When you think brunch in Philadelphia, there’s no shortage of options. While plenty of new restaurants have opened and offer weekend brunch service, it never hurts to go the tried-and-true route.
White Dog Cafe should need no introduction. In its 35th year, this Philadelphia restaurant specializing in sustainable American cuisine is an institution on a lovely narrow street of Brownstones in University City.
We recently enjoyed a relaxed brunch at the 3420 Sansom Avenue location, which brought back memories for both of us. More so for hubby, as he used to spend New Year’s Day pajama brunch here for many years with friends back in the late 80s and early 90s.
After being seated, our affable server Amie promptly introduced herself, supplied us with menus and explained the menu specials being served that day one of which was a cereal-inspired french toast.
She allowed us to review the menu but returned within a short time with water and complimentary honey lemon bread which was so very yummy! It’s more cake-like than bread so it makes for a nice, slightly sweet start to brunch, but I did not mind at all. I saved a piece later for “brunch dessert”, too.
She left again returning a couple minutes later to take our drink order. Hubby ordered coffee while I could not resist the cocktail named I Think I’m Going To Like It Here ($11). Made with Sweet Carolina Sweet Tea Vodka, Pama Pomegranate Liqueur, Lime, Blood Orange, and Iced Tea, it was delightfully refreshing. The combo of pomegranate and blood orange is a winner. A fantastic brunch cocktail.
As for food, the Kennett Square Mushroom Soup ($10) came highly recommended. We decided to try that and the Butternut Squash Bisque ($9). Both were so very good! The mushroom soup is beautifully blended with Truffle Crème Fraîche and Snipped Chives. Lots of umami mushroom flavor and a pleasing rustic texture. Probably one of the better mushroom soups I’ve had in a while.
The butternut squash bisque was perfectly pureed and quite smooth. Adding Candied Walnuts, Poached Pear, and Cinnamon Mascarpone created quite a luxurious and satisfying dish.
I love that they pour both of these soups tableside. That’s a nice touch!
For my main entree, I chose the Avocado BLT ($15). When it came out, I noticed that it was missing the fried egg. I got Amie’s attention and she immediately took it back to the kitchen for the fried egg. An oversight that was quickly, and gracefully, rectified. A nice sandwich, but it was bit dry. There wasn’t much avocado spread on it; in fact, I had to really look for it. I also didn’t get much spicy aioli. I could have asked for more, I suppose, but I dipped it in a little ketchup that came with the home fries because I’m classy like that. 😉
Hubby had the simple Farmer’s Plate ($14): Scrambled Eggs, Thick Cut Green Meadow Farm Bacon, Home Fries, and Grilled Multigrain Toast. No complaints. In fact, he raved about the bacon made the way we both like it – a little crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside. 🙂
Overall, a satisfying brunch at one of Philadelphia’s most-enduring restaurants. If you haven’t been to brunch at the White Dog Cafe in a while, do return. They recently made some upgrades and expanded the space. You’ll find it as lovely as ever. If you’ve never been, give it a try. As Philly’s food scene explodes and new eateries pop up all over town, sometimes it nice to remember the spots that put us on the map to begin with. White Dog Cafe is still very much a fine choice for dining.
All photos are by Marilyn Johnson and should not be used without permission.
*Special thanks to Jaimi Blackburn of Fearless Restaurants for arranging our visit. Our opinions are our own.