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brescd01

Midatlantic

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After the initial mishap of having gone to Midtlantic on Sunday (the restaurant changed its web site after I went, I swear), I went there last night to let off some steam.

First of all, let me say the bar was not at all crowded so I don't know how the staff would perform under pressure. But the service was impeccable and the decor is very classy, call this a sports bar for grown-ups.

I had salad with potatoes, fried oysters, and root beer sticky buns.

Everything was high quality but the restaurant has a few issues. First, there are enough unusual terms on the menu, used unusual ways, that they need a glossery. The concept is "Old Dutch" and what they mean by things is not at all obvious. For example, my "salad with potatoes" was a mixture of greens with fried potatoes, so that what I wanted to be a light snack was actually a very heavy filling meal, and not in a good way. The dessert looked normal, but trust me, it was enough for 4 people. No one can eat that much sugar. And the fried oysters were enough for a meal (fried foods are really, really filling apparently, I guess that is why we are always asking about fried foods at the obesity practice I work at). They were spectacular, certainy the best fried oysters I have ever had (though I admit I have not had many, mostly those awful Mrs Paul's kind I think).

What I got and what I wanted were two different things. I assume that the rest of the menu is similarly kooky but I could be wrong.

I have strange wishes: it is in an odd location on Market at the corner with 37th. I want it to succeed but not so as I can never get in there. I think it is yet another classy bar to add to Philly's collection, along the lines of Village Whiskey or (RIP and sorely missed) Brasserrie Perrier. Nice televisions by the way, a lovely place to watch a game.

Small things: I asked for the volume of the game to be turned down and the manager lowered the volume and checked with us to make sure it was okay. Did everything taste better as a result? I will be back, if only to crack the code of the crazy menu!

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I went there the day after it opened and I found the service to be really good. The bread we first got was little cheese rolls, and our second basket was herb biscuit-like things. Both were delicious, as was the butter they brought. The apple fritters were not apple fritters. There may have been apple in the batter, but it tasted more like an onion pakora than anything vaguely hinting at apple to me. It was good, but not apple fritters. The hot dog special was pretty good, the fries were delicious but an odd shape for dipping in sauces. The crab scrapple was disappointing, as it was basically a filler-heavy crabcake. I dont know what I was expecting, but that's what it tasted like.

Beer list was great, though, so I will probably make this a common bar stop and maybe hit some of the snacks that I didn't have stomach-room for.

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Jese, Vadouvan, I thought I wrote a flattering review and you make me feel like a heal. Am I allowed to say anything negative or is that off limits?


Edited by brescd01 (log)

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Two chef friends of mine ate at Midatlantic and found the service to be very good, but the heavy emphasis on PA Dutch cuisine to make for a very vinegar heavy menu. Vinegary potato salad, vinegar based sauces, and Pickles, Pickles and more Pickles makes for way too much reliance on "SOUR" as a flavor element with not much to balance it. Not to mention the awful effect it had on their wine they were attempting to enjoy with their dinner. I'll be happy to check it out after they've had some time to work out the menu and perhaps find some other flavor profiles to include on the menu that aren't at odds with the wine list. Right now it just sounds like acid reflux waiting to happen...


Edited by KatieLoeb (log)

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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That is so funny, I did have indigestion, I thought it was all the fried foods!

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It was probably both. Too much acid + greasy fried food sounds like a recipe for disaster if one has a sensitive system or active case of GERD, as I do. Should I make it over to MidAtlantic I'll likely order a salad, dressing on the side... :rolleyes:


Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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I went tonight and was not overly impressed. The concept is cool, but the actual experience wasn't the best. Everything we had was fine on the first bite or so. Then as you ate it, it got less appealing. The farmhouse salad was OK. I got the fried clams and salsify; another had the clam scrapple 'wich; another had the roast chicken. I also had the rumspringa drink. Peach buckle for dessert. I too came home with a tummy ache and none of us were impressed enough to go back.

My personal peeve this evening wasn't the service per se, which was erratic due to it being a pretty full house on a Friday at 7pm, but the GM. It's not a huge deal, but it rubbed me the wrong way. Here's what went down. The table next to us clearly were VIPs. I was close enough to hear one of them say something like "It's good sometimes to be a producer of Top Chef!" and he joked that he hadn't brought Padma, etc. He said this twice, so I assume it was probably true. Cool! They got some custom dishes sent over, etc. And the GM was all over them. Again, fine.

But after they left, I was curious, so I asked GM if he could tell me who they were. Now, if he'd just said something like, "Well, I really shouldn't say...," I would have understood and been fine with it. But he kinda smarmed around and said, well, he likes to talk to all the tables and he just got into banter with them, etc. It was clearly BS and a turn off.

Just my experience...

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I just read an outstanding list of "rules" servers should follow, in the NYTimes, which can be found here:

http://boss.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/10/29/one-hundred-things-restaurant-staffers-should-never-do-part-one/?em

I did not have any qualms about Midatlantic's service from my first visit, though during my expensive second meal there last night, not once did anyone ask me, sincerely, what was wrong. There was the perfunctory question, but the server did not inquire to find out why I was unhappy. The virtues I had appreciated on my fist visit had receded and all I could see were flaws, which other people have alluded to.

My raw oysters were warm and tasted too much of iodine (what causes that?). Fondue just okay. Oyster stew way too creamy. Smith's cake nothing special. But the main problems were the disappointing (and expensive) oysters and the menu that, like my last visit, defies understanding and is really hard to order from due to unfamiliar and undefined terms, or unusual usages, so that one moment you are hungry and then suddenly you are nauseous. Also, as someone pointed out, way too much of one flavor.

I am disappointed mostly because I really wanted Midatlantic to succeed. It is in an easy-to-get-to location and it has a classy set-up. But I find hard to believe they are going to get far with this menu.

$87/person not including quarters for the meter.


Edited by brescd01 (log)

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