Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Khyber Pass Pub Redux

56 South 2nd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(215) 238-5888

I wasn't thrilled with Khyber Pass when it first opened, still too freaked out by the things I had seen at the old Khyber to take them seriously as a restaurant. I heard from a reliable source that they had some excellent food, and I also recently had the opportunity to meet the executive chef, who also encouraged me to check out the food. Hell, I am glad I listened to those guys.

As this was a business lunch (certainly not), I started with a Harvest from the Hood. It's the seasonal wet-hopped amber ale with hops grown at both PBC and Greensgrow. Two of my favorite places in the city can't be wrong. This is a delicious beer, that I highly recommend, but by the time you read this, it may be too late. They make a limited batch.

We started with the fresh popped Benton's bacon grease popcorn I have heard so much about. Dusted with cajun spices and served in a brown paper bag, this was hands down the best popcorn I have ever tasted. To which you are probably thinking either "No Way" or "No Shit." But seriously, believe me this popcorn is rich, porky, smokey, and slightly spicy. Not to mention it is actually quite light, and as you can probably guess, utterly addictive.

Next we rolled with the fried shrimp po' boy and the smoked cheddar fries with debris gravy. This sandwich blew the last one I'd had there out of the water. The sandwich is served on Leidenheimer Baking Company rolls, served with the traditional lettuce, tomato, pickles and mayo. The shrimp were PERFECTLY fried, and with a little crystal hot sauce to mix in with the mayo, this was the best I have had in Philadelphia proper.

The fries were also heart-stoppingly delicious. They were crispy and packed with flavor, not to mention smothered in smoked cheddar and debris gravy. I could not stop eating them, even though I was well into my 5,000 calorie lunch by that point.

And finally, just because I shouldn't have, I ordered a small crawfish étouffée. I LOVE crawfish and this did not disappoint. A rich, dark roux served over white rice hosting a variety of ingredients, including the holy trinity (onions, bell peppers, and celery) and scallions, this dish was bursting with deep, rich earthy flavor. Delicate, yet homey, this makes me wish I grew up in Cajun country (just kidding Philly!).

I am incredibly happy I went back to Khyber for another go-round, yet at the same time, I am now forced to judge other bar food against this, and as we all know, there is no way that ANYONE can compete with Benton's bacon grease popcorn. My dining mate suggested it should be THE movie snack to take to the Ritz (they allow outside food and are right around the corner). And I can't disagree. That being said, if I smell that popcorn during a movie, there is a 110% chance I am going to mug you for it.

1 comment:

Dave said...

Love the Khyber. It's my go-to for beer and bar food before catching a movie at the Ritz.