Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Frankford Hall

1210 Frankford Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19125
(215) 634-3338

As a rule, I try not to judge a place too heavily on its first night, or month for that matter, but given my new locale and mixed with my eternal love for drinking beer outdoors - this was too much for me to resist. When I got to Frankford Hall on opening day, I was a bit put off at first. This is supposed to be Steven Starr's "laid back" new place? Why are there security guards wearing earpieces and multiple valets? I almost didn't go in. Which would have been a huge mistake. Once my driver's license was scanned and visually groped three times, I was in. Having to walk around the little rope to enter on the right was annoying, given there was no line, but pass that, and you are in. One of the confusing things is that when you walk in, you are greeted by two hostesses, however it turns out that they are fake hostesses. After you tell them how many are in your party, they immediately tell you it is self seating. Which I suppose is actually helpful, because they follow it up with telling you how to go about getting yourself some beer and food. Which is why you came, right?

When you walk in you will see there are a ton of seats, both indoor and out, which was perfect for our party, as we started outside and ducked in when it looked like rain. First come, first seated. The outdoor section is really where it's at. At the entrance is a wrap around full bar, and in the back left is a beer-only window, while one the right is a food window.

After procuring an ample amount of German beer, it was time for some food. They have a simple but authentic menu. A variety of appetizers and sausages, all reasonably priced, and just two large entrees, Jager Schnitzel and a roasted half chicken.

Although they were having a bit of difficulty with the ordering process, for the first night, everything was relatively smooth. You place an order and either get it immediately, or they will bring it out to you. It's like a slick way to get food at a sporting event window, except the sporting event is drinking German beer. I may try out for the big leagues. A number denotes your order, and a friendly server brings it right out.

The condiment bar offers curry ketchup and a spicy mustard. These two are out of this world. I could eat the ketchup with a spoon (or my finger), and the mustard was so spicy my eyes were watering, which is about the best thing I can think to say for spicy mustard. I hate mild mustard that claims to be spicy. If you say spicy, make me sweat. Condiment bar below.

So you offer food and beer in a laid back environment. But it's a Starr place, so it must be outrageously over-priced alcohol, right? Well, actually not too bad. The liters are priced at $12-13, or a regular draft for $6-7.

I went with knockwurst [sic] (I was told by the beer window it was their favorite), the cucumber salad, and the spaetzle with gravy. Altogether, they were about $16. Not too bad, given the incredible ambiance at this place.

One slight hiccup, was that we ordered the sausage with red cabbage, yet it came with kraut. Not a big deal, but we told the runner about it, and he quickly returned with an entire order of red cabbage. Thank God, after so many places have been failing to correct their mistake, or act like I am lying when I alert them to a mix-up, at this place (where they aren't necessarily expecting a tip) they replaced it with an entire order, no questions asked. Which is exactly the way it should be, everywhere, but places repeatedly get it wrong. See below for proof of my red cabbage order.

The Knockwurst is a pork and veal sausage with garlic, that is cured and then smoked. Although the actual meat itself was juicy and delicious, the casing was too thick and took some serious ripping to get through. I was excited, however, to eat some of the accidental kraut I received with my order.

The red cabbage, which unfortunately looks like a ghost due to the reflection of the tray, was good, but nothing too exceptional. I think I would order the kraut instead next time. It was everything that could be expected of red cabbage, but not too memorable.

The cucumber and red onion salad was a great contrast to the incredibly hot mustard (that I was eating with everything), and I liked the watery but tasty yogurt sauce.

Now, let's talk about spaetzle. The side of of spaetzle with gravy was so damn good, it might have been the reason the other dishes didn't shine quite as brightly. It actually is a problem, because now every time I stop in for a beer or three, I will have to order some. Even if I just ate a ten course meal, I need that egg noodle and rich gravy to join the party. It's amazing. Rich, beefy gravy and the perfectly cooked noodles come together in a symphony of deliciousness.

I also tried the pretzel, but it was later in the night, and I forgot to take a picture. It was divine. No steal at $7, but it was a huge 10oz. pretzel. I mean there are girls walking around offering warm pretzels to groups of people drinking copious amounts of beer. Do I actually have to leave, or can I sleep under one of the benches. Did I mention they have two free ping pong tables? No? Well they do. So do yourself a favor, and go eat, drink and enjoy the Frankford Hall. Just ignore the over zealous bouncer, and order some spaetzle.


Christopher said...

this place looks awesome...nice use of the [sic]..haha

Mary said...

can't wait to check this place out! great review.

Gazelle said...

great post about a really cool location that I was about to sleep on for the summer.

Felicia D'Ambrosio said...

If anything can drag me out to an overpriced Death Starr restaurant, it's spaetzle in brown gravy. Looks delish.

tomg said...

SpƤtzle was too soft- it needs a bit more bite to it. Right on with the bouncers- it was weird. Brats were good, almost as good as brauhaus Schmitz. Same with the pretzel. Kraut was pretty bland. All in all, Ill only go back a few more times this summer- the great atmosphere isnt worth the price.