August 8, 2012

A Look at Lemon Hill in Fairmount

We’re big fans of Supper, where Philadelphia chef Mitch Prensky cooks up an excellent American-style menu that we recommend all the time. So when Prensky opened Lemon Hill in Fairmount earlier this year we knew it was on our hit list of new places to try.

House made pretzels
Lemon Hill is more gastropub-ish than Supper so this would be your place if you are looking for that type of vibe. You can choose from two seating areas - the bar with high top tables or the more private dining section. We typically prefer the more casual bar section, but it was filled so we settled for the dining area.

The prices are very reasonable, averaging about $10 - $15 for sandwiches and large plates with a solid beer list to accompany them. I’ve been on a Negroni kick lately, though, and Lemon Hill served up one the best, which I’ll attribute to Prensky again partnering with the cocktail specialists at The Franklin Mortgage & Investment Co.

The food was above average, but not Supper-good. The house-made pretzels, which we love at Supper, were not up to the same standard and lacked that doughy fresh-out-of-the-oven feeling. The sweet sauce was good, but I prefer the kick of a good dijon.

We also tried a special octopus appetizer upon recommendation from the waiter. It was the highlight of the night. We could have used more bread to soak up its spicy sauce, though. (I’m beginning to think bread costs have increased because this has been a common occurrence lately...). We didn't try the California Roll Crab Dip off the list of "firsts" because it sounded like a tourist trap, but watching it en route to other tables made us regret that assumption. Next time.

Catfish sandwich
I went with the double decker catfish sandwich for my main dish and would recommend it. The catfish was flaky and had a perfectly fried crust. The spicy sauce stood out too.

Kristy went with the shrimp and grits, which she thought tasted very good and worked well as a fairly light dinner option but would have been easier to eat if the heads weren't still on the shrimp. We know that's the fancy way of doing things, but honestly they just get in the way.

The menu has other intriguing options to try next time such as pastrami fried chicken wings or a classic patty melt.

Shrimp and grits
Overall, Lemon Hill is more than solid, but Supper is still tops in the Prensky empire.

On a side note, the Fairmount section of Philadelphia has become a mini-hot spot to open a restaurant in recent months with Lemon Hill, La Calaca Feliz and BlueCat recently added. We ended up checking out the first two in the same weekend. Stay tuned for our next Fairmount post to see if we agree with Craig Laban and his rave reviews for La Calaca Feliz.

Lemon Hill on Urbanspoon

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