Right at the entrance to Philadelphia’s historic Navy Yard sits one of the newest additions to Marc Vetri’s culinary empire. Bar Amis serves up the high–quality food associated with the original Amis at 13th and Pine Streets, along with a glorious view of the Navy Yard’s harbor. Opened at its new location on June 27, Bar Amis features several location–specific items that showcase the best of Vetri’s gastronomic craftsmanship.
I was lucky enough to score a patio seat facing the harbor to enjoy the restaurant’s Italian cocktail menu. The menu features creative takes on the classics such as its bourbon smash ( bourbon, berry jam, and lemon) and sicilian lemonade (house–made limoncello, mint, prosecco, and soda). I opted for the the lemonade, which was delightfully sweet and did not go overboard on mintiness.
I began with a signature small plate only found in the Navy Yard Amis location menu, the hoagie toast. A twist on the traditional Italian–American classic hoagie, the open–faced baguette is topped with cubes of provolone and a mixed meat sausage (capicola, sopressata, mortadella, and fennel salami) doused in a mayonnaise–based sauce with greens. As the world's biggest charcuterie board fan, I was ecstatic—the homemade sausage is one of the best I’ve ever had.
I moved onto the spicy chicken salad slider, a dish that takes the classic chicken salad sandwich and adds the kick of spicy pepper powder and smatterings of blue cheese. The dish is a perfect companion to the restaurant's wide selection of craft beers, from Victory Round Robin to ginger shandy.
However, the best part of the meal was the pairing of a dry riesling from Mosel, Germany with the main course of jalapeño and almond bucatini with charred octopus. My inner wino was charmed; high–quality, imported riesling can be hard to find in the U.S., and is especially refreshing when you’ve only been having the Barefoot California riesling. The bucatini’s nutty flavor and soft notes of spice (jalapeño is boiled separately and then added) balances the strong citrus, floral, and peach notes of the Selbach grapes. The spiciness of the jalapeños highlights subtle salt notes in the complex body of the wine, while the octopus is tender and didn’t overpower the other notes in the pasta.
For my final dish, I ate the famous house rice pudding filled with hazelnuts and fig jam. I was tempted to order the amarena cherry topped sundae, but my server assured me that the pudding was a fan favorite at Vetri’s other Amis locations. He was correct—the hazelnuts create the perfect blend of sweet, salty and umami.
It should go without saying that you should take your actual Amis to this South Philly gem of a restaurant. Personally, I would absolutely come back—if only to re–experience that riesling.