Food Review

Food, Booze, and Concert Review – Percy Street BBQ + The Frames Live at the TLA

The kids were away, so Mom and Dad get to go out and play! This was the plan… Friday night on South Street in Philly. Dinner at Percy Street BBQ. See The Frames play live at The TLA. I was looking forward to some good BBQ because I have been on a “boring food” diet since returning from our week aboard the Norwegian Pearl, and we were REALLY looking forward to seeing The Frames again because they always put on a great show (we saw them at the TLA in April of 2007). Let’s see if the evening lived up to our expectations…

Dinner at Percy Street BBQ

When we arrived at 6PM, the dining room wasn’t very busy. Although we had a reservation, we most likely didn’t need it since we were seated immediately. Our waitress gave us a brief explanation about the menu and then left us to make some decisions. Below are our options.

Beer and Drinks Menu

We decided to start with two drinks. The wife had a Half-N-Half (1/2 gin, 1/2 lemonade, 1/2 sweet tea. That makes 3/2. New math perhaps???) while I went with a Dale’s Pale Ale which is quickly becoming one of my go-to beers.

For our appetizer, we chose the Macaroni and Cheese which looked like this:

For our entrees, we both went with the Double Down option. The wife ordered the ribs, beef brisket, glazed carrots, and pinto beans. I decided to have the house-made sausage, pulled pork, coleslaw, and collared greens. Since the meats are not cooked with BBQ sauce, we had hot, sweet, or tangy sauces to choose from.

BBQ Sauce Options

Beef Brisket, Ribs, Carrots, & Beans

Pulled Pork, Sausage, Collared Greens, and Coleslaw

Our meal at Percy Street BBQ had it’s highs and lows. Here’s how everything stacked up:

  • Drinks: The Half-N-Half had way too much gin for my wife’s taste, and there didn’t appear to be much sweet tea in her drink based upon it’s very pale color. It’s wasn’t a bad drink, but it probably would have been better with a more neutral spirit (i.e. rum or vodka). The Dale’s Pale Ale was as expected… crisp, hoppy but not too hoppy, and very very drinkable. The Half-N-Half gets a C. Dale’s Pale Ale gets a B+ (it gets an A on draught).
  • Macaroni and Cheese: This was one of the high points of the meal. Firm pasta, smooth and creamy cheese sauce , crisp topping. B+ from the both of us.
  • Meats and Side Dishes: The  beef brisket was by far the best of the four meats. It was smoky, moist, and could be enjoyed with or without any BBQ sauce. We give the brisket an A-. The pulled pork and ribs were a distant second. They were good, but not very memorable. We give them a C+/B-. The sausage was the least enjoyable. I thought the casing was overly tough and the meat wasn’t very flavorful. All I tasted was smoke. I give it a D. I didn’t try the carrots or beans so I can’t give them a rating. The coleslaw and collared greens weren’t very memorable, so I’m giving them a C+.

Obviously, we were a bit disappointed by Percy Street BBQ. Other than the macaroni and cheese and the beef brisket, everything else was average at best. There are two things that would have improved the dining experience:

  1. There was a considerable lag between the appetizer and entree portions of our meal. Since most, if not all, of our meal was prepared in advance, I don’t understand what took them so long to bring them out. I suspect that the wait staff is to blame for the lag, since our entrees could have been warmer, and were most likely sitting there for awhile waiting for pick-up.
  2. We would have had an easier time sampling each others selections if they had been presented on a platter, rather than individually wrapping each meat in paper and piling them in a basket. There wasn’t enough room on the table to open everything up.

To be fair, there are three reasons that I would consider going back for a second try:

  1. The macaroni and cheese.
  2. More of the beef brisket
  3. The extensive bourbon and rye whiskey selections.

The place has potential, but it’s just not there yet. Overall, we would give Percy Street BBQ a C+.

The Frames Live at The TLA

After a brief stroll on South Street and a quick coffee break at Starbucks, we lined up at 7:30PM outside The TLA. It was a Standing/General Admission show, so prime seating at the bar or space near the stage was “first come, first serve”. There is a bar area to the left of the stage that usually fills up quickly because (a) you can order drinks throughout the show, (b) you can actually sit on a stool, and (c) you are slightly elevated and have a great view of the stage. It looks like Friday was our lucky night because we had our choice of seats by the wall which separates the bar area from the theater floor. Since it looked like there was an excessively tall crowd on hand for the show, being slightly elevated and having a seat was a good thing.

I’m not exactly sure how we started listening to The Frames, but it probably started when we saw the lead singer and founder (Glen Hansard) perform with his other group called The Swell Season. They were the opening act for Damien Rice when we saw him at the Tower Theater in December of 2006. In 2006, The Frames released their last studio album (The Cost), which was followed by a tour in early 2007. Though I didn’t warm up to them immediately, seeing them perform live in 2007 changed everything!

Friday night’s concert marked the kick-off of the North American leg of their 20th Anniverary Tour. The band took the stage at 10PM (Jake Clemons, the opening act, played from 9 to 9:40.) and performed for a solid two hours. There are plenty of bands that perform well in front of an audience, but it is rare to see a band that looks like they are actually having a good time (Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band also comes to mind). There was a great deal of interaction between the band and the audience, and at one point, they even pulled someone on stage to sing a Bob Dylan song.

I could go on and on about how great the show was, but frankly, I’m not a music critic, so I’ll leave that kind of work to the professionals. The wife and I give The Frames and their Friday night concert a very enthusiastic A+! If they happen to be playing in your hometown, make a point to try and see them. You won’t be disappointed!

But wait… there’s more! Here are two videos that I was able to record during the concert, plus one from someone else. Cheers!

4 replies »

  1. BBQ Sauces named Sweet Thang, Hot Mess, and Old Faithful ….. reminds me of my college dating history!!

    All before I met the Wookette of my dreams, of course.


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