- Neighborhood: Chinatown
- 138 North 10th Street, Philadelphia, PA
- Phone: 215-928-1883
- Cuisine: Chinese
- Alcohol: BYOB
- Meals Served: Breakfast, Dinner, Lunch
- Price: $
- Accepts Credit Cards: Yes
2016 was a big year in Philly’s restaurant community. We saw the openings of some of the best restaurants in the city–and a couple of the worst. We saw a continued revision of the city’s signature style–this kind of casual-local, over-educated, multiply-influenced neighborhood-level version of new New American that is unique to Philadelphia–and saw a kind of ennui settling into the heart of its cuisine. Fine dining took a few more body blows. Fast-casual continued to boom in a huge way. Our chefs expanded outside the bounds of the city and suburbs as Philly became a national force in cuisine, and we saw some big time national restaurateurs looking at Philly with hungry eyes and wondering what THEY could do here.
So yeah, it was an important year. A formative one. And Foobooz and Philadelphia magazine were there for all of it. This week, we’re looking back at some of the biggest names and biggest moments of the year gone by, and where better to begin than with the most important restaurants of the year?
Summer is a tough time in the restaurant industry. Things get quiet and weird when the mercury climbs. People eat later. They leave town. They abandon their regular haunts for beer gardens, beach bars and rooftop decks. Autumn is solid. Winter is dependable–there’s the run-up to the holidays, and then the post-New-Year slump. Even spring has its own kind of rhythm, with reservations and walk-ins increasing in direct relation to the calendar ticking forward through March and April and May.
But summer? Summer is fickle. Summer is flighty. Summer is something that most restaurants just survive.
The good news? The season is almost over. We’re rolling inexorably toward September now, toward Labor Day and back-to-school. But before we slide into fall and all of fall’s new openings, this seems like a good time to look back over the past six (or seven) month’s worth of reviews and see where we stand. To measure what we’ve gained, what we’ve lost and where you should still get to (or get back to) before all the new kids on the block get up and running for the season.
And the most obvious place to start is…
We have a wall at the office entirely given over to a Post-It Note snapshot of everything happening in the Philly restaurant world at this given moment. Hundreds of yellow squares, on which are written the names of restaurants, initials, arrows and mysterious heiroglyphs that only Art and I (and mostly I) can understand.
The Post-Its move. Get grouped, get broken up. The restaurants we love and the restaurants we hate are all represented (in wildly unequal numbers). Restaurants that are coming–addresses chosen, opening dates optimistically scheduled–have their own space, as do established and open restaurants whose reviews are in the works. Lately, that particular section of wall has been growing crowded. There are just so many goddamn restaurants coming (it’s spring, that happens) that it feels overwhelming.
So with six months of (mostly) weekly reviews behind me, and dozens of new openings incoming, I figured this might be a good time to look back and highlight the best moments of the past six months–places that you might’ve missed, places that you really ought to get to (if you haven’t already) before the lure of new-new restaurants becomes too overpowering.
So let’s start with…