A new Italian-Fusion BYOB restaurant opened, three weeks ago in South Philadelphia, called August. Located at the corner of 13th & Wharton Streets, it is a welcome addition to the neighborhood that serves neither red gravy or caters to the goomba crowd. The space is small but well appointed, call it Center City decor. The menu is easy to handle not overly ambitious. Only opened 3 weeks, the service was good and the food is on its way to being something special.
I had the marinated artichoke hearts with julienne sundried tomatoes and chick peas. It was a nice starter salad/appetizer. It lacked a finishing touch though a drizzle of good extra virgin olive oil, a dash of course salt and a fleck of freshly cracked pepper. My dinning companion had the spinach salad with pears and asiago cheese. Nicely presented - not too fussy and over-done.
For dinner - perfectly tender and rare medallions of tenderloin filet with sautéed spinach and rosemary and gorgonzola mashed potatoes. The beef was wonderful - full of flavor, tender, cooked just right. However, the presentation was a near miss. The plate was too big for the portion, though the portion was more than enough. The mashed potatoes were too thin and not silky smooth. The plate also needs a few more sautéed greens to round it out.
My partner had the penne pasta with shrimp and white beans. As is often the custom these days, the pasta portion was an ample serving for two. Though that did not deter us from nearly finishing the entire dish.
For dessert, very good espresso and a tender walnut tart. Neither too sweet or treaclely, the tart had a hint of orange zest and a light and flaky crust.
For those of you who live or travel south beyond the borders of Bella Vista - this is a place to check out. Cash only. I think it may improve once the crew hits its stride and fends off its desire to be a Center City bistro and settles into a great neighborhood staple.
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