Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Snockey's Oyster and Crab House

1020 S 2nd St
Philadelphia, PA 19176
(215) 339-9578

Snockey's has an awesome back-story: according to their website, they opened the original location three weeks after the Titanic sunk. It was posted in numerous locations around the restaurant. They also had a story on the wall about how the original owner came up as a Polish immigrant boxer and earned the money for the place by fighting. That is the kind of story that makes me instantly love a restaurant (or any store/person/story for that matter). The South Philly (just above Washington) bar, however, failed to live up to its storied past.

The inside is old-school oyster house style. Not a bad thing at all, but the whole place gave off an air of "dingy."

I was most excited for the renowned Happy Hour prices, on both beer and oysters. It turned out, they were celebrating a 99th anniversary over that week, so I was handed three menus. It was not even five o'clock yet, and I informed the server that I was just planning on some beers and some bivalves on a gorgeous afternoon. I was then told that they had a special menu, but there was a complicated ordering process as to what was on special. A second server had to be brought in to explain the increasingly convoluted ordering process. The regular Happy Hour prices did not apply, but they had a couple of specials where you inexplicably (believe me, I asked) paid more than their regular Happy Hour prices in order to celebrate having been open for 99 years. The original server now back, I was propositioned for the second of three times to try the $20 two lobster meal. It was still well before 5 o'clock, and I was already getting suspect.

When the full blown screaming match occurred right next to my table in the sparsely populated restaurant, I was looking for an out. I was ready to give each of those two waitresses involved the $4 that had resulted in this powder keg. I am sorry, but that sort of thing needs to be dealt with in the kitchen, or out back. Not next to paying customers, at the bar, adjacent to the entrance. When the owner was informed, he walked by and said he wasn't getting in the middle of it! Unfortunately I had already placed an order for the crab chowder, half a dozen Cape May salts, and a shrimp cocktail.

The Mountain Dew fishbowl glasses reading "tickle yore innards" was a nice touch, and maybe the only redeeming one.

The oysters were fine. Although there were certainly some bits of shell in them, I am not going to complain when they were $1. Except to say that the $1 Happy Hour Oysters at Sansom Street OH were clean as a whistle. The cocktail sauce was a bit weak, but they provide a side of horseradish at the table, so that was easy to resolve.

When the shrimp cocktail arrived, however, I was a bit more trepid. The shrimp just looked . . . old. They looked as though they had been off the ice for a while, and were slightly tinged with a hint of - gray? They were certainly a generous portion at $2.99 for four, but I am not sure which special that was a part of, so they might not have it all of the time.

After everything that Snockey's already had going on, the crab chowder was not looking like it was going to pan out. It was so incredibly boring. I would not have known if it were poured out of a commercial can, or homemade, had I not known it was made "in house."

The experience altogether could be likened to a seafood distributor throwing a party catered by the Melrose Diner. The front station had aforementioned lobsters, sitting, cooked, until someone ordered them. I fear the same fate overtook my shrimp. The prominently displayed microwave at the front of house didn't exactly elicit a vote of confidence either, to say the least.

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