after a stunning dinner at little fish (and a whole lotta drinks that night) i've decided BYOB means so much more to me than just what the acronym translates to. why do nearly all of my favorite places happen to be tiny BYOBs? could it be that they're individually/family-owned and the owners can't afford a huge space, let alone a liquor license, so they make do with what they have and as a result out of the (often one-manned) kitchen floats meticulously prepared, deliciously balanced, attractively arranged food? that was my theory, anyway. ;) plus, i just feel so damn special being one person served in a packed house... of like six people.
last week i had a downright perfect dinner at little fish. started off with scallops and king crab. the king crab was perfectly... crabby... in a light delicious summer way. scallops were cooked so exact - the texture was just right and they were coated with some simple yummy sea salt. went on to entrees with a grouper - again, coated with more sea salt and other light herbs and subtle flavors. i would happily eat this dish every day for the rest of my life. i think our other fish was a mahi mahi, but i am terrible at telling fishes apart and this one was sauced heavier with a thicker skin from the fry. it was great though the other fish was the standout. such a satisfying dinner and i can't wait to go back to this tiny gem. it immediately shot up to one of my top ten faves, and possibly even top five (for summery foods at least)... which got me thinking about all my faves and what they have in common - they're all tiny little places, they're all BYOB, many cash-only and many look like they could be an extension of the owner's home. modo mio, matyson and chloe all make the top 5 list and they all fit approximately the same profile. these little places are all so good they make me wish i'd gone to culinary school so i could spend all my time immersed in that pleasant atmosphere. or married an executive chef at the very least. :)
anyway, has anyone else found themselves favoring philly's tinier BYOB restaurant scene? can you just tell one of these places is going to be fabulous before your wine bottle is uncorked for you? just curious to see what you all think. and if you have any other must-try tiny BYOB places. :)