Friday, July 13, 2012

Slobblog: Devil's Den - The Devil's Cherry Sauce

No more prissy stuff.

Over the past couple of Slobfests we've been enjoying the good life. Eating steak, drinking red wine not from a box, rubbing elbows with Stephen Starr and Marc Vetri, oh yes, it's all so glamorous. While these were all great times, and the Slobs all had fun at these highfalutin establishments it was time we got back to our Slobfest roots.

I got a little something for your evil eye!
We were becoming weak and feeble. Used to coat checks or 5-star chefs preparing our meals. We lost the eye of the tiger, we were doing the Slobfest equivalent of listening to Creed, and frankly, it was no longer acceptable. One of the primary tenants of Slobfest is to have good food with good friends at a rather inexpensive price. Finding an interesting/inexpensive place is a lot harder than making everyone go to Barclay Prime.

Inexpensive is certainly a matter of opinion, but in Devil's Den we found a perfect blend of dive bar, pub, and eatery that helped us remember where we came from, and more likely what we are. Slobs.

Devil's Den is in South Philadelphia, and while there is a dining area, it's primary purpose is craft brews. There are 17 rotating drafts, 200 bottles, and plenty of glasses to pour them in.

The beer list is extensive. Well worth a trip just to have a couple and relax.

Due to some travel plans, the Slobs met up on a Friday for our 2nd ever Friday Slobfest. So while we were looking to get back to our roots, it seemed fitting that on this Friday Slobfest, we encountered a number of Slobfirsts.

The first Slobfirst took place before the whole gang arrived. A couple of us were having drinks up at the bar when the first verbal dispute broke out in Slobfest history. I happened to be leaning near a guy at the bar and as he adjusted or I did we would nudge elbows, backs, or whatever. So this guy starts getting irritated and gives us the eye. We try to ignore him and go about our conversation, but he continues to do so. So one Slob asks if there's a problem, but not in the, "Hi, I'm management here at Devil's Den" way, but in the "What's your issue?" way. The guy goes ahead and says I'm bumping into him. To which I say or vice versa, and then we went on to mock him and talk about him while he was right there until he moved over, settled his tab, and left.

Here's the thing, why do people sit at the bar? They sit at the bar if they're alone, or if they want to be around some action. Most straight guys like to be at the bar because it's an easy in to chat with ladies that are coming by looking to purchase alcohol that you happen to be perched by. Here's a little bar etiquette for that guy. People will be around you if you are at the bar. Maybe it'll be a cute blonde, maybe it'll be a drunk mess barreling through to get another Coors Light, or maybe you'll have people standing around minding their own business and as they move about, as humans do, they may come into contact with you. If someone is continually jabbing the sharp end of their elbow into you, feel free to say something, but to be irritated? Get a clue.

Beer, duck fries, flatbread...simple and solid.
Ok, now onto the Slobbing. We all arrived and were at our table. There was a good amount of space they set up for us, as most tables were equipped for about 4 people.

The menu at Devil's Den is simple, hearty, and sure to fill anyone's stomach. Classics like wings, mac & cheese are done in the purely traditional sense. No fancying up or adding different ingredients to these apps. Most of us started out with a flatbread we shared among everyone. The BBQ duck is hard to pass up, but the shortrib was the winner for me. The duck didn't do quite as good a job holding up flavor wise to the BBQ, but with the shortrib it had a horseradish sauce that really exploded the flavor that flatbread had to offer.

Each Slob picked and chose from the menu as a lot looked good. Since the prices were much lower than we had become accustomed to in our high on the hog Slobfesting, Slobs were picking muliple apps, entrees, specials, whatever they felt would give them the satisfaction of a true Slobfest. Perhaps furthering this exploration of the menu was knowing that for every item, you can be sure they had a beer on tap that would go well with what you were ordering.

One Slob even brought up that for about $100 per person we could literally order the entire menu there. A bold and completely over the top proposal, but I have to say we did consider it. With the multitude of options combined with literally being able to go, "We'll have the whole menu" it was almost enticing enough. Perhaps another time.

As we were dining, the second Slobfirst of the night took place. A Slob announced the news that he will be a first time father. Exciting stuff, right! Although, it became clear that while the child is certainly the most important news of the night, he had a couple of other items that trumped his excitement level that evening. I'd say it was in this order:
  1. The Cherry Sauce on the Duck entree
  2. Kate Upton's GQ spread
  3. His first child
Is it shark? Hammerhead?
Along with the duck entree that was I guess pretty damn good there were some raw oysters, duck fries (which yes, have cooked duck on them), and among a couple of the specials, I had the shark tacos. While I thought it an insult to ask if it was actual shark in the tacos, I assumed it was. The meat was a little more comparable to a thicker fish, like a swordfish as opposed to a lighter fish. So unless they meant to trip you up by, say, adding some Hank's Sauce to the tacos for it's sharkiness, then I'm none the wiser. 

With the beer flowing on a Friday night and plenty of food around the table, we were all enjoying ourselves. For the first time in a long time, none of us felt too loud or too crass for the environment we were in.

The night drew to a close, and the final 2 Slobfirsts hit. One, perhaps the worst degree of unforgivable, a doggie bag! At Slobfest! This has never been done before, and hopefully never again. While perhaps the greater crime would have been wasting good food, a doggie bag is as shocking as you would imagine any Slobfest moment to be.

Lastly, as we began to part ways, and due to the amount of beer consumed, I forgot to take a picture of the check. Thus leaving this Slobblog as the first without that picture to close things out.

Overall, we got back in touch with our Slob ways. And while there are "nicer" establishments out there, which I'm sure we will get back to, it was a fun night to kick back and keep things Slobby and simple.

An unforgivable Slobfirst...doggy bag

-Slobs out.

Devil's Den
11th & Ellsworth
Philadelphia, PA

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