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Mano

Best food & wine list in Philly

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I've been presented with a rare opportunity to dine at any restaurant I choose on someone else' dime. A business acquaintance owes me, first, for a very profitable matter I referred to him and second, because he screwed me, big time, in another matter. He's very wealthy and has dined at the finest restaurants around the world. I'm not the kind of guy who is into paybacks, but in this situation I'm perfectly comfortable having dinner with him and running up the bill. My wife will join us.

While, I want to go someplace we couldn't ordinarily afford, most important is food that's prepared by a great chef, as well as an excellent wine list.

My immediate thought is Vetri, but I know nothing about the wine list. I'd love to have the option of ordering wines the likes of Gaja and finish dinner with a half-bottle of Chateau d'Yquem. I love well prepared dry aged prime beef , but have no interest in being a chazer by going to Barclay Prime for a kobe steak.

We could go to NYC, but spending that much time traveling there and back with this fellow might spoil the evening.


“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

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Table 31 looks like it might fit your criteria. Lots of expensive cuts of meat, a well reknowned chef and a pretty stacked wine list. I had dinner there for Restaurant Week and it was top notch. The Italian sommelier ought to be able to help you run up the check effectively too.


Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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Table 31 is definitely expensive, but I've had some really lackluster food there, if food is your #1 criteria and wine #2 I think you will be disappointed there. I'd go to Vetri. I usually order wine by the glass, so I can't say for sure, but my recollection of Vetri's wine list is that it's at least as big as Table 31's.

OK, I just checked Vetri's website and found this about Jeff Benjamin, the sommelier: "Jeff has also expanded Vetri’s wine cellar from a 60-bottle starter list to its current stable of more than 500 labels and 5,000 bottles."

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My immediate thought is Vetri, but I know nothing about the wine list. I'd love to have the option of ordering wines the likes of Gaja and finish dinner with a half-bottle of Chateau d'Yquem. I love well prepared dry aged prime beef , but have no interest in being a chazer by going to Barclay Prime for a kobe steak.

Your immediate thought is correct sir.

This perhaps is better effectively explained by elimination instead of selection.

There are multiple reasons not to go to places like Table 31,Butcher and Singer, LBF, Lacroix, Fountain, Del Frisco, Palm, Capital Grille, Susanna Foo.

I agree with Buckethead's Boring conclusion of Table 31's food.

If it was not owned by Perrier, it would not quite be on the radar screen as much as it is.

Although you have basically answered your own question, if I were in your shoes, the only 3 choices in Philly would be :

Barclay Prime

Morimoto

Vetri

Barclay Prime does not actually sell any kobe beef.

They still do have the two best steaks in the city which would be the Gachot/Gachot Ribeye and the Australian Tajima New York Strip.

Also best sides and sauces of any Steakhouse in Philly.

The Seafood dishes are also not steakhouse afterthoughts as you see virtually everywhere else.

Morimoto I would go for the most expensive Omakase with wine pairings and restrictions.

By restrictions I mean give them restrictions.

I usually say Omakase-no sushi-no items on the menu.

Vetri on the other hand you can drink yourself silly with Gajas and Sassicaias in addition to the very good food.

Yup Vetri it is.

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I would most definately concur with V for all those reasons and suggest you indulge in the degustazione as it will provide you with the kitchen's fullest experience.

Personally, I wonder how you will fully appreciate the excellent food and wines being with this guy who you'd probably rather not be with at all.

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In a similar situation where maxing out the check and enjoying the food were both goals, I picked Vetri, and I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

Have the grand tasting menu plus a cheese course and maybe an extra pasta course in the middle, with wine pairings and the half-bottle supplement you mentioned. You'll succeed.


Cooking and writing and writing about cooking at the SIMMER blog

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Thanks to all for your suggestions. We'll go to Vetri but may wait until spring. I'll report back then.


“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

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