We’ll start with the bouillabaisse. Well, actually, if we’re sitting down to dinner at this Conshohocken BYOB, we’ll start, please, with the rich house-smoked salmon, draped over — surprise! — a deep-fried, soft-centered egg, then the bouillabaisse, then the irresistible, if messy, still-hot vanilla beignets. But to explain the brilliance of Charles Roman’s Blackfish
, we need only speak of the bouillabaisse. This is a well-known and well-loved dish, just as the BYOB is a well-known and well-loved category of Philadelphia restaurant. And Roman doesn’t stray from those traditions; his talent is in the details. The classic, simple, elbow-to-elbow BYOB dining room gets more thought here — small artistic touches like the gleaming bent-spoon napkin rings on the white-linened tables, high-quality wine ware, and dazzlingly coordinated servers who swivel and shimmy smoothly through the crowd with Roman’s carefully plated dishes. And his attention to the bouillabaisse is as intense: Roman cooks each element of the stew individually, ensuring that the mussels are as satisfying as the crisp-skinned black bass, without sacrificing the flavor of the complex saffron-anise broth. More bread, please.
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