Sarah and I love tapas. Eating samples from multiple plates is our favorite way to eat. You can relax, take your time and enjoy the food, what you’re drinking and good conversation. A number of months ago we tried Bar Ferdinand in Northern Liberties. It was great and it had just opened recently. We went back a week ago and had an equally great, if not better experience.
First off, Bar Ferdinand is open late. They serve dinner until midnight and the bar is open until 2AM. What’s more, they have a late-night happy hour between 9PM and 11PM. Normally, this means $3 sangrias and $4 draught beers. The beer selection is very good, featuring Belgians and microbrews. The wine list is extensive with a nice amount of selections by the glass. One of the things we miss about New York is the ability to get good meals late in the evening. Bar Ferdinand satisfies this need for us.
On to the food.
We started with a meat plate and a cheese plate. The meats were Serrano Ham and various types of chorizo. The cheeses were also fresh and flavorful (don’t remember what they were. damn you Beneluxx) and served with olive tapenade and quince paste. Both were served with crusty bread.
Next came the Albondigas, meatballs made from lamb, beef and pork dipped in almonds in a sherry sauce. They were tender and moist with a nice texture from the almonds. I would’ve liked the sherry sauce to stand up a bit better to the meat but overall a nice dish. This was followed by one of our favorites, Patatas Bravas. Crispy fried potatoes in a spicy tomato sauce drizzled with a bit of aioli. The sauce is ever so sweet followed by a nice spice at the finish. We can’t get enough of this dish.
Next came Pixin con pancetta and Carne a parilla. The former is three skewers of monkfish and roasted pork belly, a dreamy combination if there every was one. The smokiness of the pork is cut nicely by the shellfish-like qualities of the monk fish. Both meats were done perfectly. The Carne a parilla is a medium rare skirt steak with a fried egg, topped off by shaved truffles. The steak was done perfectly. I think our egg was a bit overdone and I thought it was hard to taste the truffles in most bites. Enjoyable certainly, but it could’ve been transcendent.
For dessert, Sarah had the churros with dipping chocolate. They are perfectly fried sticks of dough that you dip in a small pot of high quality chocolate. I had the lemon cream cannolis. While flavorful, the cream had melted all over the plate so the presentation and ease eating was compromised a bit. We had our dessert with our favorite brandy, Cardenal Mendoza. It is a dark Spanish brandy with strong overtones of raisin and brown sugar/molasses. We were introduced to this brandy at Bar Ferdinand the last time and we are hooked. We keep a bottle at home when we can afford it.
There are plenty of gluten free and non dairy selections on the menu. So, folks with allergies can be fairly easily accommodated.
Overall, Bar Ferdinand is a wonderful place to go. Good food, good drink and good relaxed atmosphere. It has been our best small eats experience in Philadelphia.
[where: 1030 N 2nd St, Philadelphia, PA 19123]