When we visit family in Philly (we are from Boston), dining out in your lovely city is always a pleasure. About a year and half ago, we went to Marigold kitchen and it was one of the best meals we've ever had. The food was perfectly seasoned, done just right, and very creative. Unfortunately, we didn't have a chance to return until last week when we were in town for a short visit. But I am sad to report that this time we were somewhat disappointed. I don't mind the fact that they raised the prices (I thought their food was underpriced before anyway), but many of our dishes were nothing to write home about. The foie gras appetizer was REALLY salty (and I love salt), and somewhat tough. It wasn't the smooth texture you get in a terrine and it wasn't seared and served rare either. I believe it was salt cured (which I had before and really enjoyed), but here it was just too tough. The accopanying onions and honey cake didn't do much for it either. Sweetbreads appetizer was better, but not particularly memorable.
The entree of olive oil poached salmon with mushrooms and fiddleheads was quite excellent (if a tad oversalted) and the chicken with foie gras entree was mostly good (excellent foie gras -- tender and perfectly seasoned this time -- and juicy breast, but dry leg and boring fennel that could use some caramelization).
The cheese plate was excellent (5 good cheeses each with its own accompaniment), but the crackers served with them were completely uninspiring. The bread basket (which was gone by now), could use an improvement too. Semolina cake with rhubarb compote and ice-cream that we had for dessert was really good though. So as far as food goes, some was great, some was so-so. And at their new prices, I was hoping it would be better.
Another thing that really got to us was the noise level. We were there on a thursday night, but all the tables were full and we could barely hear ourselves talk. We sat downstairs which I thought was the only room, but now from reading the posts, I am guessing there is upstairs? Considering the fact that I made a reservation over a month in advance, I was hoping I'd get the best possible table, but I guess not.
Service was great though. Very friendly and efficient.
I guess I can't complain, especially coming from Boston where BYOBs are out-lawed. But I just couldn't help being nostalgic for Marigold kitchen when it first opened. Actually, let me clarify -- Marigold might have been a totally different restaurant when it *first* opened. What I mean is when it first reopened under this new management and changed their menu to be "innovative American" (about 2 years ago).
So, for future reference... Is there upstairs? Is it quieter than down stairs? Has anyone else noticed a change in the food quality or did we catch them on an off-night?
Thanks so much and we hope to visit Philly again soon!