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Jeff L

Mandoline

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In tomorrows review, Craig LeBan bestows 2 stars on this new Old City place. It sounds interesting and I was wondering if anyone has tried it yet.

The space is really small and it's BYO. I was particularly taken with his preparation of Halibut, basted with truffle butter and oyster mushrooms. LeBan commented on how moist it was leading me to wonder if he roasts it. Also intriguing was the coriander-crusted rack of lamb.

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In tomorrows review, Craig LaBan bestows 2 stars on this new Old City place. It sounds interesting and I was wondering if anyone has tried it yet.

The space is really small and it's BYO. I was particularly taken with his preparation of Halibut, basted with truffle butter and oyster mushrooms. LeBan commented on how moist it was leading me to wonder if he roasts it. Also intriguing was the coriander-crusted rack of lamb.

I did try it a while back, and at the time I was unimpressed. Struck me as generous portions of unimaginative food. I had a rack of lamb, though I cannot recall if it was coriander-encrusted.

Two things, though: I was cranky that night, and though I am, as is well known, remarkably and almost preternaturally objective, it is marginally possible my mood might have colored the experience :raz:

And I started with an appetizer of pistachio-encrusted goat cheese: delightful for the first several pounds, but from there to its conclusion I experienced perhaps a soupcon of surfeit. That may have wrecked the rest of the meal for me.

It was not, at any rate, a bad meal. Just make sure to bring your appetite. And if you order the Heap o' Cheese, be sure to have backup.

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Where is it in Old City?

Chestnut, between 2nd and 3rd, North side of the street. The corner of (I think) Strawberry St.

Used to be Saboor.

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We had a wonderful meal at Mandoline on Thursday night.

24 of us filled the restaurant for a private party. We were probably the only Philly people, the rest were wine lovers from Haddonfield, etc.-a wine group we sort of belong to, with some wine importers and wine shop people. Sort of a tasting dinner...

We really enjoyed the dinnner. We started out with a duck breast and cherry amuse. It wasn't sweet at all, very delightful, over bruschetta. I had that goat cheese/pistachio dish, loved it! Hubby had a wasabi tuna app, delicious and very summery and light. Then he had the coriander crusted lamb chops with mash and green beans. Despite it being a winter type dish, it was great. Tasty, cooked perfectly med rare to rare, and, I think, 9 small chops, way too much (but it made a great lunch the next day). I had a scrumptuous Halibut with truffle sauce. So thick and moist, I love Halibut when its done right. Desserts were Miel pastries. I had an apple/caramel thingy that was tasty, and he had a lemon tart.

The wines we all brought were excellent.

A good time was had by all!


Philly Francophiles

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We had a wonderful meal at Mandoline on Thursday night.

24 of us filled the restaurant for a private party. We were probably the only Philly people, the rest were wine lovers from Haddonfield, etc.-a wine group we sort of belong to, with some wine importers and wine shop people. Sort of a tasting dinner...

We really enjoyed the dinnner. We started out with a duck breast and cherry amuse. It wasn't sweet at all, very delightful, over bruschetta.  I had that goat cheese/pistachio dish, loved it! Hubby had a wasabi tuna app, delicious and very summery and light. Then he had the coriander crusted lamb chops with mash and green beans. Despite it being a winter type dish, it was great. Tasty, cooked perfectly med rare to rare, and, I think, 9 small chops, way too much (but it made a great lunch the next day). I had a scrumptuous Halibut with truffle sauce. So thick and moist, I love Halibut when its done right. Desserts were Miel pastries. I had an apple/caramel thingy that was tasty, and he had a lemon tart.

The wines we all brought were excellent.

A good time was had by all!

Thanks for your report, it sounds really good. I think I'll put this on my list of places to try before year end.

Jeff

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Lisa1349 and I enjoyed a wonderful dinner at Mandoline last night after "Girl's Night at the Movies" around the corner at the Ritz. Although we had eaten half a bag of truly amazing toffee covered cashews that Lisa had brought along from DiBruno's (ohmigosh! These are sooo much better than popcorn!) we were indeed hungry when we arrived for our 9:30 dinner reservation.

Mandoline is a cozy space, but it's decorated very nicely with pretty artwork on the walls and a warm feeling about it. Service was quite friendly and helpful. We asked our waitress for some recommendations and she deferred to Chef Todd Lean. His suggestions were right on and we enjoyed a very nice meal.

We started with the Goat Cheese Pistachio cake with Mission figs and Balsamic glaze. WOW! Very tasty and savory rendition of a light cheesecake. The figs and balsamic were perfect with the tangy cheese. We also tried a stuffed Quail with Applewood smoked bacon stuffing and Cherry-port reduction sauce. Also a winner. There were little bits of crunchy salt on the skin of the quail and the cherries and port went very well with the little bird, which had been mostly deboned so you could slice right into it. A small salad of microgreens was lightly dressed alongside. Very elegant presentations.

For our entrees we shared Seared Dayboat Scallops with Parsnips Puree and braised Chanterelle mushrooms and a Prosciutto wrapped Monkfish with roasted Tomato and Leek jus and Fig Polenta. Both entrees were cooked perfectly. The scallops were ENORMOUS and very tender. The parsnip puree was sweet and a little chunky, just how I like it. I forget how much I love parsnips sometimes, but this was a an excellent reminder of how tasty they can be. The chanterelles added a lovely touch of earthiness to the dish. The monkfish was also a great choice and the fig polenta (our second visit with figs this meal) was delicious! Everything on our plates was presented beautifully and the sauces and sides worked perfectly with the main dishes. Really an excellent meal. I had brought along a bottle of Terruzzi Terre di Tufi 2003, a really delicious Super Tuscan white vernaccia blend that's got to be the best fish and seafood wine I've tasted in a while. It was great with the entire meal, but amazingly well matched to our entrees. Chef was kind enough to send us dessert, and we shared a Nizza, which was a small cylinder of chocolate and bananas with layers of a light sponge cake and pretty chocolate curls on top.

This little restaurant is flying under the radar, folks. You need to get yourselves here for a meal that will completely surprise you. I would compare this place favorably to any of the BYO places we all love like Rx, Django or Marigold. It's convenient to all of the Ritz theaters (I dropped our wine off before the movie, and they were kind enough to keep it chilled for us while we were watching Pride and Prejudice and eating cashews) and is another great choice in the long list of BYOB establishments we're lucky enough to have available to us and should be thankful for. The perfect choice for dinner-and-a-movie. I know I'll be back soon.


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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We were there a few months ago for a wine tasting dinner. We rented the whole place.

Absolutely amazing. I agree with you, Katie, just brilliant!

How about an egullet dinner there in February?


Philly Francophiles

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We were there a few months ago for a wine tasting dinner. We rented the whole place.

Absolutely amazing. I agree with you, Katie, just brilliant!

How about an egullet dinner there in February?

That would be cool--I've been wanting to check the place out--any weekend other than 17-19th and I'd try to make it (along with David if we can swing it...)


Edited by sockii (log)

sockii

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| South Jersey Foodie |

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I'll talk to Chef Todd about it. I'd think if we were to commandeer the place he'd want to do a limited menu for us. Not sure what the cost would be, but I'll certainly check into it. I think this could be a great spot for a get together.


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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We were there a few months ago for a wine tasting dinner. We rented the whole place.

Absolutely amazing. I agree with you, Katie, just brilliant!

How about an egullet dinner there in February?

I vote yes to that idea, count me in Katie if indeed you are arranging things. It sounds like you had a really nice meal and I still haven't tried the place yet.

Jeff

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Sounds like I'd brave the cold for it!


"Half of cooking is thinking about cooking." ---Michael Roberts

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Sounds like I'd brave the cold for it!

I second the motion for dinner at Mandoline in February or March. The cost could be more than the usual $25.00, there is has been some inflation in the three years since I first attended a dinner.

I really don't get into Philadelphia that frequently and this dinner will expose me to new experience and restaurant.


"One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well." - Virginia Woolf

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This little restaurant is flying under the radar, folks.  You need to get yourselves here for a meal that will completely surprise you.  I would compare this place favorably to any of the BYO places we all love like Rx, Django or Marigold.  It's convenient to all of the Ritz theaters (I dropped our wine off before the movie, and they were kind enough to keep it chilled for us while we were watching Pride and Prejudice and eating cashews) and is another great choice in the long list of BYOB establishments we're lucky enough to have available to us and should be thankful for.  The perfect choice for dinner-and-a-movie.  I know I'll be back soon.

I haven't read LaBan's review yet. I mentioned to Katie how the food was more than 2 star. If the space looked like Striped Bass (I adore chef Lee there as well) in a larger space, this would be a three star place.

Next time I have to sink into the lobster mac n cheese. We were thinking of attempting it along with the pistachio goat, but were more responsible than that!

There were only 2 people in the kitchen as well. Chef and I assume sous. This is an advantage because there isn't a large team who hasn't been trained properly, it's 2 people who know their stuff.

Imagine someone in the food biz has an early dream of their own restaurant. Then imagine they weren't poisoned by bad examples and didn't sour of the business. This is the restaurant of a chef who endured, and never lost sight of the dream.


Lisa K

Lavender Sky

"No one wants black olives, sliced 2 years ago, on a sandwich, you savages!" - Jim Norton, referring to the Subway chain.

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we had a nice dinner at mandoline tonight--which was empty by the time we left at 930, btw. people should go; it's a really pleasant place.

specials were a malpeque oyster app with champagne mignonette, which included cucumbers besides the usual shallots and was excellent. for about $10. i reckon i was expecting a half dozen or so, but i decided to go for it anyway, and then out came a full dozen. surprising, but very nice! i've rarely seen a dozen oysters i couldn't down, so there they went.

dinner was a pheasant breast, grilled, with wild mushrooms, a creamed spinach custard, grapes and roasted baby carrots. this was a great dish and i ate every bite, even though i was kind of full at that point. i'm gonna rip off that creamed spinach custard for myself, and soon--it rocked.

the mrs had the roast chicken, which was also damn good--perhaps missing some of the crisp skin that i hope for from a roast chicken, but juicy and flavorful, and served on a bed of mashed taters, with a sherry (?) reduction and lemon zest.... great stuff, and only about $17.50 or so.

all in all a really pleasant night, even in an empty restaurant. we were debating going there or amada, and as we were looking at the menu two women walked by and said WE JUST HAD DINNER THERE! GO! IT WAS GREAT! THE ROAST CHICKEN MY GOD! and now i'm glad we did, even though we were wine-less.


Edited by mrbigjas (log)

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I've eaten there twice. Its quite good...simple,but very well done. I think everything that came out was good, every time. Good service too...Amazing what they can put out in the tiny kitchen.


Matt Kantor

Cook at Large (but getting thinner)

Haddonfield, NJ at present

e: mattkantor{at}pobox.com

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[it was not, at any rate, a bad meal. Just make sure to bring your appetite. And if you order the Heap o' Cheese, be sure to have backup.

You mean to tell me I should order two of those?

(Certainly you're not telling me I would need to have someone along to polish off all that cheese. I can do that all by myself! :laugh: )


Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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[it was not, at any rate, a bad meal. Just make sure to bring your appetite. And if you order the Heap o' Cheese, be sure to have backup.

You mean to tell me I should order two of those?

(Certainly you're not telling me I would need to have someone along to polish off all that cheese. I can do that all by myself! :laugh: )

I bow to your digestive superiority. I was able to finish it myself, but it incapacitated my appetite for the rest of the meal.

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I could not AND would not eat the whole thing for I was getting to full and feared an umpleasant rest of meal. It's not like me to show restraint while eating. Ever. Never ever. Yet in this case I had no choice but to!


Lisa K

Lavender Sky

"No one wants black olives, sliced 2 years ago, on a sandwich, you savages!" - Jim Norton, referring to the Subway chain.

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I could not AND would not eat the whole thing for I was getting to full and feared an umpleasant rest of meal. It's not like me to show restraint while eating. Ever. Never ever. Yet in this case I had no choice but to!

I think I had better take this as a warning, after all.


Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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When I put this menu together a year ago this month, i didn't think the Goat cheese cake would be so popular. Over time I have reduced the size by almost 1/2. It is a good appetizer for two or more. I admit that it is alot of food for one person, but over time it has become the most popular item on the menu. (sorry to cut this short but i have to cook tonight, will finish later


<span style='color:red'><i>Todd Lean

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lamando, welcome to the forum! i hope you'll post often. we really enjoyed the meal we had there last week, although i wished i'd had some wine with me.

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Lunch with a client right before Xmas was amazing. I had lobster truffle mac and cheese, not a lot of truffle taste (darn it), but delish! My client saw the small portion and thought I'd never finish, since he presumed it was too rich. It wasn't and I did, no problem.

Others had the crab cake and I think a BBQ beef sandwich on a brioche or something similar, my memory says.

So, Katie, and all who responded earlier in this thread. When in February are we doing an egullet dinner there?


Philly Francophiles

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Glad to see all the great comments!

We just made reservations for Restaurant Week and we are really looking forward to it.


Meg Hudson

Domaine Hudson wine bar & eatery

www.domainehudson.com

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A dinner at Mandoline will have to take place sometime in late March or April. Too many other dinners and events prior to that for me to have time to plan properly. I've already spoken to Chef Todd Lean and he's happy to have us whenever, so we're good to go. He's busy working on a new menu, so hopefully we'll be able to sample some of those dishes in March/April.

I'l reiterate that Mandoline is a screaming bargain for Restaurant Week at $30!


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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