Phillies food reviewed: Hits and a whiff

Poutine, served in a batting helmet, is fries topped with cheese curds, gravy and bacon.
Poutine, served in a batting helmet, is fries topped with cheese curds, gravy and bacon. (MICHAEL KLEIN / Philly.com)
Posted: June 13, 2014

WHEN the 2012 Phillies season ended, the Ol' Phoodista thought he'd seen the last of a Citizens Bank Park concession stand (journalistically speaking, that is).

But earlier this spring, word got back to me here at Phoodphair, my palatial estate on the banks of Pennypack Creek, that the Phillies were introducing a slew of new dishes to the CBP menu. And, like the old fire horse who still wants to chase blazes at the sound of the alarm, I knew I had no choice but to enter the Phillie Phoodie phray one more time.

We limited our phindings to a selection of newly offered munchies, eschewing existing items. So, grab some silverware and a napkin or three, and dig in!

Pastrami Special

By far the nicest surprise at the ballpark. Right off the bat, The Phoodinator was shocked - shocked, I tell you - that I was not handed a premade sandwich, but actually watched it being assembled. And what a concoction it is: three thick slices of meat topped with cold, not-too-mayonnaise-y coleslaw and Thousand Island dressing pressed between two pieces of surprisingly fresh and tasty rye bread, accompanied by a crisp pickle slice.

While the perfectly steamed meat may taste a tad bland to those of us weaned on the spicier Jewish-deli version, this still rivals anything you'd find in such an establishment.

FIND IT AT: Alley Brewing Company (Ashburn Alley)

PRICE: $13

PHINAL SCORE: TRIPLE

Over Easy Burger

As my server noted, this is also known as a "California burger." Whatever you call it, it's quite tasty.

The moniker comes from the fried egg that crowned a sizable, flavorful and perfectly cooked-to-order Angus beef hamburger decorated with pepper jelly, oven-dried tomato and barbecue sauce. All that goodness sat between two halves of a bakery-fresh brioche roll. The combined flavors were exceptionally harmonic.

FIND IT AT: Harry The K's

PRICE: $13.50

PHINAL SCORE: TRIPLE

Cheesesteak Dog

On the one hand, this is kind of a no-brainer: We love hot dogs and we love, love, love cheesesteaks. But pairing our two loves? We were skeptical at first.

Very simply, you have chopped steak and Cheez Whiz on a regulation stadium hot dog bun with a frank placed on top. What makes it greater than the sum of its parts is that the dog adds a nice, firm texture that blends well with the meat and our beloved molten cheese.

FIND IT AT: Philly Frank and Stein (Section 133)

PRICE: $7

PHINAL SCORE: DOUBLE

PEI Mussels

My first order was the worst experience the Pharaoh of Phoodiedelphia has ever had at Citizens Bank Park. Four of the dozen or so Prince Edward Island mussels I sampled were all horribly undercooked. They were so awful that I lost my taste for the rest. Instead of requesting a new order, I sent them back and had them removed from the bill.

But I returned on a different day and tried again, and while I still found them a tad too underdone for my taste, they were certainly good enough, thanks to the accompanying subtle, shallots-craft-beer-and-bacon broth.

FIND IT AT: Harry The K's (Leftfield Concourse)

PRICE: $9

PHINAL SCORE: DOUBLE

Poutine

They say this is a comfort-food staple in Canada, and hey, who are we to argue? The question is: Why?

That, at least, is the takeaway from this version, which features rather tasteless french fries doused in an assertive brown gravy with small helpings of bacon and cheese curd thrown on top. The main effect is, well, brown gravy on fries. Meh.

Besides, gravy adds exponentially to the soggification (OK, smarty pants, how would you put it?) of the spuds.

As for cheese curd, hey, who am I? Little Miss freakin' Muffet?

The only novel thing about this dish is that it's served in a blue plastic batting helmet that's yours to keep.

FIND IT AT: Harry The K's

PRICE: $9

PHINAL SCORE: STRIKE OUT

( See graphic.)


 

@chuckdarrow

Blog: philly.com/Casinotes.

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