Around the corner from Philadelphia’s bustling business district and historic Rittenhouse Square is the quaint and cozy Black Sheep. For almost a decade this Irish pub has made businessman, sorority girls, hipsters, and debutantes feel at home with plenty of great beers and fine food. Complimenting the good grub is the intimate feel of this restored three-story colonial townhouse. The Black Sheep’s owners have worked hard to keep the antique bars and fireplace as legit as possible, even when you've got at a plasma screen for Sunday sports watching.
Although it’s always had good food, the Black Sheep has returned to its roots in recent months. Chef Edgar Alvarez recently returned to the Black Sheep eight years after opening the restaurant to critical and customer satisfaction. Close friends of owner James Stephens, Alvarez has brought back his gourmet-inspired pub dishes to the Black Sheep for lunch, dinner and late night.
Black Sheep does your typical bar food very well. Try Alvarez’s famous calamari and shrimp ($10). The mammoth plate of sea-dwellers is perfectly fried and dusted with a cornmeal, flour and chili powder coating, served with an irresistible caper remoulade.
Before we dive into more foodie talk, let’s take a brief detour into the beverages. Try a traditional brew like Sam Smith’s Nut Brown Ale or the more refreshing and summery Ace Pear Cider. Along with these two unique options, the Black Sheep offers you pints of everything from Sam Adams to Yungeling to Pilsner Urquell.
For the main course, you can’t go wrong with the pan-seared rack of lamb ($24.95)—tender and succulent lamb served with a heaping pile of garlic mashed potatoes, saut�ed vegetables highlighted with a green peppercorn sauce. The saut�ed crabcakes ($14.95), two steaming leviathans of fresh, moist crab with a light baby arugula salad and roasted pepper aioli, are also recommended. The plating of the entr�e is spectacular, and the taste even more wonderful. If you don’t feel like seafood, go with the BBQ pulled pork sandwich ($10), for which Black Sheep is famous.
If you still have room, the decadently delicious chocolate cake is the perfect end to this gastro-pub voyage. But hurry: With a fantastic location and amazing food, it won’t be long before it might be a bit harder to get a seat at the Black Sheep.
The Black Sheep
247 S 17th St
Philadelphia, PA 19103