I recently went to Aldine... 7pm on a weekend night and it was half empty. And a glance at OpenTable suggests they're still not bringing in the customers. There may be particular issues at play here. While the interior space is nice, the upstairs location next to Drinker's Pub is not the most auspicious. The food I had was good but was probably more exciting for its presentation than its flavor. Good, at times very good, but not exceptional.
The main problem, though, was the small-plate portions and pricing. I ordered three plates, totaling between $40-45 pre-tax-and-tip, and I was hungry afterwards. Significantly hungry. Since I've heard that the Treemont is having similar problems getting customers and since even Petruce is not filling up their space, I'm wondering if the Philadelphia scene won't support small-plate places at this price level. Ones a price bracket below seem to be doing just fine. The main exception I can think of is Vernick (and maybe High on Market). But maybe there's a saturation of small-plate restaurants or else restauranteurs have overestimated the appeal of small plates.
Or am I being optimistic, since I personally am not crazy for the trend?