Chef Robert Legget of Philadelphia’s Guerrilla Truck has taken over the historic building at the corner of Union and Federal sts. at 102 Federal Street in downtown Milton. Legget’s new Cantina Ultima features upscale pub grub with a BBQ and Latin accent.
Listen to Chef Robert and the Rehoboth Foodie talk smokers, BBQ and restauranting on 105.9’s Sip & Bite with the Rehoboth Foodie.
Philadelphia Eater website says, “Robert touts a pretty serious culinary resume having worked in some of the best kitchens of Philly’s culinary past, Susanna Foo and Guillermo Pernot’s four-bell ¡Pasión! among them. He launched the truck as a temporary stepping stone to something a little more serious — four years later, he was still driving his truck, still awaiting the right circumstances to open his own brick-and-mortar. Opportunities popped up, but nothing stuck.” [http://philly.eater.com/]
So let’s get down to business. Chef Robert hasn’t made too many changes to the front of house since he took the space over from Modern Mixture’s Leo Cabrera. After all, the bar is beautiful, so why change a good thing? And though I would rather see a long banquette along the right side wall than the rather imposing booths, those self-same booths are quite comfortable and easily accommodate six people each.
The main menu is divided into two sections: Snacks, which feature smaller plates and some unusual items such as Deviled Foie Gras (with Berkshire ham, yet!) and Griddled Queso Freir, which is a hoity toity way of saying “really good fried cheese.” It’s accompanied by a well-spiced black bean stew and roasted tomato salsa. On our last visit we started with the Salsa Criolla (smokey salsa surrounding a poached egg – quite good, especially when sopped up with nice. buttered toast). The other side of the page is “Full On.” And those dishes live up to the name. Read on.
Salsa Criolla (with a poached egg)1/22 Cantina Ultima2/22 Cantina Ultima3/22 Cantina Ultima4/22 Brisket cheesesteak special5/22 caesar salad with chix thighs6/22 Those Chinese BBQ Pork Belly Tacos!7/22 El Sanguche8/22 guac9/22 Ask for peppers. You’ll get a habanero!10/22 PennsPorter: It’s a commitment!11/22 Cantina Ultima12/22 The Steak Frites13/22 Cantina Ultima14/22 Cantina Ultima15/22 Beet salad16/22 Burger with the pork belly!17/22 The Churros18/22 crab scrapple with tobiko19/22 Guac plate20/22 Behold the PITMASTER21/22 sausages and chiccarones22/22
If you listened to Robert Legget on my radio show (link to podcast above) you heard him talk about the Pennsporter sandwich. It is difficult to salivate and do a radio show, but I made it through, and I finally got that sandwich. This thing is a carnivore’s happy place. Chopped smoked pork is slathered with DFH beer cheese, drizzles with long hot mojo and cool slaw. In a word, it’s delicious. If most pork barbecues are too small for you, get this and you will have met your match. Take a look at it in the gallery. (Just in case you are Philadelphia-challenged, Pennsport is a neighborhood in South Philly. So there.) Another massive sandwich designed for those of us who rip & tear is the Pitmaster sandwich. It is a commitment and you will not have to eat again for several days.
On a slightly less meaty note, we enjoyed the beet salad (with pignolis, yet) and teh crab scrapple topped with tobiko. Both unusual and quite tasty. Of course there is always the burger which Robert will happily top with a little pork belly if you ask. See these goodies and more by scrolling through the gallery.
On the last visit we also had the Smoked Steak Frites (marinated, tender and perfectly done hanger steak with the chef’s steak sauce, drizzled with chimichurri and perched on a pile of BBQ-spiced Guerrilla fries. A house-made mushroom escabeche brings even more savory to the table. The El Sanguche (Peruvian for sandwich) is also a challenge for those unable to unhinge their jaws (you might need a knife & fork…), with a number of unusual tastes combining into one. Layers of sweet potato are joined with guac, salsa, that tasty mushroom escabeche, little platano rings (plantains) and crispy pork belly. This is another one that carnivores are already lining up for.
I want to go back and try the Cuban Street Sliders and the Queso Freir. In the photos by scrolling through the gallery. If you like hearty dinners, they’ll make you hungry.
Cantina Ultima is at 102 Federal Street in Milton. Winter lunchtime is from 11 a.m. ‘til 2 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, and dinner is from 5 p.m. ‘til midnight Wednesday through Saturday. On the third Sunday of every month until June, Cantina Ultima hosts a beer or spirits pairing dinner. Hear live music every other Wednesday from 6 to 8 p.m. Specials during the off season include Wednesday burrito night, chili night on Thursdays, and Friday is all about Philly faves! Catch a late-night action movie and double cheeseburgers starting at 9:30 p.m. on Saturdays. Call 302-684-2555 for more information.