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Warmdaddy’s Philadelphia, Pa. There’s Bleu, and then there’s the blues. The former — Neil Stein’s latest offering on Rittenhouse Square — is hot, hot, hot, but the latter quests for cool. Philadelphians in search of this Southern specialty can find it at the annual Cecil B. Moore jazz and blues festival or six days a week at Warmdaddy’s in Old City. Promising a duet of blues music and southern cuisine, the Front Street restaurant serves up cool music and hot food — though the combination can occasionally leave diners lukewarm. Before 8 p.m., the spotlight is on food. A laminated four-page menu — difficult to decipher in the dim lights of the dining room — offers soups, salads, appetizers, ribs, chops and steaks, poultry, seafood and southern classics. After the dinner hour, attention shifts to the stage, and the host turns doorman, collecting a $5 cover. The kitchen remains open until midnight, but the music precludes dinner conversation. Every meal begins with a hot loaf of buttery corn bread. Deliciously dense and sweet, the corn bread makes a less stellar appearance when toasted as the crouton topping for Ida Mae’s fried chicken salad ($6.95). Salads aren’t Southern, and Ida Mae’s attempt to marry traditional southern fare — fried chicken, cornbread and buttermilk — with shredded lettuce falls flat, bland and soggy. Uncle Guss gets it right, though: forget the greens and stick to his fried chicken tenders ($6.50), served with honey mustard dipping sauce. The Shady Lane salad ($4.95) is more successful. A medley of fresh seasonal greens, mushrooms, cucumbers and tomatoes are kissed with a sharp, light vinaigrette, making the cymbal-sized salad the healthiest thing on the deep-fried menu. Crazy Clara, Ella and Bubba vie with Uncle Guss for attention on the appetizers portion of the menu. A fiery Cajun dipping sauce turns up the volume on Clara’s breaded catfish fingers ($5.50). Ella prefers to munch on a dozen spicy chicken wings ($5.95) — “better than they ever had in Buffalo,” the menu notes — with “cool blues” cheese dressing. Bubba suggests a messy half slab of dry-rubbed baby back ribs ($7.95). The choices sound authentic, although one doubts that the down-home relatives are. Owners Robert and Benjamin Bynum had practice at creating a club atmosphere while working at their father’s Cadillac Club, which later remade itself as the disco Impulse. Robert is a Wharton grad, and Ben Jr. took the Restaurant School route. They first put their heads together in 1990 to create the jazz supper club Zanzibar Blue, now located on the Avenue of the Arts. In 1995, the Bynum brothers, seeing a void in Philadelphia’s live music scene, brought the low-down and dirty blues to Old City. They added Brave New World, an international music dance club at 7th and Arch, in 1997. Brave New World has also lent its name to the Bynum brothers’ exclusive wines. Warmdaddy’s offers bottles of both the Brave New Red and the Brave New White for $26 each. The wine list also includes a dozen other selections in the same price range. Wines by the glass run $5 each. The wine list is overshadowed, both in taste and price, by a collection of specialty drinks such as Daddy Longlegg’s Lemonade — more Jack Daniels than citrus — and Sweet ‘n’ Sultry Georgia Peach, a deceptively smooth Malibu and peach schnapps concoction, or a frozen strawberry-chocolate Mississippi Red Mud ($6 each). Traditional frozen cocktails ($5.50), bottled brews ($3-$3.75) and bourbons ($6-$9) are listed alongside “soda pop and sweat stoppers.” Choose something that will complement Aunt Zelma’s fried chicken ($12.50), a sweet-and-salty Bynum family recipe. Grandma-style macaroni and cheese and collard greens can be ordered to accompany two golden-brown, honey-battered chicken breasts. Or pick something to chase Giant Gene’s slammin’ shrimp ($15.95). The Cajun-spiced tomato sauce makes the plump shrimp irresistible, but the overcooked rice and collard greens detract from the dish. If its fried, barbecued or smothered with gravy, it’s on the menu: chicken and waffles ($12.95), cornmeal catfish with a spicy Creole sauce ($13.95), Kentucky rib eye steak ($17.95). Home-style side dishes include potato salad, candied yams and mashed sweet potatoes ($3.50). The music isn’t on the menu, but it is the main draw for many. Every Tuesday the club features an open jam. Recent shows included performances by Rick Hairston and The Rolling Thunder Blues Band, George Bonds and The Blueskeepers, and Leroy Thomas and The Zydeco Roadrunners. Restuarant: Warmdaddy’s Location: Front and Market Streets, Philadelphia, Pa. Hours: Serves dinner Tuesday through Sunday from 5:30 p.m. to midnight. Reservations: Accepted until 8:30 p.m. and can be made by calling 215-627-2500 or visiting the restaurant’s Web site at www.warmdaddys. Payment: All major credit cards are accepted.

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