Two Bells for Crow and the Pitcher

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Craig LaBan enjoys the ampersand cuisine of Alex Capasso’s Crow & the Pitcher where Le Bec Fin’s gilded cheese cart meets up with small plates and burgers.

Capasso’s mussels are easily some of the best in town – clean, perfectly cooked, bathed in a creamy natural broth fortified with vermouth. The house-made charcuterie platter is also satisfying, its chicken terrine creamy with confit fat and leg meat, a heady lamb terrine piqued with olives & silky foie gras cured in Sauternes. Crisp nuggets of tender sweetbreads play against the bitter, roasty crunch of brussels sprouts in bordelaise.

Two Bells – Very Good

Crow & the Pitcher [Philadelphia Inquirer]
Crow & the Pitcher [Foobooz]

Three Bells for Petruce et al

petruce-940Petruce et al is the ninth three bell review for Craig LaBan this year, a number it usually takes a year to achieve. In La Ban’s review states that this effort by Justin and Jonathan Petruce is one of the best.

Petruce may well become best known for interpretations of some true basics – such as lasagna, roast chicken, and steak that are instantly among the city’s best. The hearty eight-layer lasagna, its fresh pasta ribboned with nutmeg-scented béchamel, is oven-finished to a crunch in cast iron. The simply roasted chicken brings parchment-crisp skin and juicy flesh, with creamy grits ringed by an electric-yellow sauce of slow-cooked yolk thinned by white soy and lemon.

Three Bells – Excellent

Wood-fired excellence at Petruce et al [Philadelphia Inquirer]
Petruce et al [Foobooz]

Restaurant Review: The Treemont

Photos by Courtney Apple

Photos by Courtney Apple

If a tree falls in a forest with no one to hear it, is there a sound? That may be the question for the Treemont. Or, rather: If nettle and ricotta gnudi this exquisite hits a table on 15th Street, will people put down their pint glasses and chicken wings long enough to take heed? Hemmed in between pub central, a bike-messenger dive and the downtown Applebee’s, Chip Roman’s Center City debut sits on a corridor of middling expectations. And no sooner did it open than a demolition began clearing space for a giant Cheesecake Factory a block to the north—stanching the flow of pedestrians past the Treemont’s understated awning.
Read more »

Restaurant Review: Petruce et al

Whole grilled sea bream | Photo by Jason Varney

Whole grilled sea bream | Photo by Jason Varney

Philadelphians have a lot of things to be thankful for, and one is that Justin and Jonathan Petruce aren’t trying to sell them pizza. There’s been some confusion about this. “When people hear that we have a restaurant with a wood oven and grill, the first thing they ask is if we make pizza,” says one of the brothers. “Actually, they’re more like, ‘What kind of pizza do you make?’” says the other.These are understandable assumptions. The Petruce brothers in fact wanted to open a pizza parlor. They even went to Italy, in 2010, to learn how.

“But then everybody in Philadelphia decided to open a pizza place,” Justin says.

So they just kept on cooking for other people. Between them, the Petruces have worked — occasionally together — at Mémé, M Restaurant, Fish and Little Fish. In March, they hung out a wooden shingle etched with their own name.

Read more »

M’Ocean Opens in Cape May

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Cape May used to have a restaurant-bar called Martini Beach and its concept was perfect for right around the time Stephen Starr opened his first martini bar, Continental. As we all know, that was a long, long time ago. Alas, Martini Beach has closed, and in its place, M’Ocean, a fine-dining restaurant for Cape May’s bustling restaurant scene.

The Menu»

Avance Rolls Out Spring Menu

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Interested in what Justin Bogle is doing with the bounties of spring at Avance? Check out the recently refreshed a la carte, tasting and bar menus.

The signs of spring are particularly noticeable in the five-course tasting menu, where ingredients include spring peas, morels, spring onion and rhubarb.

On the bar menu, a few new exclusive offerings have been added including “bacon and eggs.” a dish that seems similar to what Bogle served at the Foobooz After Dark with Bogle and Will’s Chris Kearse.

Avance Spring Menus (PDF)

Avance [Foobooz]

Crow & The Pitcher Opens on Rittenhouse

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Alex Capasso quietly opened his Rittenhouse Square restaurant, Crow & The Pitcher on tax day. The revamp of C19 makes the space more rustic with pub tables in the front and a more formal dining area beyond the bar. Capasso’s old boss Georges Perrier was hanging out when we swung by to grab a copy of the opening menu. The menu ranges from $6 for a salad with Boston lettuce to $28 for a rib-eye steak.

The restaurant and bar will be open Tuesday to Sunday, from 4:30 p.m. – 2 a.m.

Check out the full menu »

Chip Roman’s The Treemont Opens Today

treemont-accent-wallChip Roman’s The Treemont opens today at 15th and Locust. It is the fourth restaurant for Roman, who also owns Blackfish, Mica and Ela, as well as Tradestone Confections and Tradestone Cafe. The former Tietra has been revamped with an updated interior and will offer a menu of modern American fare with an emphasis on seafood. The menu is broken down into snack, land, sea and entree sections. Prices range from $4 for spiced almonds to $26 for a veal tenderloin prepared with green olives, fermented barley and wild onions. The menu also offers a couple plates for two, including a dry-aged Berkshire pork chop for $46 and a fish of the day at market price. 

The Treemont has a liquor license and offers a dozen beers by the bottle or can and twelve wines by the glass. The cocktail list includes six house cocktails plus a list of alcohol-free refreshments.

The Treemont Opening Menu (PDF)

The Treemont [Foobooz]

Where We’re Eating: Vernick Food + Drink

Photo by Karrisa Olsen

Photo by Karrisa Olsen

I can remember, a long time ago, back when Greg Vernick was first opening his eponymous restaurant on Walnut Street and the early reviews were just coming in, talking with my food-nerd friends about the place—about how good it already was, and the weird feeling we all had that it somehow had the potential to get even better. Now, two years in, it seems to have arrived. The menu, with its oysters and small plates, simply roasted fish and chicken and brilliant toasts, is solid and welcoming and comforting while at the same time inventive enough to never be dull. The short cocktail program is well thought-out, and the service has mellowed and relaxed into a perfect upscale-neighborhood-restaurant model, with easy smiles all around. While there have been some complaints that the menu doesn’t change often enough, the benefit of this (relative) stability has been a crew brought up on consistency and attention to detail, which shows through on every single plate.

Vernick Food + Drink [Foobooz]

Brauhaus Schmitz Crew Going American at Whetstone Restaurant

jeremy nolen whetstone squareBrauhaus Schmitz chef Jeremy Nolen is opening a restaurant of his own. Whetstone Restaurant will be a casual American bar and restaurant that will take over the former Tapestry space at 5th and Bainbridge. Nolen will be the chef at Whetstone as well as Brauhaus. He’s joined in the venture by his Brauhaus Schmitz compatriots, Doug and Kelly Hager.

Nolen says that Whetstone, which will feature 20 or so drafts plus a wines and brown liquors will open this summer.

The bar will be a welcome addition to Queen Village, which supported Tapestry but saw the popular bar close anyway. Some have suggested the corner, which was also Adsum and Coquette, is cursed but we have a feeling that Whetstone will be a winner.

Whetstone Restaurant [Foobooz]

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