Today’s restaurant report is by contributing food-and-drink writer John Howard-Fusco. See you Monday.—Andy
Sports bar restaurant chains tend to be huge installations, with huge menus (of often lackluster food) and screens everywhere.
Leatherhead Pub in Egg Harbor City feels quite different. Capacious but not humongous. Sure, plenty of folks were at the bar, passionately following a sporting event on the screens overhead. Yet one could sit and have a conversation without needing a megaphone.
Leatherhead is not a chain. It occupies a renovated historic firehouse. Its chef and owner is Lisa Savage, whose two other restaurants—Sage and Lisa’s, both in Ventnor—are well-known in the area. Savage has brought her flair for the casual and love of local ingredients to Leatherhead.
The pub’s strength is its small plates, sandwiches and regional craft beers. What a joy to see 20 drafts on the chalkboard, many from New Jersey and the region. While I happily savored my Vienna Lager from Double Nickel Brewing in Pennsauken, my order of wings arrived.
Leatherhead offers two kinds of wings: the familiar Buffalo and gochujang, which is a hot, fermented Korean pepper sauce. Fiery and fire-engine red (appropriate for an old firehouse), the wings were delectable. An improvement on typical sports bar wings.
Another pleasant surprise? An honest attempt to create appetizing vegetarian dishes. While kale fritters were doughy and under-seasoned, the broccoli Reuben, with Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and something called Comeback Sauce on rye was an enjoyable and satisfying substitute–and sufficiently messy, as a Reuben should be.
Wood-fired pizza has its own menu section, with 13 varieties listed. The Margherita I sampled had just enough char and strength in the crust to be worthy. Maybe a little more cheese on top next time, if you please.
Minor criticisms aside, Leatherhead Pub, in this grand old building replete with firefighting memorabilia, shows how well old and new can play together.
Leatherhead Pub, 105 Philadelphia Avenue (Route 50), Egg Harbor City. 609-965-2337 leatherheadpub.com. Open Monday through Friday starting at 4 pm; Saturday and Sunday starting at noon.Click here to leave a comment