Last week, I was in Phila for 6 days visiting my hometown from L.A., where I live now. Here is my report:
Mon. night - Matyson w/ parents and sister - bright spots: good service, good prices, decent scallop entree, tasty jersey peach salad and chopped Mediterranean salad. Best dish by far - foie gras. Disappointments: steak frites (as noted by someone on this board, steak was fatty - fries were great though), lobster potato skins (I thought they would be interesting but they were TGI Fridays-ish - worst dish of the night), lobster bisque (bland). The desserts were delicious. Total bill for 4 was about $150.
Tues. night - Buddakan for a very large group (about 16). I have to say, they pulled it off. A large group on a full night (I was shocked how busy it was for a Tues.!) is tough, and I guess I expected Buddakan to have declined after all this time, but it was just great. We had a ton of dishes given we were sharing everything (I od-ed on calamari salad), and I assume most people are familiar with the menu so I won't go into each dish. Anyway, I was very pleased it went so well. Most of the group was from out of town and were very happy.
Wed. night - a few dishes at the bar at El Vez with a friend. Also ordered a margarita. Margarita tasted like it was made with Margarita mix (instead of fresh lime juice). They told me that was not the case, but I know my margaritas! Tequila's margaritas are about 100x's better. The few dishes we ordered were actually terrible. I had heard the food was decent, so this was a surprise.
Thurs night - Django. The most anticipated dinner of the week. I want to say it knocked me out (which it did the last 2 times I was there, which was a few yrs ago), but it didn't. That being said, it was very good. My expectations were probably off the charts given how ridiculously good it was on my first 2 visits. I cannot recall anything about the amuse bouche, but it was great. Then the 4 of us ordered 6 apps and 2 entrees. Apps included foie gras mousse (a bit bland), tomato cucumber soup (good but not too flavorful), crab galette -so delicious, and 3 others but I cannot recall but definitely enjoyed quite a bit. Pork entree was probably better than I thought b/c I don't love pork, and the monkfish entree was fine, if a bit unexciting. Desserts were delicious. Cheese plate was completely amazing. This place is an unbelievable value.
I also went to one of my favorite places on earth, La Colombe, once or twice a day. If only there was one in L.A.! I am glad this place always has a line b/c it is a local treasure. Coffee is pretty much a religion to me and La Colombe is my temple. Perfectly creamy cappuccinos that are strong to boot. Thank you, La Colombe, for being nonsmoking now!
Sadly, no time for a great hoagie or cheesesteak, nor did I get to Reading Terminal for my all time weakness, PB Choc Chip cookies at Famous 4th St. Yumm. I did, however, get a Rita's water ice after the Eagles-Giants game and was happy as a clam. I miss my hometown.