Monday, July 14, 2014
Inquirer Daily News
Rex 1516
1516 South St.
Philadelphia , PA 19146
Neighborhood: Rittenhouse Square
Related reviews: Rex 1516
Cuisine type: American; Southern
Meals Served: Brunch - Sat., Sun. Lunch - Mon. thru Sun. Dinner - Mon. thru Sun.
Style: The resurgence of South Street West has acquired an appealing Southern accent with this Cajun-inflected bistro and cocktail bar from the owners of nearby Jet Wine Bar. Dramatic curtains, recovered wood, and wrought-iron accents evoke a mood of faded grandeur. Chef Regis Jansen, an Alabama native, lends the affordable menu an earnest Gulf Coast flair of spice and richness, but inconsistency on Jansen's day off shows how a knowing touch is essential for this rustic cuisine to succeed without feeling heavy.
Specialties: Blackened scallop salad; crawfish pie; bruschetta special with black-pepper goat cheese and pickled strawberries; pork loin stuffed with corn bread and andouille; hanger steak; vegetarian meat loaf; roast chicken with chicken gravy; shrimp and grits (brunch); pulled chicken sandwich (brunch); omelet with house-made chaurice and duck confit (brunch); sweet potato duo; King's Gateau. Dinner entreees: $11 to $22.
Alcohol: Solid, albeit slightly undersweetened, renditions of classic Southern cocktails (Sazerac, mint julep) are a draw for the moody back bar. A substantial craft beer list offers some intriguing options for the zesty menu, including eclectic witbiers from Lithuania and Austria, richer ales (Monk's from Abbey of Christ in the Desert), funky sours (Rodenbach; Festina Peche), powerhouse Allagash Curieux on draft, and a large-format Stillwater Cellar Door farmhouse ale worth the splurge.
Weekend noise: A comfortable 82 decibels, though the room was rarely full. (Ideal is 75 decibels or less.)
Hours: Lunch Monday through Friday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Dinner nightly, 5-11 p.m. Brunch Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Prices: $$