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Everything posted by deprofundis

  1. I have to agree with the above review. I dined at Bobby Flay last night (1/29). My experience was as follows... Myself and a friend had reservations at 7pm and were promptly seated. I had no problem with the service throughout the dinner, so I will focus on the food. Service was professional and attentive. I started off with a cocktail (an old fashioned). It was decent, but in my opinion slightly weak. Bread was served soon after ordering. As Tom above stated, bread was 2 different Parker House-style rolls - one plain, the other onion flavored. The bread was /okay/, but struck me as something you might get at a diner as opposed to a fancy steakhouse. Butter was whipped soft and served in a small dish. It tasted like it could have been frozen. For an appetizer I had the AC chop salad with lobster ($26). It wasn't bad, but not particularly memorable. Some of the lobster meat was slightly chewy, and for the price I might expect a little more lobster meat. My entree was the kobe strip ($85), which they said was 10oz. This was the first time I had tried a kobe steak, so I wasn't sure what to expect. The steak was visually unappealing - it was only approx. 3/4" thick, and looked rather like a cheap strip steak you might get at a supermarket. The steak was not tender, and the texture was slightly chewy. The flesh didn't easily yield as I cut into it. I kind of had to saw through it with the serrated steak knife. It appeared to be properly cooked - seared on the outside and red on the inside. The taste was VERY rich and buttery, but the texture and tenderness ruined it. Texture is 90% of what makes a great steak great. This is why so many people order filet over more tasty cuts like ribeye. In this regard, the $85 kobe strip was a complete fail. My friend ordered the filet. I tried a slice. It was good, but the flavor and texture were just not good enough to compete with other top steakhouses (like Old Homestead). I ordered a glass of pinot ($12). It was good, but for $12 I've had better. Sides were brooklyn hash browns, which we enjoyed, so I have to disagree with Tom on that one. Also, we got the mushrooms, which were very good but perhaps a little too sweet. The dry rubs on the steaks were OK, but honestly I think I would have preferred plain old salt and pepper. The sauce served on the side with the steaks was cloying and completely inappropriate for a quality steak. If you used this sauce, you would not taste the steak. For dessert we each had coffee and baked alaska. The coffee was fine. The baked alaska was very good, although I have had better. But it was a very competent rendition nonetheless. Bobby Flay really is not a top steakhouse, except for the prices. At this price point, he is competing with the finest in New York and Philadelphia. There is simply no comparison between Bobby Flay and places like Peter Luger, Wolfgang's, Old Homestead, Barclay Prime, etc. Bobby Flay is solidly 1 or 2 tiers below them all. I have eaten at Old Homestead in the Borgata as well, and while I feel that other places (like Wolfgang's) are better, at least at Old Homestead I feel like what you get is more in-line with a top quality steakhouse and the price points are fair. I also have to agree with Tom - the steaks do not seem like prime grade, and I know for a fact none are dry-aged (I asked the waiter and he admitted it). If I wanted to eat a second-class steak (can't afford Peter Luger all the time, ya know?), there are countless local places I could go to that are better than - and a fraction the price of - Bobby Flay. Hey, maybe I just had an off night. But I firmly believe that anybody recommending this place knows nothing about steak. I will not be back. Stay away, stay very far away.
  2. Le Bec-Fin is closing Article here
  3. I live up the street from Zinc and I noticed that they are advertising in the window that they have acquired a 19th century duck press. With two days notice, they will prepare pressed duck for two for $70. Has anybody tried this yet? Anybody know of any other places in the city (or tri-state area even) that serve pressed duck? From their website (zincbarphilly.com): "Fall / Winter menu starts October Special feature: Canard à la presse (1800 method to serve wild duck). With two days notice, we will serve you table side this Normandy duck in two services (Roasted breasts with sauce civet first and then grilled legs). Unique in Philadelphia! For $70 for two."
  4. This is probably true. If you order a chilled vodka, a lot of places may just give you a shot of vodka shaken with ice. If you order a vodka martini, you know you're going to get a big glass full of vodka.
  5. I had a nice meal at Wolfgang's (Park Ave.) on Saturday night, so I'm bumping this thread up. Fat Guy: have you made repeat visits to Wolfgang's since? Have subsequent visits confirmed that, as you earlier stated, there's no reason to travel to Luger's anymore? I arrived at Wolfgang's with 2 friends on Saturday night at around 8:15 for an 8:30 reservation. The place was very busy, and there were probably around 30-40 people waiting near the front desk and around the bar. We didn't have trouble getting a seat at the bar, though, as most people were just standing around. The drink prices seemed high even by Manhattan standards - $7 for a mug (smaller than a pint glass) of Budweiser, but whatever. $12 for a glass of red. $15 for a mixed drink. They give you homemade potato chips at the bar, which are very salty but tasty. A couple chips were kind of soggy. We waited around until 8:30 and asked the hostess again about our table, and she said they'd come get us at the bar when it was ready. The system seemed completely disorganized, and I suspected we would never be seated. We waited around for another 10-20 minutes before I gave up and slipped the headwaiter some cash. We got a table in literally about 60 seconds. I could see how this would be a huge turn-off to a lot of people, but the hassle to get a table really doesn't bother me that much, as long as the food is worth it. We ordered two strips of bacon, the tomato and onion salad, the steak for 3, and sides of mushrooms, sauteed spinach, and the hash brown style potatoes. The bacon was about 1/4 inch thick and had a great smokey flavor. The tomato and onion salad was good - it's probably really enough for 3 even though the menu says it's for two - but I personally probably wouldn't get it again because raw onions give me agita. The sides were all excellent, but the spinach was a little salty for my tastes. The potatoes were definitely a highlight, but they are very filling and I want to try the dessert next time. The steak: the porterhouse for three was HUGE and we probably could have gotten away with the steak for 2. It was not a porterhouse for 2 with an extra strip. It was actually 2 real porterhouses with 2 bones total. It was cooked perfectly to medium-rare, although it did continue to cook a little more as it sat on the sizzling plate. The char on the exterior was perfect and gave the texture a slight crunch. I could definitely tell the depth of flavor with the dry aging. I haven't been to Luger's yet (plan to in the next few months), but this was definitely the top steak I've had anywhere, although I admit that I need more data points for comparison. The total bill, excluding tip, came to $228. We had no room for dessert, but they looked great.
  6. I don't know that Per Se necessarily has to change because they don't list a price for the meal and then add a surcharge. You are only given the one price, in which it says service is included.
  7. deprofundis

    Per Se

    To be clear, are you saying that the prices for alcohol do NOT include service? I was under the impression that they did.
  8. It's a quality neighborhood joint, but I don't think I'd travel out of my way to go there. The ribs are decent, but not authentic smoked bbq. The place does have history and character. The "red gravy" style dishes are competently prepared, but this is South Philly so you could find better (and worse). I rate it a B.
  9. This is an interesting topic. According to Michelin's website, here are the critera for awarding stars (bold text added for emphasis. source: http://www.michelintravel.com/about/faq.html#10): ------- What are the criteria for receiving Michelin stars? Michelin employs a team of full-time professional restaurant and hotel inspectors who anonymously evaluate establishments according to a well-defined (but unpublished) set of criteria. All evaluations involve anonymous test meals or overnight stays at each establishment to assess the quality and the reliability of the experience. The star symbols judge only what's on the plate, meaning the quality of products, the mastering of flavors, mastering of cooking, personality of the cuisine, value for the money and the consistency of what the restaurant offers to its customers both throughout the menu and the year. One star indicates a very good restaurant in its category, a good place to stop on your journey. Two stars denote excellent cuisine, worth a detour, with specialties and wines of first-class quality. Three stars reward exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey, where diners eat extremely well, often superbly. The wine list features generally outstanding vintages and the surroundings and service are part of this unique experience, which is priced accordingly. In addition to the awarding of stars, the Michelin Guide provides a written description of each locale and a variety of other symbols to give readers further insight into an establishment's ambiance, type of cuisine and specialties, and wine list, among other factors. In addition, the guide provides a comfort rating represented by the use of one to five forks and spoons for restaurants and one to five pavilions for hotels. These symbols take into consideration the decor, service, cleanliness and upkeep of the surroundings. ------ I find that the "we judge only what's on the plate" statement is in conflict with the statement that the "surroundings and service" are part of a 3 star restaurant experience.
  10. Xiao Guan, Ken's, David's all hopping until about 3. I think David's might be open until 4 on the weekends? ← How about Tai Lake? Open til 3am 7 days a week. Good fish and frog tanks too.
  11. SSOH has closed and filed for Chapter 11: http://blogs.phillynews.com/inquirer/fooda...som_street.html The founder and owner of the building, David Mink, is expected to re-open the business with his son in charge.
  12. Just tried this place. I agree with Andrew - the soup dumplings had some texture issues. They had more filling and were not as soup-y as Dim Sum Garden (not sure if that's a good thing), but the filling was excellent. The noodle casing of the dumplings is not as delicate as what you would get at Dim Sum Garden. I also had the pork "stomach" (I think they meant belly) w/noodles. I don't believe the noodles were homemade - they were too perfectly shaped and had an almost al dente texture. The broth, however, was outstanding. Very rich. The pork bellies were ok (a little rubbery though), but I think not really my bag. I got sick of them after a while, so I would try something else next time. It's a difficult choice, but overall I would have to give the edge to Dim Sum Garden, mainly because their execution is much better. This place is still very new though, so in a few months they may turn out to be something special.
  13. If you go don't leave a tip. Apparently the owners keep the money for themselves. See the comments below. http://www.citypaper.net/food/restaurants/id/3080/Arbol+Cafe
  14. That's pretty funny - I left WT for South Philly and haven't looked back. WT isn't all that bad for food though. An awful lot of South Philly places have opened up WT locations. Terminis has a branch in WT. There is a Cacia's in nearby Blackwood (I think a relative of the guy at 15th & Ritner, but just as good). There was a Barrel's there, but they didn't last long. There is a Talluto's in WT. For Italian cuisine, I would recommend Pasta Pomodoro (next door to Sal's Pizza, same owners). It holds its own against any Italian place in the city (at its price point). Liscio's bakery has a branch across the street from Sal's. I believe Tony Luke's uses Liscio's bread. For italian pastries, try Gianino's, in the same strip mall as Talluto's. For chinese, Lotus and Chef Chun are both excellent choices. Iron Moto, near the Walmart, has respectable Japanese. Pizza is WT is generally better than the pizza I've had in Philly. Seems like for every great pizza joint in Philly there's 20 horrible ones. You won't find the fancy brick oven type stuff in WT, but your average pie in WT will be better than your average pie in South Philly. Ditto with the chinese food. Chinese in Philly is dominated by crappy corner takeouts. It's rare to find good Chinese outside of Chinatown.
  15. That's a pretty good special. I always have to laugh when I see these CC bar "specials" that are like $3 for a Miller Lite, as if that's supposed to be some kind of bargain. Anyway, you can't go wrong with Chinatown. Every place I've eaten at down there is pretty good and cheap to boot. If you can make it down to South St, plenty of cheap eats there too. My favorite cheap dinner: slice at Lorenzo's + soda for $3. For coffee and dessert, Beau Monde at 6th & Bainbridge is excellent, but I wouldn't say it's really cheap. Coffee and a dessert crepe will probably run you $10+ each.
  16. ← The hottest wings I've ever had were at Sharky's bar. Two locations: Lindenwold and Williamstown NJ. You can order them in a few levels of hotness I think. I love spicy food so I had to have the hottest. The waitress that brought them out said that her eyes were watering just from holding the basket. They were way hotter than any wings I've had anywhere else. I wouldn't recommend them for amateurs. Can anyone back me up on Sharky's extra hot wings? I haven't tried the Jughandle yet. That place always seems to top the list of every local wing joint.
  17. The two famous cheesesteak places across the street from each other are Pat's and Geno's. They're located in south philly, where Passyunk Ave crosses 9th St. It's pretty far from where you're staying, but you'll have your car right? Maybe a 20 minute drive (lots of lights and stop signs). Is it a tourist trap? Maybe. Both make pretty good cheesesteaks, but not the best in the city. I'm partial to Geno's, but they're inconsistent in my experience. It's probably worth a visit. The Italian Market is on 9th Street, just north of Pat's and Geno's, and goes up to Christian Street. Also worth a visit, especially if you're going to be in the area for cheesesteaks. That sounds a little snooty of the NYT. lol Actually they're probably right though. The Rocky stairs are the stairs for the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the enormous building at the end of the Ben Franklin Parkway. Also far from where you're staying, but you'll have a car, no? If you're into art museums it's worth a visit. Oh as far as getting around the $20/day parking fees in Center City, you'll have to suck it up. You can park at a meter if you like moving your car every 2 hours. The closest free street parking is probably at least 5-6 blocks away from where you're staying.
  18. I got the hankering for a sausage and peppers sandwich today so I headed over to Tony Lukes. What a disappointment! They use sausage patties instead of links, and the meat was very gristly and pretty bland. Avoid that one. Other disappointing dishes at otherwise great restaurants: The chicken parmesan at Shank's. Very dry and tough meat. The ribs at The Smoked Joint. Sorry, they suck. On the other hand, some pretty mediocre restaurants occasionally turn out the fantastic dish, the wings at JC Chinese for example. I haven't tried it, but I recall Holly saying the buttercream cake at the Melrose was great. Anybody have anything else to add to the list?
  19. How about The Black Door at 2nd & Bainbridge? I haven't been there yet but it looks interesting.
  20. Damn that looks good. I'm going tonight!
  21. Just tried the wings. They are great! They come with a really thick, sweet honey sauce. You get 12 for only $4.50 + tax. They're not too big though, but the serving size is just about right because they're so sweet. I highly recommend the wings.
  22. Has anybody been to JC Chinese at 8th & Morris? When you walk in the front door you're in a bar. The dining room for the Chinese restaurant is down a hallway and waay in the back so you can't see it. There's no windows in the whole place either. The first thing I noticed is that there's no Chinese people working there! They have an old newspaper review hanging on the wall that gives some information about the place. It was started 50 years ago by an Italian guy who thought the locals shouldn't have to go all the way to Chinatown for Chinese food. They claim to be the first Chinese restaurant in south Philly and the first to offer delivery. It's owned by Jon DeChristo. Apparently they do have a Chinese chef. They're famous for their chicken wings, which I have yet to sample but will definitely do very soon and report on it here. I tried their chicken with garlic sauce. It was nothing to write home about. The sauce literally looked like motor oil (and was about as viscous). The chicken was pretty tasty though. So far I don't really see anything that distinguishes their food from any of the other 10,000 Chinese restaurants around here, but the place is definitely an oddity and probably warrants a visit. :-)
  23. I don't think anybody mentioned this, but some time ago city council enacted a 5 year moratorium on new restaurants in Manayunk. I believe it's expired by now, but you can imagine that it had to slow down Manayunk's boom quite a bit.
  24. Just had the 2 meat sampler (ribs and brisket) with baked beans and collard greens. I was underwhelmed by the ribs (maybe I just don't care much for baby backs?), but the brisket was excellent. The ribs were meaty and pretty tender, but didn't seem to have much flavor or smokiness. Adding their barbecue sauce helped a bit. As for their sauce, I rate it not quite as good as Tommy Gunn's or Smoked Joint, but still very good. Better than any sauce at Famous Dave's. The brisket was smokey and tender, and not very fatty. One of the best I've had yet. The baked beans were excellent. Collard greens were just OK. Cornbread was decent. Way better than Tommy Gunn's. Wasn't the more savory kind like at the Smoked Joint, but not too sweet either. All around it was a very good meal, but I wouldn't get ribs here. I have to try a pulled pork sandwich next time I go back. Total meal including soda set me back a little over $14. A good value. I give the place 3.5 grease stains (can you give a half grease stain?). I may up it to 4 grease stains if the pulled pork is great. I can't, however, award the coveted 5th stain because of the ribs.
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