Philly: All the Good Stuff at Vernick
When we were heading out to Philadelphia, everyone told us we had to check out Vernick. It turned out it was a 5 minute walk from our hotel and I was able to book a reservation for the night we got into town. We were a bit early so we had drinks at the crowded bar before heading upstairs to our dinner.
Mezcal has been increasingly popular through the last few years and I was happy to spot Chucho El Roto on the menu featuring this agave beauty mixed with the wonderful Cynar 70. It’s essentially my favorite sort of drink – booze + amaro + vermouth.
My friend had the Crabapple. She much prefers fruit based drinks so that drink with apple brandy was right up her alley.
Chucho El Roto – Mezcal, Cynar 70, Cocchi Americano
Crabapple – Apple brandy, Benedictine, citrus, spice
After looking over the menu, we ordered something from almost section. The food is divided up into categories such as “on toast,” raw, vegetables, small plates and large plates. There were also a couple of daily specials.
We enjoyed a lovely amuse bouche to start our meal.
I am never one to suggest beef tartare but am always happy when a dining companion wants it. Vernick’s was really good and I enjoyed the fresh horseradish in the dish.
Vernick sent out the lamb bacon with watermelon. My friend as mentioned loves fruit so this was much appreciated.
I loved the warm bowl of rice with shrimp and red curry. The long beans added a nice crunch.
We were super into the pork jowl dish. It came with a nice Brussels sprouts salad with kimchi vinaigrette.
We were getting thirsty so we ordered another round of drinks. My friend opted for the other fruity drink on the menu, the Huckleberry. Like the Crabapple, it wasn’t actually just a highball. This was a nice daiquiri variation. I had the classic Army and Navy since I love drinks with orgeat.
Huckleberry – house rum blend, raw cane sugar, lime
Army & Navy – dry gin, orgeat, citrus, spice
One of the specials that night was the cabbage with this almost sweet and sour sauce. I wasn’t really into this dish as much as my friend. I suppose it’s because I’m not into char and the black bits threw me off. Otherwise I really like cabbage and ate around it.
After all the small plates, we got one entree to share. The halibut seemed like a dish we’d like- fish, spinach and mushrooms. And I did like the components but I have to admit this is not the usual adventurous fare I like. It’s a solid dish that would work better for a simple meal. And we were after excitement that night.
Oh! We did also have the chilled sesame noodles. This was my favorite dish of the night with the bits of seaweed and carrot-ginger dressing.
Vernick was a great start to our weekend in Philly.
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