Bright Lights, Big City: Palladino’s Reviewed

Pork osso buco and Stecchini Genoves | Courtney Apple

Pork Osso Buco and Stecchini Genoves | Courtney Apple

With all due consideration for sore thumbs and Kim Kardashian’s badonka-donk, nothing sticks out from its surroundings quite like Palladino’s on Passyunk.

The Italian chophouse rears up over the Avenue’s Broad Street gateway like a wedge of layer cake iced by an architectural prankster. Its banded black and white facade serves up an allusion to the medieval tower of Siena’s Duomo atop the Streamline Moderne curve of a sidewalk-sheltering hip roof, and the whole thing is capped off with a sky-scraping signboard that broadcasts the restaurateur’s name in lipstick red.

And you can hear Luke Palladino’s Philadelphia debut from nearly as far away as you can see it. Saxophone-rock solos and Super-tramp reverberate on the covered curb with a brashness compounded inside by crowds that can be as boisterous on a Wednesday evening as on a Saturday night. You can take a chef out of Atlantic City, but apparently you can’t take Atlantic City out of this chef. Read more »

Roberto Cafe Becoming Ti Penso

ti-penso-400Roberto Cafe at 2108 South Street has closed and is under renovation. The BYOB will reopen under new management and with the name Ti Penso which, according to Google Translate, means “I think of you” in Italian.

When we get more details, we’ll be sure to let everyone know.

Ti Penso [Foobooz]

We Have the Menu for Drexel’s Arcobaleno Pasta Dinner

arcobeleno pasta extruder

Arcobaleno Pasta Machine | It’s the Rolls-Royce of pasta extruders and it makes chefs swoon.

Last month we told you about Drexel University’s Center for Hospitality and Sport Management’s spring series of dining events. Surprisingly, tickets actually remain for some of these events, including the Arcobaleno Pasta Dinner, featuring six courses for just $75.

But now we have the full menu from chefs Stephanie Raetano (Cappofitto), Brad Daniels (Osteria), Joe Cicala (Le Virtu, Brigantessa), Michael Rouleau (Sbraga), Tod Wentz (Townsend) and Damon Menapace (Kensington Quarters).

Check it out and forget about that low-carb diet for a night.

Read more »

TONIGHT: Lobster Spaghetti Deal at Little Nonna’s

Photo by Jason Varney

Valeri Safran and Marcie Turney at Little Nonna’s | Photo by Jason Varney

Tonight, Little Nonna’s on Locust Street is hosting Lobster Spaghetti night. For $25, you can get a one-pound lobster with spaghetti in a San Marzano tomato sauce. Now there’s a way to take the Monday out of Monday.

This isn’t the first time Marcie Turney and Valerie Safran have done this at Little Nonna’s. So make sure you’re following them (or us) on Twitter for the next announcement.

Little Nonna’s [Foobooz]

Mercato Debuts New Spring Menu

Mercato_SpinachCavatelli

Spinach Cavatelli

As the trees turn green once again, so do our dinner plates as restaurants transition their menus to lighter and brighter fare.

Mercato, the longstanding Italian BYOB on the 1200 block of Spruce Street, just introduced its spring menu, with new appetizer, pasta and meat dishes.

The new market salad includes ricotta salata, shaved asparagus, fava beans, strawberries, bibb lettuce and balsamic. Their pasta dish is a spinach cavatelli with veal ragu, pecorino romano, cream and fava beans. They also have a grilled spring onion risotto with (you guessed it) fava beans, mint, fennel, meyer lemon and pecorino romano.

Mercato also recently left OpenTable for Yelp’s reservation system. You can make reservations on their website here or give them a call at 215-985-2962.

Check out Mercato’s full menu »

Molto Molto: Gran Caffè L’Aquila Reviewed

Spaghetti carbonara | Photo by Ryan Scott

Spaghetti carbonara | Photo by Ryan Scott

Pretend you’ve been led into a new restaurant wearing a blindfold. We’re playing a game: When I uncover your eyes, you try to piece together enough clues to guess what sort of place we’re in. Go! The 24-flavor gelato counter would give it away too easily, so I yank the blindfold a few steps beyond it. Your eyes fall on a white wall lined with bottles of Campari and Martini dry vermouth. Fresh espresso hits your nose just as a Serie A soccer rerun steals your gaze. You look around. The place is choked with waiters rocking natty short-brim fedoras of a sort most often found atop comic-strip gangsters (but apparently resurgent in Milan). A montage of touristic photos and factoids loops on a second TV — tidbits about Venice and Rome alternating with Maserati commercials. Read more »

Brigantessa Is Rolling Out New Pizza Shapes

brigantessa-secret-pizzaBecause round is boring? Joe Cicala is rolling out an “underground” selection of his Neapolitan pizzas that will come in playful shapes at his Brigantessa. These pizza shapes are kind of the Lucky Charms marshmallows of the pizza world. Check out Brigantessa’s video where chef Cicala creates the Stella (star shaped) pizza with points stuffed with sheep’s milk ricotta and the Racchetta rolled on one end and stuffed with ricotta. Both of these odd shaped pizzas appear on the menu. Other shapes are only available by customers who are in the know.

More on the secret shapes »

Three Bells for Palladino’s

The Kobe Ribeye at Palladino's | Photo via Palladino's

The Kobe Ribeye at Palladino’s | Photo via Palladino’s

Craig LaBan finds that Luke Palladino has managed to find an unfilled niche in Italian-loaded South Philadelphia. At Palladino’s, there are excellent steaks, focaccia di Recco that LaBan predicts will become one of the most sought after plates in the city, and other dishes that stand out.

Among my other favorites were a juicy duck sausage roasted with pickled grapes over goat-cheese-whipped polenta; the baked crepselle rolled around wild mushrooms enriched with Taleggio; a refined casino take on oysters (instead of clams) that roasted those mollusks to perfection. A house-extruded pasta was the secret al dente weapon that elevated the spaghetti alle vongole with tender cockles in flavorful broth to another level.

Three Bells – Excellent

Palladino’s in South Philly: Northern Italian with a chop-house twist [Philadelphia Inquirer]
Palladino’s [Foobooz]

« Older Posts