Bells Ring for Five

Every time you hear a bell ring, it means that some angel’s just got his wings.

Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankind; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

Two quotes about bells, that sum up two distinctly different reactions to Craig LaBan’s resetting of the eating landscape in the region.

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Fountain at the Four Seasons Closed for Maintenance, Swann Getting Truffled Beer

The Fountain at the Four Seasons is closed until January 17th. According to the PR person we spoke to at the Four Seasons, the four-bell restaurant is closed for routine maintenance that will only affect the kitchen, there won’t be any guest-facing changes. In the meantime the Swann Lounge is open for business. So it seems this construction will not address any of the issues raised by Victor Fiorillo in this Philly Post article.

In other Four Seasons news, Dock Street Brewing is brewing a series of collaborative beers to be offered exclusively at the Swann Lounge.

More on Truffled Old Ale »

News For People Who Like Bad News

Matt Levin will not be running Rubb when it opens on Main Street in Manayunk. What he is up to is anyone’s guess. [The Insider]

The Fountain is scaling back its service, dropping Monday dinner and its signature Sunday brunch except for certain holidays. [The Insider]

Delilah Winder of Delilah’s Southern Cuisine in the Reading Terminal is among the top five added delinquents to Philadelphia’s top business tax delinquency list. [Philadelphia Business Journal]

Wine kiosks are becoming a reality in Pennsylvania but just two (Chestnut Hill and the Northeast) will be in the city of Philadelphia. [Grub Street]

Headed to an open bar for New Year’s? They’re illegal. [The Insider]

And we’re working on bringing back our Closings section, until then you can find the bad news with our closings tag.

5 Stars For Fountain


The 2010 Forbes Travel Guide (formerly Mobil Travel Guide) as awarded the Fountain at the Four Seasons 5-stars. It’s one of just 21 restaurants in the United States and Canada to receive the prestigious honor. The last Philadelphia restaurant to hold 5-stars was Georges Perrier’s Le Bec-Fin but he relinquished the shiny stars last year as he went a la carte.

Inqlings: Fountain gushing with 5 [Philadelphia Inquirer]
Fountain Restaurant [Official Site]

The Four Bellers

4 bells

We were involved in a conversation over the weekend regarding Craig LaBan’s ratings where we were asked what restaurants have four bells. As we rattled them off, it dawned on us that not everyone is so dorky to have them memorized. So here are Craig LaBan’s four bell reviews with links right to the reviews.

Update: Craig LaBan rattled these four off in his online chat today. He also said that if he could have eaten more than one meal at Talula’s Table in 6-months it would have been “in that league” and “Jose Garces is bound to land 4 one of these days – his food is there, but there’s always something that holds me back.”

Four For Fountain


Despite changes in the kitchen, Craig LaBan finds the the Fountain inside the Four Seasons is still worthy of 4-bells. In fact he finds the restaurant so good he goes out of his way to mention just about everyone by name.

No doubt dinner here is still a gold-plated indulgence. But compared with the astronomic fees people now eagerly pay for grilled slabs of beef, this is a fair price for a genuine expression of culinary art. And this kitchen’s amazing consistency is, more than anything, a tribute to the longevity of its talented kitchen stalwarts – night chef David Jansen; chef tournant William DiStefano; day chef Ralph Costobile; banquet chef Joe Drago; and pastry chef Eddy Hales – who have more than a century of Fountain experience among them.

Unlike some kitchens, though, that august experience has never translated into stale cooking. Quite the contrary: The Fountain remains one of the most vital, worldly and witty kitchens in town. “Steak and eggs,” for example, will never be the same for me after the Fountain’s rendition, a rosette of beef carpaccio topped with crispy rails of Pont Neuf potatoes and a comet-shaped orb of tempura-fried egg yolk, whose exquisitely delicate micro-crust released a brilliant yellow gush at the tap of a fork.

 Four Bells – Superior

Fountain Restaurant [Philadelphia Inquirer]
Fountain Restaurant [Four Seasons]

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