The first order of business when you walk into Billy Club is to turn around and walk back outside… to make sure that you’re on Allen Street. Bright and open, the restaurant adds a different feel to what is normally considered Bohemian in nature.
The craft beer and cocktail scene is booming in the Queen City. The staff at Billy Club has done an excellent job helping to bring back the Prohibition-style drink menu in Allentown. The Clean Slate (gin, chamomile, Aperol, lemon sparkling wine], The Toronto (rye, Fernet, Angostura, sugar), the Buck Wild (bourbon, lemon, loganberry, ginger beer) and the White Horse (vodka, grapefruit, blueberry gastrique) are just a few of the $10 cocktails on the libation menu. All very different and equally as good.
The selection of Nickel City Cheese ($14) changes daily. My table’s offering included Balsamic Bellaviano, a blue, and a gruyere, accompanied by a slice of honey toast and a fruit compote. The blue was my favorite, displaying the sharpness in flavor but also a creamy finish.
The Roasted Marrow ($13) was our next adventure. This dish is not something that everyone will feel comfortable with. A few places around town serve it, but none as expressly in your face as Chef Scott Crombie’s presentation. Stacked like a lopsided Jenga game, these massive beef bones are filled with the delicious delicacy. I thought the flavor was perfect! Plated with a pepper jam that spread on the toast with the marrow, the two created a fantastic flavor combination. The pepper jam would have worked very well with the cheese plate previously mentioned. There was a salad on the plate too (I think).
The Flat #12 Mushrooms ($12) [daily presentation] and potatoes ($8) came next. This evening oyster mushrooms and porcini were the selection. The oyster mushrooms were sautéed in a thyme butter while the porcini were pickled. Visually, something you may very well see in an abstract art exhibit… but that was pretty much all this dish did for me. I love that the mushrooms are local as the freshness was evident, but it lacked in every category of flavor. I will certainly try the next presentation but this was our least favorite dish. Conversely, on a recent visit, Queenseyes expressed that the mushrooms were out of this world – one of is favorite treats in recent history.
Moving on, the potatoes were cooked perfectly crispy with some tamarind mixed in, basil yogurt and crème fraîche. They were finished with a sprinkled fried garlic. If you’re a carb fan like me, then you must try this dish!
For the mains, the roasted pork ($19) was up first. An excellent brine, dusted with Asian spices served with bok choy, scallion rice and a grilled naan bread. The Asian flavors worked extremely well with this dish.
The hanger steak ($24) came out a perfect rare plus to my liking. Braised onions and scallions sat atop, served over a blue cheese jus and served with these mini potato pillows. My partner felt the jus was a bit too much with the steak, but I liked it. Meat, good! Cheese, good! I’m from Buffalo and would put blue cheese on just about everything. This dish was a win for me.
The chicken thighs ($16) were delectable! Fall off the bone chicken; crispy on the outside, flavorful and moist inside. The chicken was sitting on top of barley and snow peas, like the king this dish was, all while floating on a coriander-carrot purée. All the flavors combined were like Voltron. Separately, they were all good, but together were undefeatable! It’s an anomaly for me that chicken would ever beat out steak as the best dish, but it was the hands down juggernaut.
Although it was a landlocked menu with no seafood offering at the time, owner Dan Hagen told me that the menu was changing, and to keep a lookout . The food that Chef Scott Crombie put out couldn’t be beat with a stick, or Billy Club for that matter.