Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Taproom on 19th

2400 S 19th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19145
(267) 687-7817

The Taproom on 19th has been around for a while, but given its location in deep South Philly, it maybe hasn't gotten the hysteria that many more accessible (but inferior) places have. But that is okay by me, as it means I don't have to wait in line behind some new Fishtown resident that I would hate anyway.

The menu here is perfectly sized, and pretty much everything on it is a win. A couple of stand-outs that I very much enjoyed recently were the fried cheese curds and the Japanese fried chicken sandwich. Don't overlook the burger or cheesesteak, however. If fried curds or chicken are on a menu, I am almost always ordering them. These two were no disappointment.

The curds, sourced from "The Cow and the Curd" are little gooey sticks of magic. The breading is a light cornmeal-ish coating, and the salty stringy cheese takes me back to Wisconsin when I discovered these regional delicacies over a decade ago (along with New Glarus beer). In both cases, beer + fried curds = happiness. I would venture to say these are better than anything I have had in the Badger State. A taste of the chipotle lime dipping sauce actually gave a sharp kick of acidity and late smokey burn. Too often these aiolis are bland town. Not here.

The Japanese fried chicken sandwich was just out of this world. The shishito pepper aioli and the ginger pickles were just icing on the cake.

The brioche, which I am generally not hugely into, was the perfect vessel for this fried manna from heaven.

The chicken thighs were battered with a slightly sweet, shatteringly crunchy shell. The flavor on its batter reminded me ever so slightly of eating a corn dog. Yes, a corn dog. The sweet cornmeal flavor was the perfect bit of sass to match the tender meat inside. This was the best fried chicken sandwich I have had in recent memory. Simple perfection.

The juicy thigh was just right for the application. And there was plenty of salt to get my taste buds dancing. I am pretty sure I contemplated having Uber drop me back off here towards the end of the night for a sequel.

Although they didn't look like much, the fries were addictive as well. Sure, they might have come out of a freezer but I'm not a hater of pre-cut fries, I quite like them! The inner potato was fluffy, while the outside was crunchy and salty. Not much else you could ask for. All around, the Taproom on 19th blew away expectations.

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