529 N. 20th St.
Philadelphia , PA 19130
Neighborhood: Art Museum - Fairmount
Parking: Free parking in six spots in the lot on 20th Street opposite restaurant.
Related reviews: Four Seasons vet transforms Fairmount's McCrossen's Tavern
Cuisine type: American
Meals Served: Brunch - Sat., Sun. Lunch - Mon., Tue., Wed., Thu., Fri. Dinner - Mon. thru Sun. Late Night - Fri., Sat., Sun.
Style: This longtime Fairmount barroom has been transformed from "forgettable" to "memorable" since the arrival of chef-partner Townsend Wentz, a Four Seasons vet who has brought serious cooking to a menu that still keeps prices accessible for casual dining. Smart upgrades to the small beer and wine lists, plus moments of surprisingly polished service and votive-lit ambience, have helped remake this survivor into one of the city's better neighborhood gems.
Specialties: Brandade; beef carpaccio; sweetbreads and tongue; steamed clams in crab broth; wings; whipped ricotta crostini; pork Milanese; bouillabaisse; burger; scampi pasta; pasta alla chitarra with oxtail ragu (special); chicken Sicilian; peach tart brulee (only in season); chocolate layer cake; chocolate-Bourgogne des Flandres ice cream.
Alcohol: A small but well-chosen beer selection, with 12 taps featuring seasonals (Dogfish Punk) and American craft stars (Southern Tier; Sixpoint; Troegs; New Holland), plus 20 bottles with a more international focus (Saison Dupont; Hopus; Aventinus; Bourgogne de Flandres). There are a dozen affordable wines by the glass, but they, too, show character and food-friendly good taste, from S.A. Prüm riesling and white Rioja (Ostatu) to cinsault (Magellan), and Dolcetto d'Alba (E. Giuseppe.)
Weekend noise: A lively but manageable 86 decibels in the dining room. (Ideal is 75 decibels or less.)
Hours: Entire menu Monday through Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Friday, until midnight; Saturday, 2:30 p.m. to midnight; Sunday, 2:30 to 10 p.m. Brunch Saturday and Sunday, 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.