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Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Awesomeness Alert: Duck Fat Potato Chips at the Franklin

Update: the food has changed at the Franklin, now supervised by the folks at Supper, there's a wider variety, but sadly, no more duck fat chips... 

We tend to shorthand the real name of this place, just calling it The Franklin, but just to be clear: no, we don't mean the Franklin Fountain ice cream parlor, we're talking about the cocktail bar named the Franklin Mortgage and Investment Company.

You could be excused for confusing the retro design of both places, and the and fashion sense of their respective employees, but their products are pretty different. Although... I wouldn't be opposed to seeing what would happen if they joined forces...

The real reason to come to the Franklin Mortgage and Investment Company is for the cocktails. In what has become a pleasingly creative cocktail scene here in Philly, The Franklin can probably still be considered the top spot in town, although spirited competition is being provided by Village Whiskey, Chick's, Southwark and APO, as well as the bars at Noble, Oyster House and a few others.

All of these places have strong points, and I might prefer any of them at any given moment, but the Franklin has the largest original cocktail list, an impressive collection of spirits, and consistent talent behind the stick. Not only are the bartenders extremely knowledgeable, but the servers are too: in fact most times your servers are the bartenders, they tend to cycle out from behind the bar onto the floor, so you can get the same advice and personal attention out at a table as you can sitting at the tiny bar. There are many very interesting cocktails on the menu, but even better, this crew has a seemingly limitless repertoire of recipes old and new, so don't be reluctant to have them make you something not on the list. They're good with the classics, and perhaps even better coming up with something surprising and new based on your likes and dislikes, maybe even your mood at the moment.

Strangely, the excellent cocktails aren't the reason I'm posting an Awesomeness Alert. When the bar first opened, we were chronically longing for salty snacks, in fact there was no food at all. There's still not much, but now you can actually get a respectable cheese plate, some crazy-spicy nuts, or the subject of this alert: Duck-fat fried potato chips.

Potatoes, salt, duck fat. What could be bad about that? Oh, right, the duck fat french fries a couple blocks west at Whiskey Village are weirdly disappointing, unless buried under shortribs and cheese. But I'm happy to report that these potato chips are everything you wished WV's french fries were: perfectly crisp, assertively salty, and shrouded with a mysterious cloud of duck-fueled richness. They're also dangerously addictive. So, I'm sorry for telling you about them: your fat and salt intake levels are very likely going to spike in the near future.

$5 for a few ounces of chips might seem extreme, but you'll think it's worth it, and probably order another bowl, even though your cardiologist would probably recommend stopping at one. They're pretty great on their own, and somehow they make the drinks taste even better. Not that we really needed any encouragement to drink more at the Franklin...

The Franklin Mortgage and Investment Company
112 South 18th St (between Sansom and Chestnut)

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