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Brief Philly report

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Restaurants & Bars

Brief Philly report

MikeW (San Francisco) | Nov 30, 2004 11:22 PM

Report from my most recent annual Thanksgiving trip to Philly to visit family.

Washington Square - Really not good. The lobster dumplings tasted like Trader Joe's or Costco frozen appetizers. The kobe beef tartare was better. A smoked artic char was dominated by salt and nothing else, completely boring after two bites. Short ribs were fatty but had decent flavor, though the plate was covered with tasteless potatoe wedges. The wine list at all the Starr places is offensive, but this was really offensive. How does he get away with it? I used to like Stephen Starr back when I lived in Philly, but the longer I live in SF, and the more I dine elsewhere, the more I realize most of his restaurants just suck for food and wine. The bill was $150 for two - ouch. Anything other than a cocktail is a waste.

Bistro La Viola - This was actually pretty decent, although I have never had food come out so fast in my life, and we were seated after the theater rush. We could have been in and out in forty five minutes. An antipasto starter of meats and cheeses was basic but satisfying. Grilled calamari was well done, but there was a touch of sandy grit. The entrees were very nice, veal medallions and chicken rollatini. The bread was flavorful and warm, but the accompanying olive oil tasted borderline rancid, even with the balsamic cover up trick. Total check for four was around $90, what's not to like other than the rushed service.

Primo's - as always, one of my favorite meals in Philly.

Matyson - didn't get to go, had to cancel, damn

Django - I had high hopes and was not disappointed. Almost every dish was well executed. Highlights were cornmeal crusted pan fried oysters, a duck consomme and bison loin, and of course, the cheese course. This was the most reasonably priced cheese course I have had since my last trip to Paris. Service was professional, but not warm. I would happily return.

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