Well it took me a while to try Django as my daily working interfered with the required time to hit speed dial and secure a much coveted reservation.
Went a few nights ago with a party of six with High expecations. Had read most of the posts here as well as the almost full page that LaBan devoted to
to Django while reinventing his bell criteria for this BYO. I was eager to see what the cult following has been all about.
Upon entry, it is a quaint place very minimal and a cross between a country bistro and wanna be Bohemian hangout if they had a bar quarters are tight. It is LOUD there. Our server was professional, knowledgeable but not too enthusiastic and dissapered most of the evening. No bottled water was offered and it was funny watching other tables consume some incredible wines while cleansing the palate with Philly's best tap water. An amuse was bought out of a ravioli with a trout caviar served very cold. nothing to speak of.
Apps were interesting. I ordered the Hunters Wild game tart with bison, boar, birds (pheasant and squab( venison in a foie gras salsift emulsion. it was so gamey with no distinct flor and overpowered any remnant of foie gras. I was also surpised the "birds" were served with bones as they were hidden
in the tart. Other folks loved the combo of Jonah crab salad pink grapefruit , bay scallops. I thought the winner was a dish with cornmeal fried west coast oysters, salt cod brandade and roasted tomato tampanade I could have had another of these. By the way, grapefruit is tough to pair with wine. Any suggestions for the future. I think champagne may have worked with that dish. The Duckhorn savignon did not hold up.
Entrees also were very good or ok. One person had a killer piece of Bison, in some type of curry and gold rasins. two of us had the Lam loin chops with lamb shoulder toasted barley and truffle essence. I love lamb brisket and have had a similar dish at Lacroix and fountain. The Lamb shoulder was very togh and undercooked. it had little flavor and needed some type of ragout of veggies or tomatoes.
The lamb loin was actually overcooked and the three chops were tiny. The truffle essence and the toasted barley were a great combo. My wife had an interesting dish of Black Bass with green herb veloute and a pesto over egg fettucine. Bass needed some type of flavor as the earthiness of the pasta and the herbacious sauce lacked depth and the bass actually had a "fishy taste" a little dissapointing.
The Newton Merlot we had purchased last month at the State store held up well. The Bison may have been better served with a cab.
On to dessert, we tried them all, cheese included 5 different desserts....not one oooh or oh or Katz deli "orgasm scene" amonst us. The concensus was a few of the cheeses (a roaring 40s blue, a montbriac and a tellegio type were outstanding as was the small batch wildflower honey they use. the Fromager/owner/waitress Amy? was very knowledgeable about cheese BTW. The other good dessert was madeleine cakes coffe ice cream and butterscotch.
I am still perplexed as to the reviews Django receives. Food was very good but not "wow" even in the context of Philly, economics aside I'd much prefer Foutain, Lacroix, Ritz dining room for food, ambience , service and overall experience. I expected a restaurant on the Level of what I consider 4 star restaurants in Philly and compared to the out of town delights of Per Se, Daniel, Charlie Trotter, Gary Danko...This is two notches below and and a least a notch below the aforementioned Philly restaurants IMHO. Did I miss something herer besides saving a few bucks on alcohol. I also believe Mr. Laban compromised his bell criteria of 4 bell as this could be 4 bell when the food is on (as others have told me it has been better). But the service, decor, ambience and NOISE LEVEL seemed to bew non factors in his Django reviews.