Dive bar turned gastropub serves up great soul food.
Legendary Philadelphia music venue (and filthy dive bar) the Khyber was reborn a few months ago as the Khyber Pass Pub, serving up an array of cajun and southern food. The owners of Cantina Dos Segundos and Los Caballitos as well as the Royal Tavern have transformed this space into a model similar to their other restaurants: affordable large portions, plenty of vegan options and an extensive drink menu, in this case, playing host to 20 rotating beers on tap.
The sandwich menu offers the most bang for your buck; other options include hickory smoked barbeque ($14–18) and fried chicken ($15). The BBQ Beef Brisket and North Carolina–style BBQ pulled Pork sandwiches (both $10) showcase the hickory smoked barbeque and homemade sauces. The pulled pork packs a bit of a punch, but the spice is countered with the coleslaw that comes heaped on top. The brisket presented a different mix of flavors, the sweetness of its sauce cut by the accompanying horseradish. Both sandwiches came on soft brioche rolls that held up well given the large portions of juicy meat.
Thick–cut Benton’s bacon is the centerpiece of the Fried Green Tomato BLT ($10). Accompanied by a Tabasco remoulade and thick, cornmeal–encrusted green tomatoes, this dish was an interesting and effective take on the classic sandwich.
A large portion of the menu is made up of po’boys, the staple New Orleans sandwiches. The Half and Half ($15) featured fried oysters and shrimp dressed with lettuce, tomatoes, pickles and mayo on a long crusty roll. The shrimp were firm, with a crispy outer layer, but the oysters suffered, their cornmeal coating lacking the crispness of the shrimp’s.
The real stars of the menu seem to be the sides, almost all of which are vegetarian; you get the choice of any side with your sandwich order. The baked mac and cheese was rich with a crispy breadcrumb top. The fries were crispy and well-seasoned and the addition of smoked cheddar made for a classier version of cheese fries. The “big ass biscuits,” moist and buttery without being too dense, are the perfect accompaniment to a plate of barbecue.
Khyber is the perfect place to grab an inexpensive — and huge — meal after an an afternoon in Old City. The Pub has risen to the heights of its sister restaurants.
KHYBER PASS PUB
56 S. 2nd St.
Don’t Miss: BBQ Beef Brisket
Skip: The Half and Half