For 20 years, David Letterman has made us laugh when he or a guest recites the Top-10. Americans love lists and some of us cannot wait to read about “the best” new restaurant, bar, specialty store, etc.
Last week, I came across a site proclaiming the 20 new restaurants we should be going to now. I clicked on it and the site mentioned a place called Jerry’s Bar.
I had never heard of it. With a name like that, it could be anywhere in the city. I even wondered whether it was a full-scale establishment. Jerry’s Bar is located in Northern Liberties and it is, indeed, a restaurant.
As soon as we walked in, I realized it could be a neighborhood place anywhere in the city. The bi-level restaurant has black wooden tables and chairs, a marble-topped bar, lots of brown wood trim, hanging lights and a modern chandelier.
Edward and I sat at the bar and perused the menu. The bartender told us it opened in May. She gave us crisp linen napkins and table settings.
I ordered a Negroni ($10.50) simply because I savored this cocktail last month at Paradiso. It is a mix of gin, sweet vermouth and Compari topped with an orange twist. Edward sipped a Bluecoat martini ($12) as we decided on appetizers.
Meatballs ($8.50), bathed in a fresh, homemade tomato sauce, arrived in a small cast-iron skillet. They had a slightly creamy texture inside and although tasty, they could have been hotter. Toasted Italian bread was included for dipping.
I cannot remember the last time I ordered chicken wings ($9), but wanted to sample them at Jerry’s Bar. A pile of small, yet meaty wings were coated in a slightly spicy barbecue sauce that hit the spot. The requisite cool carrot and celery sticks along with a ramekin of homemade blue cheese dressing were included in the appetizer.
Sandwiches and platters are on the bill of fare. I wanted to try the burger ($11) because I am still on a quest for a truly good one. Since last December, the burgers I have enjoyed were served at Devil’s Den and For Pete’s Sake. This one was seared and served medium-rare. A farmhouse cheddar was crumbled on top rather than sliced, so it did not melt at all. I also found the cheese to be salty. A slice of red ripe tomato and a thick leaf of cool, crisp Boston lettuce topped the burger. I also enjoyed the soft bun, which, thank goodness, did not impart any sweet taste. A mound of crisp fresh mixed greens, properly dressed, made me quite content. No bagged, soggy mesclun is served here.
Edward loves fried fish so he ordered the haddock sandwich ($12) served on Texas toast. Although the fish was flavorful and not-at-all greasy, some tartar sauce would have played off nicely here. Since there is a choice of either salad or french fries, Edward went for the potatoes. They were too salty and could have been crisper. Both of us have been disappointed in the french fries we have tried in many restaurants throughout the city. I just may add them to my burger quest.
From the side dishes, we selected green beans almandine ($6) and the stuffed tomato ($4). When was the last time you saw green beans topped with toasted slivered almonds on a menu? They were freshly prepared with haricot vert, slightly al dente, with a scattering of toasted almonds and bathed in olive oil. The tomato was a bit soggy and there was much too much cheese and breadcrumbs and virtually no herbs were used during its preparation.
Jerry’s Bar has a fine list of beers on tap and wines by the glass. Roses are very popular now and I enjoyed a glass of Columbelle ($7) from the Gascone region of France so much, I want to serve it at home. It imparted a dry, light crisp flavor with little sweetness.
A glass of classic Vino Verde ($7) from Portugal, which makes for a fine light picnic wine, is rarely seen on a wine list these days.
Jerry’s Bar could be anywhere and is a fine addition to the Northern Liberties neighborhood.
Three tips of the toque to Jerry’s Bar. SPR
129 W. Laurel St.
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