Thanks to all of you for recommending Vetri. I went last night for my birthday. Here's my report.
It was Saturday so it was tasting menu only--we chose to do the 6 courses for $90 rather than the 8 courses. We also chose to do a bottle of syrah, and several glasses of white, rather than do the matching wine tasting. When the bill came, we were pleasantly surprised to only be charged for the $55 bottle of syrah--we were not charged for 2 glasses of sauvingnon blanc, nor for two glasses of a wonderful caramel colored dessert wine Jeff recommended (unfortunately, I did not take any wine notes and b/c it was my bday I drank too much to remember names...)
So, the food. We asked to have different dishes for each course and Marc kindly accomodated us, even tho he usually doesn't do that for 2 people only.
The only food we asked to not have off the list was the guinea hen because it was stuffed with foie gras, which neither of us like (I know, it's like a foodie sin, but I can't pretend to like it).
We therefore had the following dishes:
sweet onion crepe w/ white truffle fondue (great dish)
eggplant terrine w/ tomato mousse (fine but not exciting)
tart of hen confit, apples and potatoes (really wonderful and homey)
marinated scallops and oysters (this came w/ two small scallops and only one oyster. The oyster was East Coast- tho Jeff didn't know from where, and wasn't great)
spinach gnocchi w/ shaved smoked polenta (awesome--perfect gnocchi)
lobster canneloni w/ artichoke crema (my friend loved this, but I thought it was only ok-not much lobster there)
braised wild boar on soft polenta (deep, wintry, wonderful)
veal chop w/ onion flan and porcini (served sliced, very memorable, salty savory- 800 times better than the veal chop at Tre Scalini. And terrifc w/ the syrah)
chocolate polenta souffle w/ vanilla gelato (very rich, terrific gelato)
pink grapefruit mousse cake (merely ok)
picccola pasticceria (nice, some unusual things)
There was also a little carrot sorbet before the desserts which was really unusual and tasty.
(The only dishes we didn't try, aside from the hen, were the spaghettini w/ tripe, and the goat cheese tart w/ red wine sorbet.)
All in all, I would rank this in the top 10 meals I've had in the last year (Chez Panisse=1, 71 Clinton=2, Fore Street=3, Wildwood= 4, Palace Kitchen=5, Babbo (only had one dish)= 6, Blue Hill=7, Vetri is somewhere around 8th with Django and Morimoto). I think the price is pretty darn high for Philly, and while I appreciate small portion sizes, these could have been a little bigger.
The service was generally good-- Jeff was great, and Marc kindly came out, said hi, and signed a birthday menu for me-- but there were some glitches--even a dropped dish, and lots of hovering. And the cold air from the door got a little intense sometimes.
Anyways, I'm certainly glad I went, and it was a nice birthday experience.
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