I’m not quite sure while I still bother labeling any of my reviews as happy hour ones because I inevitably order one half-priced drink, a small snack, and then three or four things that have absolutely nothing to do with a restaurant’s happy hour. It’s a curse. This holds especially true when I am dining at a place as mind-blowing as The Treemont, Chip Roman’s superb restaurant located right across the street from the very low-key Good Dog Bar.
I decided to stop in on a whim one day when I had intended to go to Vernick only to find it closed for the afternoon. If you’ve read my review of Vernick, you know that it’s one of my top choices in Philly. Therefore, I understandably fell into a deep depression, had no idea what to do with myself, and wandered around the city for hours feeling bereft. Well…that may be a bit of an exaggeration. In reality, I just turned right around and walked down to The Treemont to check out this spot that I had heard so many good things about.
Stepping in, the small bar was immediately visible in this minimalist, modern location. The whole place was practically empty though, so that was a bit of a red flag. As I sat down, I was provided with a menu and a bowl of complimentary Coriander and Fennel Seed Popcorn. This was much appreciated since free bar snacks have fallen out of favor in most places. It was doubly appreciated since it was so well seasoned and inhaled before I had finished my first cocktail. It was just the first taste of many to prove that the amount of customers filling a space have no bearing on quality.
In order to at least pretend that I was sticking to happy hour, I went for the discounted cocktail featuring rum, blood orange, lime, and ginger. I wasn’t sure what to expect because I’ve always been a bit apathetic to rum, but it was layered and a steal a six dollars. The best part was when my bartender told me that the happy hour cocktails change weekly, meaning that I would have an excuse to come in again.
Since I was trying some new cocktails and eventually switched to a dependable 2012 Roberto Ferraris Barbera d’Asti, I knew that I would have to eat something unless I wanted to crawl home. The first time I stopped in, I tried the Fermented Sweet Corn with Ricotta on Sourdough. This was their happy hour specialty snack, and it was such a great ode to the summer. It was surprisingly filling without feeling bogged down or overworked. The ricotta added a richness to the sweet corn and it was definitely a snack I wouldn’t mind ordering again.
Another snack I tried was the savory Deviled Hen Eggs that I’ve ordered every time since then. With duck confit and pickled mustard seeds, this small twist on the traditional egg was balanced, creamy, and just a bit tart. With just two egg halves on the dish, it was a perfect snack for one egg-lover. Both of these plates were impressive and started a love affair with The Treemont that I have yet to get over.
Since that first time, I’ve stopped into this restaurant to try dozens of things available on their bar and dinner menus. However, if you are only going to order one thing, let it be the phenomenal, artsy Cured Cobia. The bright colors on the plate just popped right out at me, and it only continued to impress after every bite. I’ve had oven roasted cobia at other restaurants, and it was okay though a bit bland, but curing this fish really seemed to be the way to make it firmly shine. There was texture, flavor, and color, and I honestly couldn’t think of any way to make it better. It felt light and fun without being pretentious, so it quickly became one of the best bites I’ve had all year.
I have yet to try one bad thing at The Treemont, and with the friendliest bartenders in Center City, it is easily one of the best dining experiences in Philly. The “new American” style provides enough variety for adventurous eaters while also offering up simpler options for people who like to eat inside the box. It’s been a few months since I’ve been in, but I plan on rectifying that as soon as possible. Even though this took entirely too long to write, I hope it encourages some of you Philly readers to check this gem out. It’s perfect for a date night; it’s great for a quick bite, and it is guaranteed to satisfy. If you’re looking for something new to try or searching for a new favorite, look no further than The Treemont.