Philadelphia has so many great new restaurants that it’s hard to keep track of what to eat where. Here’s a cheat sheet of some of the best plates in the city to try right now.
Milk and Cereal
You saw the review of Volvér here right? Well, this dish — in the full flower of its weirdness, with its rice flakes, black truffle, asparagus milk and innovative plating — is one of the big reasons for those groundbreaking four stars.
There may be some issues with dining upstairs, with all the formality, service problems and expense. But the smart money heads straight for the downstairs bar, where the cocktails flow and the lamb burger with red onion marmalade (and awesome stacked chickpea fries on the side) consistently wins over legions of fans.
Six-Hour Cured Cobia
at the Treemont
Chip Roman finally comes to Center City with this welcoming and inspired modern bistro. And the best thing on the short, well-balanced menu? This beautiful cured cobia with black rice and red beet vinaigrette.
It takes a lot to stand out in a restaurant neighborhood as overcrowded as East Passyunk has become. And yet Townsend Wentz manages it at his new spot, Townsend, where the menu is French-inspired and the stinging nettle soup with leeks and charred razor clams might be one of the most comforting things in the city for overfed, over-served and overawed foodies becoming jaded by lesser attempts at modernity.
Fried Game Hen
The hot chicken at Kevin Sbraga’s newer restaurant, the Fat Ham, became a classic the instant it hit the menu. This is an answering shot from Sbraga’s eponymous first restaurant — a perfectly fried vadouvan-spiced game hen with strong Indian influences, served over spinach puree and paneer cheese that is both like and completely unlike any saag paneer you’ve ever tasted.
at Petruce et al.
A lot of restaurants around town offer octopus, but no one does it like the crew at Petruce. Served over congee rice porridge, with field peas and a shot of killer hot sauce, it’s easily one of the best octopus presentations in town.
Originally published in the July 2014 issue of Philadelphia magazine.