It’s no secret: I’m a serious Food Network junkie. Bobby, Giada, Tyler, Ina, Paula, bring ‘em on. So when I get the chance to dine at a Food Network star’s restaurant, I jump. This time it was the newest Iron Chef, Jose Garces’s whiskey restaurant in Philadelphia. Me being a FN lover and my boyfriend a whiskey lover, we thought Village Whiskey was the perfect choice for dinner on our recent trip to Philly. The concierge, on the other hand, did his best to dissuade us from going there by citing looooong waits. We forged ahead anyway and ended up enjoying one cocktail at the bar before sitting at a table–no big deal (full disclosure, though: it was a Tuesday night).
But I’m going to skip the whiskey portion of the evening and go right to my area of expertise: the meal. An entire section of Village Whiskey’s menu is dedicated to pickled items, and we chose the cherry tomatoes. They came with black olive tapenade, whipped ricotta cheese and sourdough bread.
We layered the airy, light ricotta onto the sour bread and topped that with the salty tapenade and seriously sweet tomatoes. Pickling the tomatoes made them unbelievably soft and sweet; biting into one was like an explosion of flavor in your mouth. It was the perfect combination of nearly all flavor points: sour, salty and sweet. What a great way to start the meal.
Next up was the signature Village burger served on a sesame roll with tomato, bibb lettuce and house-made Thousand Island dressing, and we added avocado and cheddar cheese. We were especially excited for the burger from the footnote on the bottom of the menu that read, “All burgers are made of sustainable farm-raised Angus from Maine,” and only became more excited when it arrived to to the table.
The burger, as you can see, was a perfect medium rare and soso juicy! The flavors melted together to make each bite better than the last.
Duck fat fries accompanied the burger, which I had been itching to try every since Food Network Magazine ran a feature on the growing popularity of frying potatoes in duck fat.
I have to say, though, I was slightly disappointed. I could only taste the faintest ducky flavor. I wish it had hit me in the face. Maybe if the fries were skinnier, there would be more duck flavor. They were still good fries, just pretty normal–oh well.
Village Whiskey is a fun, hip, delicious restaurant to stop by if you’re in Philly. Good luck walking in a straight line after, though!
Village Whiskey, www.villagewhiskey.com, 118 South 20th Street, Philadelphia, PA, 215-665-1088