Gratzfood Episode 4- South Philly Smokhaus

Let’s be honest, Philly is home to some pretty great eats. Pick a type of cuisine and odds are you can find a worthy spot that serves up the real deal. However, Philly isn’t the South. One area where Philly is lacking is in the barbecue department, which is a shame, especially since it’s Summer. Luckily Gratzfeed found a place that will more than satisfy that authentic bbq fix. Hit the link below to check out South Philly Smokhaus, located in the Bok building on 821 Dudley Street. Enjoy!

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Gratzfeed Episode 3- Marmont Steakhouse & Bar

What’s up everyone? It’s been a while since I did the blog thing but I’m excited to say we’re going to focus in on ramping up content on a more consistent basis this year.

A while back I did a little write up about Marmont Steakhouse in Philly. One of my favorite places to have a steak dinner in the city. It’s a low key spot in the Old City neighborhood of Philadelphia. Delicious, high quality food without all the hubbub of those fancy schmancy places (it’s OK to leave your blazer at home, don’t worry). Besides the stellar food, the service is aces too. Not much more you can ask for in a neighborhood restaurant.

So check it out, watch me eat some food and say the word phenomenal three times in five minutes (I swear I know some other words too). Enjoy!

Gratzfood Episode 2: The Philly Taco

The Philly Taco is a concoction so foul that it can only belong to…well, Philly. A South Street legend that few have tried and even fewer have finished, Gratzfeed investigates the notorious creation firsthand. Will he live to tell about it? Click the video and find out. Warning, this is not for the faint of the heart.

 

Gratzfood Review: Delco’s Original Steaks & Hoagies

I hate to admit it, but I’m pretty cocky when it comes to cheesesteaks. If there’s a great steak in the area, I like to think I’ve probably at least heard of it before. Well, I’m glad to have been humbled by the gentlemen of Delco’s Original. In my defense, the place is a little outside my normal radius (Chadds Ford, PA), but finding the best cheesesteaks can be an exercise of almost limitless boundaries and in such a competitive field, excuses are for the weak. The place was suggested by my dad, who was actually referred by a local who’s been in the area for a while. I was a little skeptical, but as we say here in Philly, “trust the process”.

Speaking of “trust the process”, the place was pretty Philly-ed out, which of course is a positive. Who wouldn’t want to eat a cheesesteak while looking at walls of Philadelphia sports regalia?  Maybe losers, that’s who. The place itself sits inside a pretty unassuming shopping center. While you may be thinking rinky dink, Delco’s Original is far from it. Don’t get me wrong it’s nothing fancy, but there’s way divey-er joints out there. The place is well lit and clean. There are a few tables to sit at and they clearly do a great takeout business too. After living in Philadelphia for a while it was refreshing not being shoulder to shoulder waiting in line with some schlub breathing on me. Plenty of help behind the counter and the guys there were all friendly and knew what they were doing.

Now, it’s one thing to pay homage to Philly sports and have good service, but it’s all for nought if the food doesn’t stack up. Well, lets put it this way… my mouth is watering just thinking about these bad boys. Tried the beef cheesesteak and the chicken too. Both out of this world. Plenty of meat which was hot, fresh and delicious. Everyone knows good bread makes a sandwich and the rolls here were out of this world as they had a nice crispy texture to them. We also had fries which were amazing as well. I loved this place. If you really want to experience all the great cheesesteaks in the area then you probably want to add this to your list and make a trip. Lastly, like I said the Philly vibes are strong with this one, so make sure you grab a tastykake on your way out too. IMG_9843.jpg

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Gratzfood Review: Percy Street Barbecue

I love barbecue. Pulled pork. Brisket. Ribs. Chicken. My mouth waters just typing that. Might be the most underrated type of food there is. Despite my affection for slaughtered animals doused in barbecue sauce, I never made it to Percy Street Barbecue in Philly which is kind of surprising considering it’s right down the street from where I live. This past Saturday my buddy and I finally tried it out, here’s the scoop.

What I ordered: Pulled Pork Sandwich, split an order of wings, whiskey ginger.

Verdict: As always, my anxiety ridden self was in a state of panic when it came time to make a decision on what to order. I love brisket and I love pulled pork. Luckily the waiter started off by saying that he personally recommends the pulled pork. When I asked him if it was better than the brisket he subtly gave the pulled pork another vote of confidence. It was settled. Pulled pork sandwich. Fries. Whiskey ginger. Ohh yeah. While I waited for that my friend and I split an order of wings. The wings were awesome. I really enjoyed them. Dry rub, meaty, flavorful. They had almost a maple kind of taste to them or something. Whatever it was, I was down. Before the main food comes out they storm the table with a barrage of different sauces. This is not a bad thing. At all. They were rattling off the sauces the same way one can rattle off girls Derek Jeter slept with. I was overwhelmed and didn’t retain anything, obviously. Strong pulled pork sandwich. Very strong. A generous portion of meat, some onion, plenty of fries. Some of the sauces were hits and some I could do without but having that variety was awesome. Since I didn’t really know which was which i just blindly poured different ones onto the pork. Aggressive, but necessary.  Here’s the thing, I would gladly come back to Percy street for their pulled pork sandwich and wings. However, their prices are a little steep. Steep enough that it would prevent me from coming on a normal basis. $14 for the sandwich. The wings were $9 ($4.50 each). A whiskey ginger is $10. That’s $28.50 before tax and tip. Ended up costing $35 for a sandwich, drink and three wings. I don’t mind paying a little bit more for a quality sandwich (which I consider their pulled pork to be) but $14 a sandwich isn’t something I would want to do all the time. Sure I can probably hold off on the wings and maybe do without the alcohol, but still a $14 sandwich with a soda or something is still going to end up being close to $20 bucks or more. Delicious sandwich, might not be a $14 sandwich. At the end of the day though if you’re really craving barbecue you might not mind spending the extra moolah. Pulled pork isn’t something I eat on a weekly basis so hey spending a few extra bucks might not be a deal breaker.

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On a side note, the service was phenomenal. Everyone was friendly from the hostess to the wait staff. Our waiter was energetic, informative and handled everything well. The food also came out fast, despite it being pretty crowded. The service and experience went a long way in making me feel more at ease about paying a premium. If it took forever to bring out a $14 sandwich on South Street I probably would have lost it. Overall good, quality barbecue. Great service, nice atmosphere, definitely worth trying but probably not special enough to give it a repeat visit with so many places to try in Philly unless you really want barbecue and/or are really close.

Amendment: John’s Roast Pork Makes A Top 5 Cheesesteak

The constitution may very well be the most important document in America to this day. Gratzfeed’s top 5 cheesesteak article, a close second. Like the constitution, sometimes amendments are needed as times evolve and things change. They’re an important way to update and preserve the integrity of important works. As a result, I am making the very first amendment to my most popular article.

I first had John’s Roast Pork some years ago. While I think I liked it, I never thought it was quite the sandwich some had made it out to be. As the years went by, time and time again I kept hearing John’s Roast Pork’ cheesesteaks being referred to as some of the best Philly had to offer. I decided I had to give it another go. Another go turned into another go. Another go into another and so on and so fourth. Get it?

There’s a reason John’s Roast Pork has the strong reputation it does, their cheesesteaks are out of this world. The meat is flavorful. The rolls are terrific. They give you plenty of cheese and onions. But it doesn’t stop there, something about their cheesesteaks must be addressed and right this very instant. The sandwiches are HUGE. Seriously, it’s borderline offensive how much meat they pile on a single sandwich. Disturbing. Last time I went I was pretty full from just one half, but curiosity got the best of me and for some sick reason I was compelled to experience the feeling of eating a whole one again. It’s pretty much a suicide mission. It’s like having a football in your stomach. Or quintuplets. The thing is, I can eat a lot. If anything I usually complain about portions being too small. Not at John’s. You get your moneys worth and then some. You’ll be full for pretty much a whole day.

If you never been to John’s and want to get some intel, let me paint a picture. It’s your standard Philly dive joint. Small inside where a line wraps around. You either order at one stop at the counter or the next depending on if you’re getting something from the grill like a cheesesteak or the next if you’re getting a roast pork or beef. They have an enclosed seating area with benches and condiments and then some additional benches outside with no enclosure. Simple. Divey. Delicious.

On a side note, while in this case I’m focusing on the cheesesteaks, their roast pork and beef is dynamite too. Like the cheesesteaks, the sandwiches are humongous. Definitely worth a try if you’re into those.

Now you may be wondering, who’s getting bumped from the top 5? Honestly, I think I’d go with John’s Roast Pork over Tony Luke’s. Tony Luke’s is still great though and is undoubtedly a South Philly classic. So, I’m going to do the logical thing and make John’s Roast Pork 5A. and Tony Luke’s 5B. Does that make any sense? Probably not. But I want people to know Tony Luke’s is still a top cheesesteak and I want them to know about John’s Roast Pork too. There you have it, the first amendment to Gratzfeed’s top 5 cheesesteaks has been made. John’s Roast Pork, welcome to the cheesesteak elite. unnamed-5.jpg

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Underrated Gem: Marmont Steakhouse

To be completely honest, when it comes to places to get a good steak in Philly I never really thought of Marmont Steakhouse. Until I tried it. Here’s the brief story of how I discovered this place. My family and I wanted to go out for restaurant week last year. My mom told me to pick a place and we’ll make a reservation. After perusing some of the promotional menus I thought Marmont had one you couldn’t really go wrong with. Cheesesteak spring rolls, potato soup, 12 ounce ribeye and a dessert. Booked.

Marmont is located on 2nd & Market in the Old City section of Philadelphia. The first time I went there I was kind of thrown for a loop. I was expecting some grand, fancy steakhouse but in reality the atmosphere is more of a bar setting. Some tables, the bar, few TV’s and that’s pretty much it. It’s low key and casual to say the least. In a way, it’s pretty refreshing that you can have a quality meal without all the fancy fanfare.

When going out to dinner with your mom (or at least my mom) it’s pretty essential to start with an alcoholic beverage. Marmont has you covered. They have standard beer and wine options but my eyes always gravitate to their speciality drinks. Their signature cocktail menu is expansive and no matter whether you’re a rum, gin, vodka or fan of whatever else, there’s an interesting concoction with your alcohol of choice.

Drinks are fine and dandy but unless the food is good it’s a moot point. Lets start with the appetizers. They have a potato soup with large chunks of potatoes, cheese, topped with bacon. I have had it twice and both times it was out of this world. Unfortunately it’s only a special offered on occasion which I was a little disappointed to hear during my last visit. It’s absolutely delicious and should really be a menu mainstay but since it wasn’t offered last time I opted for the fried shrimp. Woah. The shrimp were huge. You get 8, big pieces of shrimp (I know, I know it’s an oxymoron) that are full of flavor as they’re topped with fried jalapeños. Definitely a hit at the table. The real star of the show (as one may expect at a steakhouse) is the steak. I usually go with the 16 ounce ribeye ($30) cooked medium or medium rare. All three times I went it’s been with a party of four. Among the four of us we are still yet to have a bad meal at Marmont. Consistency is key and because we have had stellar meals each and every time, we gladly keep coming back. The meat is full of flavor and can go toe to toe with even the fanciest restaurants in Philadelphia. I truly believe that. I always get a side of mashed potatoes with mine which are also outstanding. Last time they came out rather cold so we mentioned it to out waitress and without hesitation she went back and got new ones for the table, which leads me to my next point…

The service is always great. The wait staff is knowledgeable and friendly and will do whatever it takes to make sure you’re satisfied. Whether it’s taking the time to explain a cut of meat or checking to see if you need another drink, we always feel well taken care of at Marmont. Sometimes at upscale places there can be an arrogance but Marmont is completely devoid of that. If you’re looking for a relaxed, casual environment to enjoy great food and service, look no further than Marmont Steakhouse.

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