Friday, April 16, 2010
Despite some relatively kind words in the past, I was never really a huge fan of Red Bamboo's fake meat food. I'm not against vegetarian and vegan fare in general - quite the contrary - but I'm much less a fan of "this vegetable protein has been mushed into a shape that looks and almost tastes like something similar to beef!" But that didn't mean I was happy when Red Bamboo closed up shop. It was a really great space, despite what seemed like a constant basketball game on their projector, and I had absolutely zero complaints about their bar.
I knew Red Bamboo had departed, but I'd apparently overlooked the fact that there's now a great new soul food-ish place as a replacement. I'd actually set out the other night to try the newly re-opened Kif, but their inability to take credit cards led me across the street to try Poppa's Place for the very first time.
The space isn't markedly different from Red Bamboo, but they have made a few changes, pretty much all for the better. Gone is the incessant basketball on projector, for instance. It's not terribly well-lit, but it makes for a pretty cozy feel even if it also makes for a difficult place to take decent pictures.
The bar is as well-stocked as ever (Woodford Reserve bourbon is always a good sign) and like Red Bamboo they offer a good selection of specialty cocktails. Now, I'm not usually one for these kinds of liquor shenanigans, but Poppa's Place won me over in two ways. First, all of their specialty drinks are named after local streets - The Lafayette, The Waverly, etc - which is pretty cool. Second, the first two drinks I saw had Maker's Mark in them. Nice.
We tried a few different ones, but by far our favorite was the peach iced tea with Maker's Mark and muddled lemon. Seriously, if you do nothing else this summer, stop in to Poppa's Place and try this drink while sitting in the sun outside. I promise you won't regret it.
The food turned out to be as good as the drinks. It's a soul food restaurant with some really clever twists on a few classics. They do have a basket of buttermilk fried chicken, which was extremely tempting and I'll be trying soon enough.
We started with a veggie tower that had deep fried eggplant, squash, and gruyere among other things (they don't have a full menu online, so I can't look it up). Accompanied by both green chili and tahini dips, it was a great little appetizer, though I think next time I'll get something more veggie and a little less fried.
We both tried specials for our entrees, Olivia the red snapper served over a rice pilaf, and me with a BBQ pulled pork sandwich served on a brioche roll. Yeah, you read that right.
Here's the snapper. It was tasty, and in the absence of the pork sandwich, probably would have been scored very good. The problem was that while she was eating, she was staring at this:
A pulled pork sandwich on a brioche roll with apple cider vinegar barbecue sauce and a side of red cabbage slaw? Yes, please. It's really good. If they have it the night you're there, order it. That's all I have to say.
For a restaurant that seems to have sprung up out of nowhere, Poppa's Place has rocketed towards the top of my list of favorites. I imagine it'll be one of my favorite hangouts this summer, and I can't wait to try the rest of the menu.
271 Adelphi St.