1400 S Christopher Columbus Blvd.
Philadelphia, PA 19147
I was recently invited to a night of comedy and food at the somewhat newly opened Bocci's, which is located right next to the Riverview theater in South Philly. I couldn't remember anything being in this location, right next to Warmdaddy's, and I am always interested in some jokes, so it was an easy yes. I later came to know that many years ago, this used to be a Friendly's...
Bocci's used to be located in South Jersey, but relocated to this spot due to the owners of the real estate loving the food at the Jersey location. They had a giant wall wrap when to walk in to let you know this place was about the comedians as well as the food.
Bocci's history is laid out on the back of the menu. It is nice to see the mission statement and know that there is some family history and passion behind the place.
This place is a BYO(!), so I brought a six pack of IPA (Troeg's) and got ready for some food. The first thing up was the crab fries. These were different than most, in that the "crab" is actual snow crab, not a shake of Old Bay. The drawn butter centerpiece really pushed it over the top. I was quite surprised with how good these were. The fries stayed crispy, the sweet snowcrab was not out of place, and the butter indulgence was unlike any fry experience I have had.
The fresh parsley BASICALLY makes this a salad.
These disappeared so quickly, I could have eaten another order. The fries had a slight battery coating which kept the outsides crispy while the insides stayed hot and steamy and fried to perfection.
The seafood platter came out after. The shrimp were my favorites by far. Crispy with a nice paprika and light cayenne seasoning, they were like the soul food version of Dmitri's pil pil.
The crab cake was tasty as well. Not too much filler, and a generous portion.
I was not a huge fan of the whiting, but I am generally a shrimp guy anyway.
They also offered three sauces - hot sauce, cocktail, and mustard. Kind of a "chose your own adventure" for your seafood plate.
The shrimp and grits were no joke. The shrimp were nicely plumped and tender, and the grits had just a touch of butter. My fondness for butter aside, they had a great creamy texture and were rich, even for savory grits.
After the previous courses, I was starting to fill up on these.After the previous courses, I was starting to fill up on these.
The cabbage side was totally delicious. Vinegary and tender, I could eat a lot of this stuff. It reminded me of my Polish roots and had the salty flavor and perfectly wilted texture reminiscent of one of my favorite halushki dishes.
The T-Bone was the final entree. The crust on the steak was fantastic. Look at those beautiful char marks.
It was a bit overcooked for my taste (I like to see some pinkish-red in the center), but the meat was surprisingly tender, and the char added so much flavor. It can be difficult to get the maillard reaction to work with a thinner cut of meat.
At this point the stand-up comedy was starting. Holy shit, open mic night was hilarious. I was deliriously full, and thought I might bust a gut laughing. Make sure you check the schedule and see what is going on. There were so many performers, and almost all of them were on point.
I was literally ROTFL most of the night and was surprised to discover so much hidden comedic talent right here in South Philly.
As if this wasn't enough of everything, the dessert came out last. Belgian waffle with cream cheese drizzle and vanilla ice cream. It was so damn good. I didn't think I could eat one more bite, and this whole thing disappeared.
Crispy, perfectly executed waffle with a drizzle of love. Seriously go check out open mic night (or any of the shows here) and prepare to hurt with laughter, and some good food made with loving care.