With the help of some friends, I worked my way around most of the vegetarian offerings of Fishtown's industrial beer den, Kraftwork, the new sister bar to Graduate Hospital's much-loved The Sidecar Bar and Grille. It's not hard to work your way around the menu, since it's on the small side, and even briefer if you cut out the meat.A huge bowl of thin-cut garlic and herb fries with mustard aioli were just the sort of thing to pair with a drink — try one of their 25 rotating beers on tap or one of their 6 specialty cocktails.
Ricotta dumplings covered with roasted red pepper harissa sauce were light with the first bite, then became a chore.
Squishy falafel balls brought down the lone veggie main. A side of sweet and wet apple and cabbage slaw was so large we suffered fatigue.
For brunch, there are no veggie meat substitutes, so you'll be paying full price for that egg and cheese biscuit minus the meat.
All of the dishes above were just fine, but nothing to write home about — or include a picture of. There is one item on the menu that I would like to write home about, though — the vegetable board.Kudos to Kraftwork for creatively and beautifully revamping the boring veggie humus plate into something wholly unrecognizable as such, and creating something simply delicious. If it weren't for this dish, I'd say skip Kraftwork if you're hungry, but I enjoyed the vegetable board so much I made a return visit.
Down the center of the board is a colorful line of seasonal vegetables (and perhaps not so seasonal, but who doesn't love a Brussels sprout or asparagus spear year round?) cooked until just tender, but still snappy, with nothing more than a little salt to bring out nature's flavors. Brussels sprouts, asparagus, beets, roasted red peppers, baby carrots, radishes, and green beans are represented. On a previous visit sweet corn payed a visit.
In the top right corner is a square of roasted eggplant and squash terrine topped with tomato sauce and tofu ricotta tasting like the healthiest cold lasagna you've ever eaten.
The nutty, white sesame puree is a tad salty, but is just right paired with the large wedges of olive oil and rosemary-brushed crispy flat bread.The piece de resistance is the slab of seared faux gras siting in the lower left corner. Faux gras! Did you catch that? Cute, huh?
Chickpeas, butter, garlic, and truffle oil go into the faux gras, and it is just about the tastiest chickpea puree I've ever had. My guess is that it's the butter that's so delicious, which brings us to a little problem . . .
If it weren't for the butter in the faux gras, vegans could go to town on the vegetable board, which, really, like a traditional hummus plate should have their name all over it. Maybe Kraftwork can whip up a tiny batch of vegan faux gras so as not to deny any diners, because this vegetable board is at the top of my list of best veggie humus plates ever.
Yes, I said ever.
541 E. Girard Ave, Philadelphia. PA 19125
Sat-Sun: 10:30am-2am, brunch 10:30-3pm