Walking into Tipsy Pig, my face got hit with a waft of stale beer that reminded me of a particular undergrad fraternity, where I spent too many college nights partying. Begging to get over that memory (and the memory of that particular ex-boyfriend), I was relieved when I was escorted to the ‘library’ seating area in the back, where the stench isn’t so strong and neither is the noise decibel. But make no mistake, Tipsy Pig feels like bar first, food later. So if you don’t like the smell of former frat boys now donning grey investment banker suits, this is not the place for you (and same goes for the Marina, where the restaurant is located). But if your olfactory senses are dumb or dulled, then give this place a chance because although it smells like the food lags behind the beer list, it really doesn’t.
To start with, I had the soup du jour (how fancy), which was a tomato bisque. Fine, nothing to write home (or blog) about, but satisfying this particular night because of the incessant rain. My entree was the fried free range chicken breast, with buttermilk mash, collard greens, spiced honey, and gravy. My husband, looking at my chicken breast (which were more like hearty chicken tenders, as they came in 3 strips atop the mash and collard greens), told me that it wasn’t “dark enough” for him (not a chicken breast man, don’t read too much into that). But I like breasts (don’t read too much into that, either) and this particular breast (or tri-breasts) was moist, juicy (I’m guessing brined or something of that sort), and not super oily. Also, I liked that they were tri-breasts because frankly, that meant more fried coating for me. The real stars of the plate for me, however, were the mash and the spiced honey. Ok, maybe mash is mash, but it was still very satisfying. But the spiced honey seemed special, sweet with a little heat; the thick glaze of honey was drizzled along the plate right into the small puddle of loose gravy on the other side of the plate. I couldn’t help think that maybe they should put that honey in those little packets to leave on the table so you could have more, sort of like they do at KFC when you get the biscuits, but I guess that would cheapen the food (and I suppose that’s right, since I just mentioned KFC in the same breath)…
My husband got the chicken pot pie, which he gobbled up pretty fast, attributing either to the fact that it was delicious or that he was starving after selecting a vegetarian sandwich for lunch. Either way, it was gorgeous, a big cylinder of chunky goodness (chicken, potatoes, mushrooms, peas, the usual suspects) in a creamy sauce that didn’t taste of thickener (like flour or if you’re trashy like me, corn starch), plus a gorgeous puff pastry on top that shockingly, wasn’t very puffy. This chicken pot pie had the flattest appearance I’ve ever seen for a puff pastry topping, but I think it sufficed as my husband carefully sliced a wedge of it off, to dip it in the pot pie and eat it fairly greedily (I think that had to do with the hunger post-veggie sandwich lunch).
If you can get past the ambiance, and I’m referring again to the smell of beer-soaked hardwood floors, then this is definitely a place to try. I can appreciate the fraternity feel because you can talk as loudly as you want, as bawdily as you want, and wear whatever you want (at least, the guy at the table across from me in the Cal sweatpants could wear whatever he wanted) — they do draw the limit at staying the night and walking home in your previous night’s clothes the next morning, though.
I also was reminded how smells bring back such strong memories…one whiff and I was living on Baltimore Street in West Philly near my undergrad again with my ex-boyfriend and his 5 frat brother roommates…which led me to wonder why my parents ever let me do that…to which my husband told me “well, they probably thought you guys were going to get married“…to which I responded “yeah they did, but we thought we were going to get married, too”…which really just goes to show you how incredibly stupid you are in college.
Bauer’s two cents here.