Thanks to all who gave us recommendations for our weekend in Philly. After debating about Carmines Creole Cafe and someplace in Manayunk, we decided to opt for Grasshopper so we could spend some time window shopping in Manayunk before dinner.
Although we had called for reservations, there was only one other table occupied at 8:00 p.m.. Another couple of tables filled while we were there, and I understand it fills up on Saturday nights.
We had a very pleasant meal. We both had lobster bisque, which was quite nice. I had duck breast and husband had the surf and turf (lamb and crab cake). Both were accompanied by nice crispy beans and very good garlic mashed potatoes. Meats were cooked precisely as ordered. My husband really enjoyed the lamb with shitake sauce. He thought the crab cake was good but wasn't crazy about the sauce. I suspect it had some ginger in it, which he never does like, so it probably isn't a fair assessment. I can't recall what was the basis for the slightly sweet sauce on the duck, but it made a good pairing imo.
There were only 2 drawbacks to the meal. The first was that when we went in, there was an overpowering grease smell, as if the exhaust fans weren't working properly. But there isn't that much fried food on the menu, so I'm not sure about the source of the smell. The second was that I think my duck might have been plated on an unheated plate, and since I ordered it rare, it cooled off very quickly. As I am a very slow eater, I had several very cold but very rare medallions of duck left at the end of my meal.
all in all, we were happy with the choice. Hope to try Carmines on another trip.
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