Hello fellow Hounds:
A dear friend took me to dinner this evening at a restaurant in Manayunk which she has been raving to me about for years - Grasshopper. A lovely little hidden gem at the western end of Main Street (4427 Main Street - 215-483-1888) that serves some of the finest Asian cuisine I have had the pleasure of trying in this city. We decided to order all appetizers and share and were not dissappointed. Our first course was a creamy and delicious lobster bisque and the tenderest escargot I have ever tried (unlike the usual "erasers-with-garlic-butter" that escargot seems to universally turn out to be). We then shared tender and delicate steamed veal dumplings and salmon ravioli served a with dill cream sauce. Both were excellent. Our final course was spicy and very tender Japanese eggplant and dry fried string beans that were still very crisp. Everything was lovely, simple and well presented, with very focused flavors. This place reminds me a bit of a much less stuffy/expensive Susanna Foo or my favorite Asian inspired BYOB in NJ, Le Me Toujours. The service was excellent and the chef was kind enough to come chat with us at the end of the evening. We shared a bottle of Hogue Cellars Riesling (at a reasonable $28.00 - side note: there are excellent and very reasonable selections on the small but well chosen wine list) and had a truly fabulous Creme Caramel with a beautiful burnt sugar cage over the custard that made a lovely presentation worthy of a great French restaurant's pastry selection for dessert. Good French press hazelnut flavored coffee accompanied dessert. All in all a lovely evening that would have set us back twice as much in town and wouldn't have been as unhurried and charming as it was elsewhere. I think Chowhounds would definitely appreciate the attention to detail and the excellent value that this restaurant offers more than most. Two thumbs enthusiastically up for Grasshopper!