Saturday, November 05, 2011

Couch Tomato Café and Bistro in Philadelphia, Pa.

When I first got started here at The Brew Lounge way back in the year 2005, I set out to write as many reviews (full reviews, not the Tweet types that seem to have gained popularity these days) of high quality beer joints around the country, focusing, of course, first on the Philadelphia region.

That was a tall order back then, but one that I didn't consider completely out of my reach. Of course, I knew I could never hit 'em all, but I enjoyed discovering and sharing as much as I could.

But times certainly have changed. A restaurant without at least a few decent beers in a bottle or on tap is leaving money on the sidewalk. Here in Philadelphia, the rich have only got richer.

So it turns out that the Couch Tomato Café has been around since 2003, says its website. I'd recalled hearing of it a few years back when either Philadelphia Magazine or a local beer writer mentioned it.

Trouble is, we don't get to Manayunk that much anymore. I'd lived there for approximately 16 months or so back in my early 20s. Even then, going out on Main Street was not always on the top of list.

So when Patty and I took the day off from work on Friday and drove in to the city, we pulled off at the Manayunk exit and began to make the long way in to the city figuring we'd have lunch at the first place that grabbed our attention. We didn't want to make it one of the "usuals".

Driving down Main Street is when it dawned on me that Couch Tomato might make sense. And, boy, did it make sense.

They've apparently continued to grow in popularity through the years, so much so that they've added the Couch Tomato Bistro on the second and third floors.

The solid beer list allowed us to have a couple of Allagash Whites and Heavy Seas Loose Cannon to go with our lunch. The draft beer was served up fresh-tasting and by a knowledgeable server.

The menu concept here is basically small sharing plates, salads, and pizzas.

After being greeted with a small sample of pumpkin bisque while we perused the menu, we opted for Crispy Artichokes, Pulled Pork Sliders, Crab Crepe, and Strozzapretti Pasta.

I'm thinking that this experience may kick start some establishment reviews here at The Brew Lounge with a focus on the highest quality ones also over at The Washington Times Communities column.

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