--First night, Dmitri's
Although our appetizers of hummus and baba ghanoush were wonderfully prepared, I have absolutely NO idea why this restaurant is so highly rated by locals and chowhounds.
The service is desultory (we had to BEG our waitress for a new batch of pita toasts after ours arrived at table completely black and charred). The tilapia entree (a highpoint according to many chowhounders) is just decent- nothing special. The shrimp saute is simply mediocre. I could have made this concoction on my stove top. In fact, I have! And I make no claims to being a great cook. The overcooked and admittedly plentiful shrimp were prepared in a tomato sauce with oily onions and assorted veg.
Finally, the grilled squid- an entree I have tried at other places- was disgusting. It tasted like the charred pita from the beginning of the meal. The rings were not tender; they were off- tasting and oily. Blech.
We had a happier dining experience at Buddakhan. We ordered the calamari salad, edamame ravioli, wasabi beef, pad thai with shrimp, black cod, and donuts. All were executed well- and the service was great.
I especially liked the wasabi beef and calamari salad. Although I have eaten similar salads, this one is a particularly good one. I liken this place to a China Grill in NY and Miami. I would go back.
On our last day, our concierge recommended brunch at Brasserie Perrier. What a mistake!! Two out of three of us ordered the 28 dollar prixe fixe menu. My dining companion ordered the soup of the day- a mushroom soup accented with truffle oil and a lamb burger. The soup was terrible- vinegary and so heavy. He sent the thing back and got in its stead a bowl with pappardelle noodles and beef tips in veal jus. This one was good- except two out of the four beef tips were inedible! The lamb was decent- nothing amazing, just good enough .
I had a duck eggroll appetizer and the sea bass with thai veg. The sea bass was good. It was a dish that was good for the season. The eggroll, however, I found to be very heavy and oily.
My other companion had a soft shell crab sandwich with potato salad. The crab sandwich was left on the plate. The person who ordered it complained that she felt nauseous from it after a few bites.
All in all, the food was very, very poor. It was heavy, oily and wrong! for the season. I would have liked to have seen a seasonal menu. I thought that a chef of Perrier's reputation would do a whole lot better. Service was also lax. Food came out at different times (lunch was close to two hours - and there were only two more tables). One of the waiters made us hold our entree dishes so he could take away our appetizer plates. An additional waiter was incredibly officious- even though there were only two other occupied tables in the restaurant.
In addition to the above places, we went to several others - Davio's for brunch- pretty- but one can't eat pretty- and Square on Square- a decent, but not wonderful Chinese place.
I love Philly- and I consider it to be one of the greatest eating towns in the world. However, this visit did leave me disappointed. Perhaps, in the future, I will have better success.