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Restaurants & Bars

Philly trip report

shellymck | Jul 9, 2004 02:06 PM

We recently returned from five nights in Philly. Thanks much to those hounds who responded to my earlier post about Philly eating. I relied on those posts as well as research I did about a year ago for a weekend getaway to pick our restaurants.

Buddakan—We really enjoyed our meal here. I was a bit wary going in, wondering if it was more flash than substance but my fears were allayed with the delivery of the first dish—the ginger salmon appetizer on wasbi toasts—just the right combination of textures and flavors. The entrees we ordered included pad thai with shrimp, a shrimp salad concoction with pineapple sushi and the pork tenderloin with onion rings and Chinese broccoli. The shrimp on both dishes were huge and succulent, the pad thai though not completely traditional (spicier than most) was absolutely yummy and the sweet pork went perfectly with the bitter greens. The onion rings, made with Panko bread crumbs were some of the best I’ve had in a while. For dessert we shared a chocolate bento box and our companion got the parfait which she deemed good. The bento box was quite inspired I thought and one of the better desserts I’ve had in a while. It included a bittersweet molten chocolate cake, a mocha ganache, chocolate covered almonds, ginger chocolate biscotti and a white chocolate mousse. A great dessert to share and compare the varying intensities of chocolate. Service was fine, no attitude. The only complaint I had was about my iced tea. As a rule I think restaurants should warn you if they do something out of the ordinary with run of the mill things. Instead regular iced tea they served some Tazo green tea thing from a bottle which she opened before I even realized that that was supposed to be my iced tea—I did not like it but since we were someone from work I didn’t make a big deal about it.

Our meal at Brasserie Perrier was also quite enjoyable. We made reservations for the dining room but ended up eating in the lounge area so that we could have a more private table. As a result we were able to eat off the dinner and lounge menus. My guy had the steamed clam special as an app followed by the steak-frites. I had eggplant soup special followed by the cavatelli with spinach and prosciutto. Everything we had was tasty. He really liked the steak but the fries were just regular thin cut, not those ultra thin things you get some places. My soup was surprisingly light and herbally and the pasta was delightfully chewy and hearty. Service was good too. I ordered the pasta as an app portion not noting it was also listed as a dinner, so of course a whole portion arrived at the table. Our friendly server adjusted the bill for the lower priced portion even though I ate the whole thing—a very nice gesture on her part.

Our dinner at Django was somewhat of a disappointment though not entirely because of the restaurant. The only reservation we could get was a 9 pm which I should not have taken because by the time we got there we were too hungry and grumpy from killing time. I found the restaurant space a bit overheated and did not like how tightly packed the little tables were. My 6 ft 4 guy kept getting pushed by the person seated behind him. The kitchen’s distinct cooking style was obvious in our dishes: lobster escabeche for him followed by duck ravioli and mozzarella and spring vegetables for me followed by risotto with crab stuffed squash blossoms. We liked all of the dishes and appreciated the lightness of the food and the freshness of the ingredients but somehow that just wasn’t enough to make me smack my lips. We had made the reservation with the express purpose of having the cheese course only to find out at the end of the night that the regular cheese course was not being served because the fromager had taken a personal day and a four cheese plate was being served instead. We took a pass.

Our last night in Philly was spent at Tria. Luckily we went with two friends so that we could order more cheese samples. Service was friendly and they accommodated us when asked to lower the volume of the music. We shared a platter of two goat cheeses, both yummy, Montgomery Cheddar, La Serena and a blue. Condiments were macerated cherries, almonds, fancy honey and fig spread. Breads were white and raisin-walnut. Following the cheese we had vegetarian antipasto, cold cut platter and a walnut gorgonzola salad. I wished that the antipasto had had some sweeter elements such as tomato to help cut the oily/vinegary flavor of the plate. The meat plate was good but it should have been served with butter, mustard and pickles, as charcuterie plates are traditionally in France rather than the mustard and ??(drawing a blank here). This was a good set up for sharing with friends and we had a great time talking about cheeses, food preferences, etc.

Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Capogiro gelato which I visited twice during my stay. Last year when we came to Philly we ate at Pasion and Striped Bass but what I remember most is Capogiro. It was just as good this time around. My first combo was Bittersweet chocolate, straciatella peppermint and mexican chocolate, which was particularly amazing—cool, sweet, chocolatey and spicy hot all at the same time. Second combo was Nutella, burnt caramel and bourbon butterscotch. Nutella was even better than nutella in a jar but the other two flavors were just nice, not amazing.

Thanks again for your recs.

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