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Casey

Jack's Firehouse in Philly

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Has anyone been there recently? Thoughts? Thinking about going there tomorrow prior to seeing Bruce Springsteen concert....

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i'm been hoping to hear something about this place here on egullet. there hasn't been much coverage. any info would be great, as i'm planning a trip to philly and was considering stopping here. :smile:

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I haven't been to the Firehouse but I think the Down Home Diner is great. I had a few items there that were pretty much definitive, including a BLT that has got to be at the apex of the genre and some very honorable pulled pork. Holly Moore loves the place too, in fact he was the reason I went:

http://www.hollyeats.com/DownHome.htm

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I saw Jack McDavid on an old Great Chefs episode maybe 15 years ago, long before he became Bobby Flay's Sancho Panza on Grillin and Chillin. He cooked bear (he pronounced it "bar") and it looked fabulous. I'd also be interested to hear what his menu is like and how the food is there.

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We've been there twice. The first time, a few years ago, the food was pretty good -- good enough so we went back a few months ago. This time, we were terribly disappointed. I didn't take notes, but I do remember that everything was very ordinary except for a dessert tart, which had a burned, garlicky off-note. We commented to the waitress, who pulled a face, but made no effort to give us something else or remove the offending item from the bill.

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Went there on Sunday for dinner, and had a wonderful meal. They start you off with hot from the oven buttermilk biscuits with your choice of butter or a peach apple spice jam (that's where the diet began to be thrown out the window). After reading the positive reviews on Citysearch, two of us ordered the crabcake appetizer, and two the pulled pork. Both were wonderful. The crabcakes were served over a "salad" of chopped tomato and cucumber in a vinaigrette, and the crabcakes were made with nice size chunks of fresh crabmeat. The pulled pork was served with homemade potato chips. It was excellent, with a good smoky flavor. For entrees, we had seared trout with a grilled corn salsa and shrimp, the "tongue smacking" ribs, and seared chilean sea bass with spinach and crispy shrimp grits. Everything was excellent, and they served the sides (mashed potatoes, green beans and collard greens) family style in the center. Dessert did not dissapoint either, and we had wild rice pudding, chocolate chip pecan pie, and apple cobbler--all were served with a small but decadent brownie on the side, and the check was presented with oatmeal raisin cookies. We ate about half of the desserts there, and the waitress cheerfully wrapped the rest up with the cookies and we took them to go, eating what was left while sitting in traffic in the car after the concert ended. Great meal, great show, great night!

Casey

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This sounds more like the first meal we had there rather than the disappointing second meal. Maybe we'll try again. I like the location, not far from the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

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This is refreshing. A thread that's mostly pro Jack McDavid.

In Philadelphia, Jack McDavid is like "Moxie" (a uniquely flavored soft drink found mainly in Maine). You either love him or you hate him. The "foodies" hereabouts tend to hate him - they can't get beyond the hog-jowl soup on Jack's menu. One Philadelphia columnist panned Jack's pulled pork in a column on a Wednesday. That Sunday Jack's pulled pork took first place at the North Carolina Barbecue Festival.

I've eaten there on a number of occasions. It's my showoff restaurant when I'm dragging visitors about. Jack's Firehouse has never let me down. I tend to tell the kitchen to send what they want, and we get a great taste of the menu. Just about everything comes from the region. Some of the growers sell only to Jack and Jack has started farming his own fish and produce too. I was there one time when a farmer stopped by with a van full of strawberries. The guy who was supposed to buy them bailed out and he was stuck. Jack took the whole van load just to help out the farmer. He does that a lot.

There was a time - alas no longer thanks to some rat finks who tipped off local authorites - the Firehouse basement resembled Sweeny Todd's. Talk about fresh. Jack once sent me out a plate of extremely fresh sauteed goats brains. Had to tip the waiter megabucks to get the brains to the dumpster without Jack knowing - brains are about the only part of the anatomy that I can not abide. My loss I'm sure, but...

Back when I was writing my column he was my hole card. Whenever I was stuck for a topic, I'd call Jack. We'd chat for a bit. And before I knew it I had a column. My favorite was when I took him on about Red Eye gravy. His is cream based. I called a number of deep south places to get their recipes - and their comments on a cream based red eye gravy. Jack stopped taking my calls for a while.

Here's a link to Jack McDavid in action, at the Blue Ridge BBQ Festival in North Carolina:

Jack Going Whole Hog

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With the love him/hate him comment, it sounds like Jack McDavid is to Philly as Bobby Flay is to Manhattan!

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With the love him/hate him comment, it sounds like Jack McDavid is to Philly as Bobby Flay is to Manhattan!

I wonder if people who dislike Bobby's food would like Jack's, and vice versa. They are pretty different. hmmm

I also like teh down Home Diner, but I haven't tried the Jack's Firehouse.

I got hooke don Jack's cooking when they had him on Chef de jour (am i remembering the right show name?) on TVFN. I used to geta kick out of him on grillin and chillin, but have never been a Bobby Flay fan.

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