100 Morris Street
Philadelphia, PA 19148
Only 4 years after I moved out of Pennsport, the neighborhood starts to look more appealing. Don't get me wrong, I prefer the old school Philly neighborhoods before gentrification, but there's something to be said for that stretch of time in-between when the mix of old and new struggle to find balance. The 1st Ward is one of those newcomers who has all the appeal of an up-and-coming neighborhood joint and so I went in with high hopes.
The decor is pretty basic, but it's tastefully bright and welcoming for being on Front Street right under 95. They have a clean presentation style and serve the sandwiches on cutting boards. Everything seems pretty good so far. Their menu is small, think of a pseudo-Paesano's style set of options, but fresher; well, not fresher but maybe healthier?
I went with the fried oyster po'boy and my friend tried the schnitzel. I was somewhat surprised to see my po'boy come out on an Italian seeded roll. I understand the 'fusion' they're going for here, but I think maybe this was taking it too far.
It comes served with "fried Chesapeake Bay's, spicy mayo and lettuce-tomato slaw." This sounds good but the execution definitely fell short. The slaw wasn't a slaw at all, it was more of a large-chop which made it sort of difficult to eat. The oysters were small, sort of heavy on the breading, but the flavor was there. Actually, for looking so wet, the whole thing was kind of dry and literally had no resemblance to a po'boy (and believe me, I've eaten my way around New Orleans enough to know the truth).
I mean, just call it an Oyster sandwich.
My buddy's schnitzel boasts, "thinly pounded pork loin, greens, fried egg, grain mustard on a butter roll." First off, there was no butter roll in sight. It was the same long seeded Italian roll. Which is fine, but again, let's just call it like it is. Another very dry sandwich. Weakly seasoned all around. Meh. I don't need to say more.
But hey, the fries were awesome. I asked if they had any aoili sauces for dipping and the cook said, "you mean like mayonnaise?" and I sadly replied, "I guess." She proceeded to spoon mayo out of the jar into a little cup for me. What about that spicy mayo that was on my oyster sandwich? Throw me a bone here people. Maybe they've worked out the kinks, but I don't expect I'll ever go back to find out.