage which was terrific.  What else to follow the eggs on my Spanish Toast?

Jamonera has about 8 seats on the long side of the bar and 3 seats on the short side. The long side faces the wall so the best place to sit, if you can, is the short side 3 seats which allow you to see half the restaurant and out through the windows onto bustling 13th Street. Food is terrific, service wonderful and the Sangria is not bad as well.  I highly recommend.

BarTaste Rating  ★★★★☆ 

Jamonera
105 South 13th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
215-922-6061
Jamonera Menu
South Philly Review Jamonera Review

Jamonera on Urbanspoon

Supper – Friendly and Fun. What a burger!

Photo courtesy Supper



Business Travelers: Do you recommend Supper for

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Co-workers, Colleagues or Customers?
Conducting Business; having a Business meeting?
Dining alone?
Women Business Travelers dining alone?
Friendly staff, patrons and good service?
Enjoyable food?
Meeting other Business Travelers?
Rating: 4.1/5 (3 votes cast)

Walked into Supper after a long walk around looking for a place to eat, Tuesday, March 21, 2012 around 7:30 PM.  Bar was full with one empty seat at the end next to the service station.  I was a little leery about the location but hunger took over and I settled in and ordered a drink.

The spot at the bar and the place were terrific.  The staff at the service station were engaging and fun and the bartender was tremendous.  She talked and was funny not only to me but managed to stay in touch with everyone at the bar while making drinks for all as well as the entire restaurant.  The other customers were friendly and talkative also really making the place a great choice for a bar meal.

As I’ve said I need to vary my meals more so I took a little extra time looking at the menu.  The bartender asked if I were ready and I replied not quite yet.  Without missing a beat she said that she goes with the burger when undecided, that it switched her from be vegetarian.  That was it, I ordered the burger.  I’ve been to Supper several times but had not had the burger but it has been called one of the best in Philly.  The burger was so good, I highly recommend it and believe it is one of the best Philly has to offer.  The bacon was very tasty.  I loved it along with the Duck Fat Fries (Technically Duck Fat Fried Potatoes).

While most of the bar faces the wall some of the seats do offer a glimpse out the window to the sidewalk and a view of the front of the restaurant.  Seats on the long end of the bar toward the door do offer a partial view of the restaurant back into the open kitchen.  My seat, next to all the activity at the service station, a place I try to never sit, turned out the to be the best seat.  The bartender was great, the staff engaging and the other customers talkative.  My seat offered a view of the front of the restaurant, the entire bar and the entire sidewalk out front of the place.  Seat are high back barstools, service wonderful, attentive and fast.  Very fun meal, will go back soon.

BarTaste Rating  ★★★★☆ 

Supper
926 South Street
Philadelphia, PA 19147
(215) 592-8180
Supper Menu
Craig LaBan Philadelphia Inquirer Supper Restaurant Review

Supper on Urbanspoon

10 Best Restaurant Bars for Watching The Phillies

The Phillies opener is so close, I feel like a 5 year old waiting for Christmas. I’ve got my tickets for the home opener on Monday April 9th but where will I watch the season opener at the Pirates on Thursday April 5th?  I know its at 1:35 on a Thursday afternoon so boot camp will have to do without me this week. You will probably find me eating at the bar at one of these places:

1. Misconduct Tavern

It’s like the stars aligned: food, seats, TVs, bartenders and other customers, all terrific.  It’s the best.

1511 Locust Street, Philadelphia, PA (215) 732-5797
Menu
Misconduct Tavern on Urbanspoon

2. Cavanaugh’s Rittenhouse

Adult party place, super enthusiastic crowd and Tatter Tots!

1823 Sansom Street, Philadelphia, PA (215) 665-9500
Menu
Cavanaugh's Rittenhouse on Urbanspoon

3. Perch Pub

Really like the food, great staff and friendly crowd.  Could stay here, eat and drink for hours.  Second floor view can’t be beat. One of the TVs is too high and you have to crane your neck upward to watch.

1345 Locust Street, Philadelphia, PA (215) 546-4090
Menu
Perch Pub on Urbanspoon

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