Just wanted to post a brief message about the restaurants I visited during a brief visit to Philadelphia last week. I totally forgot to print out relevant ChowHound messages so probably missed out on lots of good places.
Sansom Street (15/16) Oyster House - this was a recommendation from our concierge and was good, if a bit bland. To start with we had some Snowy Creek oysters that were the best oysters that any of us had ever tried (we're from London), really fresh and quite massive too. Crab cakes were very good with huge chunks of crab and lots of paprika dusting. My companions had snapper (which was supposed to be wrapped in nori but wasn't when it arrived - we probably should have said something but apparently it tasted lovely as it was) and a mixture of everything platter that looked really good. Service was not particularly friendly and things like mayo came in little plastic containers which I didn't like. Had we not been on an expense account, I probably wouldn't have been too pleased, however, I can imagine that drinks at the bar and just oysters would be a good idea.
Joseph Poon(s) - Market St (just by 10th)
We really liked this place. I think we had fried dumplings (not really enough filling vs wrapper) and wonton salad to start. A couple of us had pan fried noodles, one with seafood and one with everything. The seafood on had tons of scallops, prawns and a few green lipped mussels, plus lots of very fresh vegetables. Another colleague had a special of scallops with some sort of sauce (sorry, that's not very informative) and made lots of approving gestures while eating. Service was perfect.
Can't remember the name but this was a Hunan (I think) restaurant about the 5th or 6th down 10th (on the left hand side) at the junction with Arch st.
This was a quick lunch before catching the plane (anything to forget the prospect of US Airways food for the next 6 hours). Hot and sour soup was a bit strange - is it supposed to be like jelly? It did taste nice. Adam had chow fun noodles with chicken which in his words tasted like someone who knew what they were doing had cooked them. Apparently that hasn't always been the case when he's eaten them in other places. I had a special that was half of a shredded chicken dish and half of a prawn/mange tout dish. On the menu it had a little chilli next to it but it really wasn't very hot at all. It tasted good though - the chicken was in a really rich dark sauce with lots of crunchy water chestnuts whereas the prawn was something lighter with broccoli, carrot and other veggies too. Other than the food, the highlight of this place was the Chinese Zodiac placemats that had frighteningly accurate character analysis on - kept us entertained anyway.
Our only other find on the trip was Oscar's bar on Sansom street (next to the Oyster House)which apparently does fantastic cheese steaks. We only sampled the beer and tunes from the incredibly bad/so-bad-it-was-wonderful jukebox though.