Restaurant Review: Charlie Was a Sinner

Charlie Was a Sinner | Photos by Jason Varney

Charlie Was a Sinner | Photos by Jason Varney

Just how much sinning do you like to do over dinner?

That’s a good question to chew on at Nicole Marquis’s mysterious new bar on 13th Street, where you can drink bourbon and absinthe beneath a looming hardback edition of In Cold Blood, watch sultry projections of Marilyn Monroe flicker upon the ruffles of a diaphanous wall curtain, and soak up your alcohol with food completely untainted by animal products.

In an era abounding with culinary hobgoblins—gluten for him, fructose for her, GMOs for the guy down the street—veganism still reigns unrivaled as the diet of the ethically upright. But the plant-only jawn feels a little racier at Charlie Was a Sinner, and not just because it’s next door to the last surviving porn shop on this once-seedy strip. Marquis, the woman behind HipCityVeg, named her lounge the way Elmore Leonard started crime novels. Who’s Charlie? Has he—or she—repented? Exactly what sort of sin are we talking about here?

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The Mildred Is Closed


First, The Mildred was closed for a vacation. Then we heard that, due to wild variations in the number of people actually in the dining room on any given night, it was going to stay dark through the summer. A couple days ago, news started leaking out that the closure at 8th and Christian was going to be somewhat more…permanent.

And now it’s official: The Mildred is done. Representatives for ex-chef and partner Michael Santoro (who already has a new gig, running the vegan kitchen at Charlie Was A Sinner for Nicole Marquis) announced early this morning that he and Michael Dorris have closed The Mildred and parted ways “amicably.”

Santoro is reportedly looking for more opportunities to open restaurants of his own in Center City.

The Mildred [f8b8z]

Mildred Now Offering Prix Fixe Sundays with This Oven Roasted Quail

The Mildred is debuting a prix-fixe Sunday Dinner Menu this weekend. Chef Michael Santoro is offering a special three-course prix-fixe menu for $38 per person, every Sunday evening.

The menu which will change often and this weekend will feature

  • Rogout of duck with housemade gnocchi sardi and winter vegetables
  • Casserole of tortellini with roasted sunchokes, broccoli rabe and pickled date
  • Oven roasted quail with braised lentils and beetroot.

See Mike Santoro prepare the oven roasted quail »

The Mildred Filled with Potential

Adam Erace recently visited The Mildred, the new restaurant by former Talula’s Garden chef Michael Santoro. Expecting to find over-the-top plates, he was surprised to find dishes as simple as chicken and biscuits on the menu. However, his did not stop The Mildred from setting a great first impression.

What we’re doing here is more personal, straight-up good cookin’ with less reliance on garnish for garnish’s sake,” says the chef. “The food looks a lot different [from Talula’s], but there’s a thread running through everything I’ve been doing for the past several years: low-temp cooking, marinading, brining, braising, the application of food science, how it affects vegetables, eggs, milk.” In Philly, we don’t have the luxury of having known Santoro for the past several years. We don’t know the Santoro of the Blue Duck in D.C. or the Santoro of the Fat Duck in London or the Santoro of Gilt in New York. All we know is the Santoro of Talula’s Garden, which is why the rustic persona of the Mildred’s menu feels like such a curveball. But what’s happening in the kitchen, behind the scenes, Santoro insists, has always been the same.

Magic Mikes [City Paper]
The Mildred [Official Site]

Photo by Neal Santos

The Mildred Starts Weekend Brunch

The Mildred is launching brunch this weekend. Executive chef and owner Michael Santoro has created a menu capitalizing on the cast-iron cooking techniques he also uses in his dinner offerings. Among the highlights:

  • Baked Sourdough Pancake with Roasted Smokehouse Apples and Bliss Maple Syrup
  • Pan Roasted Hanger Steak & Eggs with Crushed Sweet Potatoes and Chive.

For drinks, general manager and co-owner Michael Dorris has created a beverage menu featuring four variations on the Bloody Mary.

Brunch is offered Saturday and Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Brunch and drinks menus »

About Last Night: The Mildred

Last night I checked out The Mildred on 8th Street and came away quite impressed. The creamy vitello tonnato, the scallops with roasted carrots and our main courses of quail with braised lentils, rib of beef with a clever parmesan trenne and hanger steak with pleasing potatoes anna were all worth ordering again.

The dining room was bustling, the diners looked happy. Check it out if you haven’t already.

September 26th menu at The Mildred (PDF)

The Mildred [Official Site]

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