Ben Franklin once said, “Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.” I’m like 80% sure he was talking about voting in this year’s Food & Wine People’s Choice Best New Chef competition.
Food & Wine‘s fifth annual People’s Choice Best New Chef competition is officially underway, and Philly is reasonably well represented with Nicholas Elmi, Peter Serpico, and Greg Vernick all getting nominations. Voting begins today and ends April 8th, so you should probably (definitely) vote to make sure one of our boys makes it through to the finals. Do it for them. Do it for me. Do it because NO Philly chefs made the editor’s list of Best New Chefs this year. It’s your civic duty.
I was at Aldine for dinner on opening night, and it was awful.
Of all the dishes set before me, I only found two of them appetizing enough to finish, and with another one, I had to pull the old Oh look, some of it fell on the floor trick just to make it appear as though I’d taken more than one bite.
But it’s okay. Don’t worry. Aldine got better.
I ate at Sbraga years ago, shortly after it opened. It was one of the most talked-about restaurants in the city, but not all the talk was good. And, frankly, neither was dinner. It was gimmicky, too clever, muddled in a way that I think was supposed to feel casual and fun but didn’t.
But Sbraga got better, too. Read more »
There’s only so much a clean bathroom can tell you about a restaurant, but every now and then they speak volumes.
To face the poster of Olivia Newton-John wearing her “Physical” gear in the Juniper Commons men’s room is to know, conclusively, that there’s no escaping the 1980s there. The inexplicably unflattering powder-room lighting at the late, unlamented Avance — which had inherited perfectly good illumination from Le Bec-Fin — encapsulated the misguided priorities that sank the place. Even the community chalkboards lining Crow & The Pitcher’s facilities testify to that restaurant’s yearning to be adopted by a neighborhood that’s never really rallied behind a tenant at that address. (And where else but Miami Beach could have a setup like this?) Read more »
So Philadelphia, it seems, is having something of a moment.
There was the Bon Appetit piece on Reading Terminal Market. There was the New York Times naming Philly as one of the “52 Places To Go In 2015,” and putting us third on the list behind Milan and Cuba–which means, yes, first in the United States.
Now, Travel + Leisure has just come out with their list of the best new restaurants in the world, and has given Philly a page, noting, “This unsung destination has blossomed into one of the U.S.’s most exciting restaurant cities—Portland East?—with a fierce indie spirit and world-class kitchen talent.”
Nice, right? Local names given a specific shout-out include Serpico, Michael Solomonov (Zahav and FedNuts, sure, but more lovingly Abe Fisher and Dizengoff), and both Fork and High Street On Market which gets the closing line, reading, “The artisanal breads and the caraway-rye rigatoni with pastrami ragù are reasons alone to go to Philly.”
So we’re awesome is the point here. At least for today. But in the immortal words of the legendary Dirk Diggler, “We can always do better. I’m gonna keep trying if you guys keep trying. Let’s keep rocking and rolling, man!”
Travel + Leisure – Best New Restaurants [Official]
Photo courtesy High Street On Market’s twitter
Three months. That’s about how long it takes us to eat at every important restaurant in the city. And then eat there again. And, sometimes, again.
Read more »
Serpico has been promoting his $65 family-style Christmas Eve dinner on social media but until now hasn’t shared the menu. If you’re interested in a dinner that certainly isn’t the feast of seven fishes or have an out-of-town friend coming to town, that you want to impress, this might be the dinner for you.
TONIGHT IT BEGINS!!! Weds city wide spec! your choice of Ramen, Kenzinger Beer and a glass of Sake: $15, all night long
— SerpicoOnSouth (@SerpicoOnSouth) November 19, 2014
Number one, this is a great deal. Number two, it’s awesome that it’s coming from a place like Serpico because it’s exactly the kind of thing that might get more people into Serpico who wouldn’t otherwise give the place a shot. Number three, while gimmicky Citywide-type-objects (and particularly those that cost more than a few bucks) are not generally my cup of tea (or Jim Beam), this one, especially with its ramen kicker, seems like a pretty sweet way to get folks through the door on a cold Wednesday night.
Peter Serpico just tweeted out this snap of the newest menu at Serpico on South Street. There are some classics on there (the corn ravioli, the lamb ribs), but I like seeing those two kinds of ramen. And the $9 pig’s head? That alone is enough to make me want to get back for another dinner. It’s been too long.
Serpico is also saying that they’re doing five specials tonight. And there’s always the tasting menu, too.
When Serpico first opened on South Street, one of the main draws was the big, open kitchen and the man himself — Peter Serpico, late of the famous Momofuku empire, standing right there making dinner for you. The most popular seats in the house were the ones snugged right up against the counter behind which Serpico did his work.
Zahav has never wanted for trade, but when Michael Solomonov started running his Kitchen Counter dinners, people went bonkers. Fork’s cooks work right out in the open, filling the dining room with excitement that goes far beyond the drama of plates being walked across the floor. Petruce et al., Vernick, Cheu — they all let you sit within poking distance of the cooks. At Volvér, the kitchen isn’t just open to view; it’s integral to the layout of the dining room. Customers are told (repeatedly) to go up to the pass and watch the chefs working. To ask questions.