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My weekend in Philly - Osteria, Matyson and Dim Sum Garden

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My weekend in Philly - Osteria, Matyson and Dim Sum Garden

BRB | Dec 21, 2008 04:23 PM

Visited Philly last weekend and after searching the board, settled on the above. I have family in the area so I've dined in the city quite a bit, but all of the above were new ventures for me.

I was very pleased with Dim Sum Garden. One of my disappointments with Chicago is the lack of quality soup dumplings (either the dough's too thick, the filling is not flavorful enough, or they fall apart when you remove them from the steamer). Dim Sum Garden's were about as good as I could have hoped for. Wonderful crab and pork flavor, delicate dough but not sticking to the bottom and coming undone (I hate when that happens) and all around great flavor. The chive pancakes were also delicious as was just about everything I tried. All in all, a very good meal. My only complaint would be what I thought was a somewhat limited menu, but there was plenty for us to order and we were all very impressed.

Matyson was good, but a little hit or miss for me. I had a mushroom escargot dish to begin which was good but not remarkable. For the life of me, I can't recall what my main course was (I believe halibut but I'm not sure), and I recall thinking it was ok, but slightly bland (unfortunately, they don't list a current dinner menu on their website and I believe I ordered a nightly special). I tasted the crispy skinned branzino which I thought was very good. But overall, I thought Matyson was good but nothing special.

On the other hand, Osteria was absolutely outstanding . . . one of the very best meals I've had all year. The pizza with baked egg, bitto cheese, mozzarella, and cotechino sausage was perfect. A nice runny egg, very flavorful sausage, a perfect ratio of ingredients to crust and a fantastic crust with nicely charred bubbles of crust. I believe the gnocchi I enjoyed was a squash gnocchi with brown butter, hazelnuts and sage and it was some of the best gnocchi I've ever had . . . feathery, delicious . . . really prefect. And as good as the aforementioned two dishes were, they were outdone in my opinion by the wood grilled venison leg with parsnips, apples and chestnuts. The venison was perfectly cooked (between rare and medium rare) and the apples, chestnuts and pureed parsnips made for ideal accompaniments. Housemade sorbets for dessert were outstanding . . . great flavor and amazingly smooth and no ice crystals. All in all, a fantastic meal. Service was outstanding too. My only beef was the wine list which I thought offered very few affordable choices.

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