Gratzfeed Review: Mike’s BBQ

I have to preface this. I love barbecue. Ironically though, I live in Philly, where barbecue is perhaps the most underrepresented type of cuisine. Cheesesteaks? We got em. Roast pork? Oh yeah there’s some spots. Barbecue though? We’re just not there yet.

I love barbecue so much that my last entry in the Gratzfeed video series was on a place called South Philly Smokhaus. Well, life happened and as it turns out, they are no longer in business. Unfortunate, because they had some damn good bbq.

So, Mike’s was always on my mind as one of the places I had to try. This place had a buzz and I was determined to see what the hype was about.

For a while…

Here’s the thing though, hear me out. When there’s a place I’m eager to try, I just have to eat it there the first time. Physically, there. I mean right? You can’t order delivery and properly evaluate a meal. That’s just not fair, to yourself, or to the restaurant.

But I’ve been saying this for over a year, and apparently things are a little different these days. I was hungry. Plus a $5 off coupon on Grubhub? My inner Jew was activated and it was time to finally try Mike’s BBQ.

Kept it simple the first time. Brisket sandwich, which comes topped with house made slaw and also included two sauces.

I’m going to keep it simple once again, this brisket sandwich was AMAZING.

First, let’s talk about presentation. I told you guys, delivery is always risky. Shit gets mangled, tossed around, you know. This sandwich was perfectly put together. I was actually in awe, it just looked right. Nothing contorted, no meat falling out, it was legit… a perfectly crafted sandwich, delivery and all.

The taste? My lord. Some places offer you the choice of fatty or lean brisket (fatty tends to have more flavor). That option wasn’t necessary. This brisket had the perfect consistency. Wasn’t overly fatty, wasn’t dry. Each bite bursted with succulent taste. All the flavors came together so no part of the sandwich overwhelmed another. It was truly delicious. And as far as size? I get skeptical when it comes to a Martin’s Potato Roll… I mean how big could it be? The meat to roll ratio was unrivaled and I was full and satisfied from one sandwich. The house made chips served as the perfect compliment. And the sauces? They gave two, didn’t know which was which but I’d drink em both, not overly sweet and just the right amount of tang. The perfect compliment to a perfect sandwich.

They get it.

Gratzfeed Review: Fudge Brownie M&M’s

Hey y’all. Gratz here checking in from Quarantine. You know what I realized? There’s a ton of snacks out there. What’s good? What stinks? What’s even out there in the snack game? Chances are you might be cooped up and a little bored. Well, what’s the number one activity to fight boredom? You guessed it, snacking. Figured I’d start posting some reviews so we can squeeze some joy out of life by way of food. First up, fudge brownie m&m’s. Enjoy!

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.

Gratzfood Review: Craftsman Row Saloon

So my buddy’s been telling me about a place right near his work, Craftsman Row Saloon. Vouches for their food although he usually gets a salad. Fine. Then I started seeing Craftsman Row pop up on some Instagram food accounts. Then I saw their own page and something caught my attention like I was an 8 year old walking past KB Toys. “OFF THE MENU Buffalo Chicken Sandwich! Available upon request”. Well guess what? Gratzfood came. Gratzfood requested. Gratzfood ate. Shall we?

What it’s called: Buffalo Chicken Sandwich.

Cost: $9.50 + tax.

What is it exactly?: Boneless fried chicken in buffalo sauce, american cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, bleu cheese, bacon on a brioche (o la la) bun. Side of fries.

Gratzfood alterations: No tomato. No bleu cheese. I don’t have many kind words to say about bleu cheese. Substitute spicy ranch.

Verdict: The sandwich was amazing. I freakin loved it and am still on a high as I write this. The chicken breast was huge and tasty. The buffalo sauce wasn’t all too spicy but yet very flavorful. You get more of the buffalo taste than the actual heat, for some that may be a good thing and for others that may be a bad thing but I really enjoyed it as I wasn’t dying while eating this bad boy. Sometimes places overdo it with the sauce, I found this to be just right. Instead of bleu cheese I opted for their spicy ranch and I’m more than happy with that decision. They put it on the sandwich and then gave me a side of it which was clutch as I was pouring it on each bite and even dipping my fries. Perhaps the real game changer with this creation was the bacon. The bacon was thick and hearty and delicious. I mean, c’mon it’s bacon…on a fried chicken sandwich. Also, I don’t think I ever met a brioche bun I didn’t like. Anytime a place decides to use brioche buns for it’s sandwiches it never hurts, only helps. The fries they serve are just ok but they give you a lot and it doesn’t take much for me to chow down on a side of fries. I wish they were a little crispier but the main priority with this meal was the sandwich which simply rocked. I would easily recommended this and would gladly go and order it again. Apparently their brisket mac and cheese is also pretty delightful…til next time!

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Warning: This might get messy.