It’s Restaurant Week in Philadelphia. Between now and January 28, hundreds of restaurants throughout the city offer three-course fixed price lunches at $20 and dinners at $35. Check out the details and take advantage of these reduced prices to visit some of the finest spots in the city.
As temperatures plunged tonight into the low teens, I hurried into Bridget Foy’s, to enjoy dinner with a good friend, and to take advantage of Foy’s Restaurant Week offerings.
Established in 1978, Bridget Foy’s has been a popular neighborhood gathering place for over thirty years. Well-situated on the corner of 2nd and South, within sight of historical Head House Square, the restaurant sits at a point where the revelry of South Street becomes a bit more subdued, and the energies of Queen Village, South Street and Society Hill seem to meet. Although the area is often bustling with people, finding parking is not difficult. There are several parking garages, and plenty of metered street parking, some of which becomes free after a specified time of night. One word of caution: these times change from street to street, and you must be sure to check the signs, to avoid being ticketed. Foy’s also offers parking vouchers if you choose to use the garage parking close by.
Foy’s is comfortable and pub-like, with lots of dark wood and cozy booths. Floor to ceiling windows overlook South Street, and in summer are opened onto the porch, where tables provide open air dining. Dress is casual, the atmosphere friendly, the staff warm and welcoming. There is a large and bustling bar in one section of the restaurant; yet, the dining space is quiet enough for easy conversation.
The menu at Bridget Foy’s is moderately priced, and offers what they call American fare. But this is far from the tired, expectable items of a typical American menu. Appetizers include such choices as lamb and goat cheese empanadas, crab and scallop dumplings, or spicy ginger Korean BBQ duck tacos. In addition to the salads, pasta and burgers available, a wide array of main course choices include bourbon cider-glazed pork chops, eggplant napoleon, and pan-seared tilapia with couscous, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, currants and pine nuts.
My friend ordered the duck and wild mushroom soup, and an order of pot stickers, claiming that a three-course meal would be too much. I decided to brave the three courses and ordered seared scallops with bacon risotto, lobster pappardelle, and for dessert, apple empanadas. Service was friendly, attentive and informative; and our food arrived quickly. My friend declared the soup to be delicious, and my scallops were wonderful. Four plump, seared and lightly browned scallops surrounded a mound of bacon risotto, cooked to perfection.
Our second course, the pot stickers and my pasta, arrived without any wait, and were equally enjoyable. My lobster pappardelle was a perfect combination of large, abundant pieces of lobster, the pappardelle noodles and a rosa cream sauce. The flavors of the lobster and cream sauce blended well; this was a perfect choice on a frigid winter night. My friend proved to be right, however, since the serving size of my main course was large, and I realized that I was not going to be able to make a dent in it, especially if I hoped to enjoy any of the dessert. This only meant that I got to bring the rest of the pappardelle home and look forward to another meal. Who can complain about that?
My friend and I decided to share the apple empanadas, which were served warm, with vanilla ice cream as a perfect addition. The apple compote inside the crunchy empanadas was deliciously, but not overly sweet. And, to my great pleasure, a pot of tea arrived that was perfectly brewed. How many restaurants, no matter how expensive, fail to correctly brew tea? How many times does a luke warm cup of water arrive with a tea bag on the side? This is one of my pet peeves, since I am a life-long tea drinker, constantly baffled by the failure of American restaurants to make a decent cup of tea. So, after a wonderful meal, this was truly an added pleasure.
In all, the experience at Bridget Foy’s was a thoroughly enjoyable one. A welcoming and comfortable restaurant, it never fails to satisfy.