Two Bells for Sbraga

Top Chef winner Kevin Sbraga receives two bells from Craig LaBan. LaBan sees promise for the Avenue of the Arts restaurant but had issues with the service and some of the details.

I found a handful of exciting ideas on these TV-gorgeous New American plates, but a surprising number of flavor details still needed more tweaking. His deep-fried Poussin rendition of Buffalo chicken was dry and bland. The fried sweetbreads for his revamp of vitello tonnato (a fairly common concept these days) were too thickly breaded. I love a chef with playful notions like the crimson beets roasted in pine needles beneath a “snow” of shaved frozen Gorgonzola and a “soil” of black trumpet streusel. It’s just unfortunate the caraway seeds in that pastry had a grittiness too close to the texture of something dug from the earth.

Two Bells – Very Good

Sbraga [Philadelphia Inquirer]
Sbraga [Official Site]

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  • Uncle Sam

    Top chef winner chief

  • LipidLover

    LOL @ FB

  • Anna

    Did I miss something? Is he an Iron Chef as well as a Top Chef?

  • Uncle Sam

    I can’t believe they didn’t fix it yet. Go ahead and put your stupid line though iron chef and replace with top chef. Does Philadelphia magazine really pay you?

  • Anna

    Maybe he won “Hell’s Kitchen” & “Chopped” as well and we just haven’t been informed.

  • Amitabh

    This place is great! Laban wants his own show.

  • Dilworth

    It’s funny because, if you read Craig(LaBan)slist, you could almost guess when LaBan had been in the restaurant. They had, maybe, 1 ad a month up since they opened looking for FOH staff and/or additions to their management team. They KNEW when he had been in and KNEW that they had totally dropped the ball. (I think they’re extremely lucky that LaBan didn’t just get up and walk out after 30 minutes of not receiving dinner menus. Can you imagine what that review would have been like?)
    I can only imagine what their next ad will look like: “Can you hand a table dinner menus in 15-30 minutes or less? Can you ensure that EVERYBODY gets their courses at the same time? Come on in!”
    Sbraga can relax. He’ll eventually get his shit together and get his 3rd bell by the end of the year.

  • jrw0305

    I’m very surprised by this review. I was there within weeks of the opening and thought it was excellent. Yes, my server was too enthusiastic – I’ll give Laban that – but I find it impossible to believe he and his party sat for 30 minutes without menus. Ostensibly there were servers serving the tables all around him- you mean to tell me that not one of them noticed a full table just sitting there? I’ll buy a delay, but a 30 minute one- that’s insane.

    Anyway, can’t believe no one recognized him. Kevin’s been around the block in Philly so I really figured he’d be all over it. Bet he had some words for the staff when this came out. Regardless, everyone else has had nothing but positive things to say and I’m sure as hell planning to go back, so this review likely won’t hurt too much. Kevin’s too established to have a Laban review carry all that much relevance…