Taste: Where We’re Eating: June 2009
At first glance, the hotel-lobby-esque decor of this new restaurant/jazz club — from the Bynum brothers of Zanzibar Blue fame — feels like an odd setting for the menu of down-South favorites. But step into the moody lounge area, with its corner stage and long oak bar, and your appetite for good old-fashioned Southern comfort rises. Here, the honey-and-butter-topped cornbread is baked to order, and the long-time-cooked turkey legs are just that — braised overnight, then smothered in the house-made rosemary gravy. Service can be slow, but when the jazz is playing, you won’t mind waiting. Insider tip: Jazz performances are only scheduled Thursday through Sunday.
7152 Ogontz Avenue, 215-276-0170, relishphiladelphia.com.
Daddy Mims/Johnny’s New Orleans Pizza Kitchen
John Mims (formerly of Bryn Mawr’s Carmine’s) has been busy with two new spots in the ’burbs. Daddy Mims is a little Creole BYO featuring standards like a spicy chicken andouille gumbo, and blackened fish with crawfish étouffée. Without even trying, we overdid it here, thanks to an overly rich bisque and a gargantuan crabcake. Mims’s casual pizza joint next door is better for those who crave the Big Easy without the bloat. The chef turns out slightly misshapen but delicious pizzas — the best of which might be the jambalaya pie with andouille, shrimp, and a kicky Creole sauce. Insider tip: Get two courses at Daddy Mims, and two pizzas at NOPK.
150 Bridge Street, Phoenixville, 610-935-1800.
If the short ribs you order have been cooking for three days, it’s normally a red flag. But at this cozy Montco BYO, it’s par for the course, because Rosalie is all about cooking sous vide. If you’re unfamiliar, sous vide involves placing meats in vacuum-sealed pouches and bathing them in a low-temp water bath for hours (or days) on end. In Rosalie’s case, sous vide lends itself to one sublime short rib and one very cool dining experience, in which four courses cost $55 to $65. The operation is limited to one fixed entrée per week, so you might get bluefish or lamb. Insider tip: The set menu makes wine selection a bit easier; call ahead for suggestions.
3401 Skippack Pike, Cedars, 610-584-1680, restaurantrosalie.com.
Q, BBQ and Tequila
In 1983, Kevin and Janet Meeker opened Philadelphia Fish & Company, a place that introduced us to mako shark and tuna served rare. Through 26 years, they’ve watched trendy eateries come and go, and they knew when it was time to revamp. And so was born Q, a place with straightforward Southern classics — pulled pork, chicken, ribs — as well as Mexican dishes like tacos and burritos. We wish the meats had more of the smoky flavor of finger-licking ’cue, and that side dishes were more delicate (although the collards were great). But this place’s cheap eats are a good way to get an Old City night started. Insider tip: There are more than 60 tequilas here. Shoot back a sampling, or try one in a drink.
207 Chestnut Street, 215-625-8605, qoldcity.com.