Four years ago, cousin Carl discovered Cavanaugh’s near Rittenhouse Square. We enjoyed a delightful dinner there and I have returned on numerous occasions for a good burger lunch or jumbo salad.
Several months ago, a waiter told me the owners of Cavanaugh’s were taking over the Dark Horse in Headhouse Square.
Edward and I looked forward to dinner on a cold evening. The transition from the Dark Horse to Cavanaugh’s Headhouse Square remains a work in progress as the old sign is still on the building, as well as the bill receipt. The menu, however, had the Cavanaugh’s name.
We climbed a long flight of stairs to the dining room where a gentleman pointed out the blackboard specials: A choice of roast beef, roast turkey or roast pork for $12.95.
“Roast beef sounds good to me,” I said. “I can’t look at turkey for quite a while.”
We decided to join the revelers in the bar during happy hour and sipped perfectly-prepared cocktails: A martini ($9) for Edward and a Rob Roy ($12) for me. The menu includes a few of Cavanaugh’s favorites but I wanted to try the new dishes. These are happy-hour prices by the way.
Sausage rolls ($7.99) brought me right back to London. Seasoned pork was wrapped in delicate puff pastry and baked in the oven. Edward and I liked the combination of flavors and textures in this appetizer. Two large rolls came with the order along with a good size mound of salad greens dressed in a light vinaigrette.
I don’t recall whether Cavanaugh’s near Rittenhouse Square serves mussels ($6.99), but I had to try them.There was a choice of red or white sauce. A large bowl of gleaming, squeaky clean mussels bathed in a slightly milky garlic broth brightened my evening. They were perfectly steamed and not one bit chewy. Two large slices of hot garlic bread came with the dish. This was a meal in itself.
I always enjoyed Cavanaugh’s onion soup, but decided to sample New England clam chowder ($6.99). This rich soup was prepared with onions, potatoes and clams swimming in creamy broth, which was so downright warming and delicious, it rivaled any chowder I have tried in Boston.
Now on to the roast beef: Since our dinner took place a week after Thanksgiving, I craved meat. The beef was roasted rare to medium-rare and was so tender, I could have cut it with a butter knife. A rich, brown sauce topped the beef and was a fine tasty foil for the Yorkshire pudding that came with dinner. A small mound of roasted potatoes and asparagus rounded out the platter. Edward and I shared it since two large slices of meat were included.
Cavanaugh’s reminded me of the many pubs Edward and I have enjoyed in London. Cavanaugh’s is warm and cozy, complete with dart board, a friendly knowledgeable bar tender and a group of regular customers who come in for dinner or a drink.
It was obvious that care was taken in each dish we enjoyed. The ingredients were fresh and properly seasoned and the portions most generous.
Three tips of the toque to Cavanaugh’s.
421 S. Second St.
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