Authentic Southern Fare in Old City Philadelphia
Despite the same old façade that looks more like a blacksmith’s workshop than a restaurant, the most striking change in the recently reopened Khyber Pass is its tasty fare.
With a Deep-South focus, the menu features such classics as muffulettas, gumbo, fried oysters, and Memphis-style fried chicken (be patient if you order this one). Most importantly, though, the food captures the essence of that region's cuisine — the care and attention that's evident with each bite. From the New Orleans Leidenheimer rolls for their po’ boys to the Steel’s cane syrup used in their boudin balls, it is obvious they’ve cut no corners in delivering an authentic Southern menu.
And they’ve nailed it.
To start, I opted for the boiled peanuts (from the daily specials board) and the boudin balls. The peanuts were perfect — salty, spicy, and even sweet from some PBC Kenzinger (for out-of-towners, this is a local beer made by the Philadelphia Brewing Company) added to the boil. The boudin balls, Louisiana-style sausage rolled into a ball and deep-fried, were not as heavy as I would have expected, and the accompanying cane syrup-creole mustard sauce was delicious. Next, I couldn’t resist ordering the surf 'n' turf po’ boy, a classic combination of fried shrimp and roast beef (with its debris gravy) on a light baguette with mayo, pickles, lettuce, and tomato. The baguette was fresh, the shrimp were perfectly cooked, and the roast beef was tender and rich, resulting in a simple but tasty sandwich that would be right at home in the parishes of New Orleans.
If you are looking for some authentic Southern cooking north of the Mason-Dixon, Khyber is certainly the place to be. They've kept their menu simple and straightforward, and their prices are low, just as they should be. Combine all of that with Khyber’s great and always rotating beer selection and you have something truly unique, delicious, and certainly worth visiting.