A recent dish at Conshohocken’s Blackfish | Photo via Blackfish
In years past, there always seemed to be a few suburban spots we could depend on to crack our list of the best restaurants in Philly—places that were worth the drive and the time it took to step outside the echo chamber of Philly’s urban restaurant scene.
This year, though, was tougher. We lost a couple places that were always solid, saw some brave, pioneering chefs looking outside the more traditional restaurant neighborhoods, and decided that while not really strong enough yet to deserve a full list of its own, the suburban scene was sufficiently interesting to stand slightly apart from the main catalog of the 50 Best Restaurants.
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Illustration by Kagan McLeod
First things first, I have to thank you for being so good to Philadelphia since the last time I wrote you. I asked for a lot of things on behalf of the city last year — outdoor drinking and BYOs and soup and more delivery options — and you came through in spades.
This year, my requests for Philly are a little bit darker. Rather than asking for things we need, I’m asking for things to go away. This is mostly because we’ve had such a good year already, and because our neighborhoods are so full of amazing restaurants and chefs doing the best work of their careers. Hard as it might be to say, what Philly is due for is a cull. To keep the scene healthy. And Santa, sometimes hard choices need to be made.
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Craig LaBan is full of praise for MacGregor Mann’s Junto in Chadds Ford, calling it the best suburban dinner he’s had in a long time.
But there were so many highlights, especially with seafood, that my quibbles were minor. Huge scallops were perfectly fried in a sheer tempura crust made from sweet corn, amped by an intense brown chip of dehydrated scallop and a creamy remoulade of pureed mussels and lovage. Tart sorrel granita and shavings of fresh horseradish enlivened briny raw Cape May Salt oysters. Beautifully steamed black bass fillets basked in anise-scented froth over poached fennel. A lemon verbena white wine butter glaze added a subtle herbaceousness to that juicy fillet of smoked sturgeon.
Three Bells – Excellent
Read Trey Popp’s similarly positive review of Junto from the September issue of Philadelphia magazine.
Junto: One of the suburbs' top new restaurants [Philadelphia Inquirer]