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shacke

Amada

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The red sangria was so fabulous... the cinnamon made it out of this world! I will try to try the white next time.

We went a few weeks ago. I haven't stopped thinking about the fried anchovies with the (quail?) egg on top and the montaditos... oh, the montaditos.

What a comfortable and welcoming place. I liked that everyone was busy checking out everyone else's table to see what to order. We weren't planning on the ordering lamb until it arrived at the table next to us.

I think a lunch at the bar is next for us, but we'll have to figure out how to sneak away from work and not come back!

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I think a lunch at the bar is next for us, but we'll have to figure out how to sneak away from work and not come back!

I'll be anxiously awaiting your arrival. Please come introduce yourself.

I can't help you with the excuses to your boss though. That would be wrong of me... :biggrin:


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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Hi

Went last night with 3 friends. Beautiful place--really gorgeous, what a terrific addition to Philly. Night started off badly--they kept me--a preggie woman no less--waiting 1/2 hr for my table, which I reserved a month ahead. Told me I could wait in the bar--umm, no, not with the smoking... They made it up to us by bringing two free tapas at the start (thank GOD since I was starving by 7:40): melon con jamon (proscuit was delicious but my Barcelona-born companion said "sliced too thin", loved the carmelization on the melon but other than that had no flavor), and a cheese plate, which was just perfect-- manchego, cabrales, goat cheese. We moved on to orange mojitos--the waiter recommended this as the virgin drink of choice and the flavors were INCREDIBLE--my favorite 'maternity cocktail of the year' thus far. Then, more food, most of which was quite good, if very liberal interpretations of the 'real thing.' Couple of notes on that: a) patatas bravas tasted good but why the tater-tot styling and skimpy portion for such an inexpensive dish? b) gambas al ajillo--hands down best version of this dish I've ever had; far better than Jaleo, mostly due to shrimp quality; c) croquetas --perfecto!; d) pulpo -- the rings were quite small, flavor good but in Spain the slices are larger; e) anchovies--good, but these are fried and a bit heavy, so am not sure why this portion was so BIG; f) patos con higos--the duck and foie was delicious but the base of cabralas flatbread made little sense--the two were better eaten separately -- and this dish is VERY filling, watch out;g) empanada--very good, but the pickling of the artichokes really surprised some members of the party, might be good to note the pickling on the menu; h) scallops--that cream sauce was the bomb, scallops very meaty--white asparagus lacked flavor tho.

I'm really sad we didn't get to try anything ala plancha but the group wasn't up for more...

Desserts--we were guided by one of our two waiters, son of a lumberjack and friend o'Katie's-- he steered us very well to the cantaloupe sorbet and the lemon tart (awesome dish), and we also tried (at our own risk) the banana sandwich (very missable) and the lavender custard (the lavender was really nice).

On the whole we thought the place was beautiful, smelled great, one of our two waiters was terrific, and much of the food was quite yummy. It made me sad I've left Philly, but will definitely come back to try stuff off the grill, must have those oysters, and get into that wine and cocktail list (just love the cocktail names!!), SOON AS I GET THIS BABY OUTTA ME!


Edited by sara (log)

Food is a convenient way for ordinary people to experience extraordinary pleasure, to live it up a bit.

-- William Grimes

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A very nice article about Chef Garces in today's Inquirer. I met him briefly a few weeks ago, and he seems like a very sweet and humble guy. I'm very excited that he's planning on opening two restaurants in my neck of the woods (20th and Sansom and Rittenhouse Square, and another near Penn). Not that I'd stop going to Amada, but it's more options for us all. wheee!!!

Congrats to Chef Garces, Katie and crew.


Edited by I_call_the_duck (log)

Karen C.

"Oh, suddenly life’s fun, suddenly there’s a reason to get up in the morning – it’s called bacon!" - Sookie St. James

Travelogue: Ten days in Tuscany

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Wow, it's almost a relief that I've finally found something bad to say about Amada! It just makes me feel a little less like a fawning sycophant, and reminds me that I might actually still have some critical perspective...

Anyway, yeah yeah yeah, the food was great, service was really quite extraordinary, paying close attention to how quickly, or in our case, slowly, we were eating, and pacing the dishes well. We had a few faves, like the bacalao croquettes, the Amada empanada (I dream about those empanadas) and the pulpo gallega, all of which were delicious as always. We also tried the roasted vegetables with goat-cheese toasts, which was very nicely done, but in the end not a huge thrill... The scallops with white asparagus and crab cream were rocking good. A tuna special featured good, but slightly plain, medium-seared tuna, and some chicklet-sized "raviolis" made of zucchini, stuffed with mushrooms (which were very tasty, but kind of silly-looking). Oh, and some red sangria, of course.

But - we were seated in that back room around to the right, at a table that turned out to be right next to the kitchen. I was not too bummed-out by the crashing and banging and shouting that was really rather distracting, Amada is a pretty loud restaurant in general, so some of that blended into the general din. What did really start to bug me, and was not readily apparent at the time we were seated, was that it eventually became REALLY HOT at that table. I'm assuming we were getting some heat bleed from the kitchen. Wherever it as coming from, by the end of the meal we actually couldn't wait to get out of there.

Again, food - fabulous, waitstaff - fabulous, overall experience - not so much. My ears are still ringing and we were literally dripping sweat sitting at that table. It crept up on us: it just seemed a little warm at first, then a bit hot, but not enough to make a big deal about. By the end we were assertively uncomfortable, but it seemed ridiculous to ask to be re-seated as we were mid-way through our final dishes by the time it really crossed the threshold. If it had gotten bad earlier in the meal, I'm confident the very nice service staff would have done something for us, but we didn't even ask, given that we'd be leaving soon anyway. But it's a shame that the noise and heat added a slightly sour note to what was otherwise a great meal.

I suspect it's that table in particular, kind of wedged-in at the corner of the bar, separated from the kitchen by some odd corrugated-cardboard-looking divider. I've been seated a few different places in the restaurant, and had always been perfectly content. The whole place is a bit loud for my taste, but previously, I never ended up with one ear ringing louder than the other from the clanging metal in the kitchen, or whatever we were next to. And I'd never walked out of there damp.

It's not going to stop me from returning, but they're never going to get me to sit at that table again!


Edited by philadining (log)

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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Jeff, sounds like you handled the situation with class, not sure how many others would have endured this, myself included.

One of the few things that really bother me in a restaurant is excessive heat or cold. It can be so distracting that the meal loses out. I can deal with the noise and you are right about the level of noise there, but that heat, no way.

Interesting that you found a non-food item to critique!

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Jeff:

Open kitchens are notorious for heating up the room. Add to that the excessive number of "lemmings" coming out because we just got some good press, the usual insane number of Friday night reservations because of the Flamenco show and the fact that it's 95 and humid as hell outside and it's a recipe for disaster.

There's a guindilla pepper plant in the front window of the bar area that one of the bartenders bought as a gift for Jose. About 8 weeks ago it was a 6" tall sprout. Now it's two and half feet tall and has mulitple peppers on it that are literally doubling in size overnight! I realized it's because it thinks it's in a greenhouse. :blink:

The restaurant can get really warm on a crowded hot summer night. My apologies for that. They are constantly tweaking the AC units for better/more efficient output. Next time ask to be moved. If it's feasible I'm sure they'll make it happen for you.


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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Similar situation with our table in the back room, but instead of heat, the issue was smoke--it began as a charming scent but grew more intense and a bit eye-watering as the night went on. I've been to other places with this issue--for example Fore Street in Maine has some serious heat and smoke coming from their very open kitchen-- and have been with elderly folks who should be warned in advance, since it can be especially difficult for them.


Food is a convenient way for ordinary people to experience extraordinary pleasure, to live it up a bit.

-- William Grimes

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Note to self:

Never design a restaurant with an open kitchen unless:

a) There's an ass kicking ventilation/smoke eater sytem in place.

b) The AC system is powerful enough to make the dining room as cold as a meat locker before all the bodies pile in...

:smile:


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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Excellent lunch today.

Caldo Gallego, flank steak sandwich.

Delicious.

$13.

catalan express is a steal.

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Update on Amada's air conditoning. We've had two new units installed to cool the back room and the bar more effectively, so it should be more comfortable now.

I know it feels better to me in the front bar area...


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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Excellent news about the A/C. I really enjoy this restaurant, so it was somewhat heartbreaking to walk out of there less than thrilled with the evening. On the evening in question, it was indeed a hot and humid evening all around, so I have little doubt that it was a bit warm throughout, but I could tell as we left the restaurant that it was especially bad in back, and particularly right next to the kitchen. Hope that does it, because you guys have some more hot days coming!!


"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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Ok, I have been lurking around here a lot, but you can now offically initiate me into the Amada fan club!

Being in the restaurant biz myself, the only night I have off is Monday and I am usually too tired to head up to Philly from Wilmington, DE.

Since my husband was out of town, a friend and I made the trek up there. We loved every bit of it. In fact, after our meal was done, we were busy looking at what everyone else was being served to make note of what to order next time.

We had some sort of salad with ham and figs, crab stuffed peppers, roasted vegetable with goat cheese on little toasts, braised short rib flat bread and manchego cheese with some lavendar honey.

To drink we had a glass of Sangria and a really nice granacha.

The only downside was that Katie wasn't there!


Meg Hudson

Domaine Hudson wine bar & eatery

www.domainehudson.com

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Greetings Domaine, thanks for posting, always good to hear more reports!

And BTW, congrats on the best wine bar award from Philly Mag...


"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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Meg!!! So sorry I missed you! I've heard nothing but wonderful things about your restaurant too, so I promise I'll come down and introduce myself on a night other than a Monday. I have several friends that live in Wilmington and rave about your place and have even offered me a couch if I get too tipsy, which given what I've read/heard is highly likely to occur. <hic> :biggrin:

So which sangria did you try, the red or the white??

And let me second Philadining's congrats on the Best Wine Bar award from Philly mag. That's wonderful recognition for the hard work that I know goes into doing what you do.

Looking forward to seeing you sometime 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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FYI

The current Food and Wine (september issue) features some of the dishes from Amada in their "Chef recipes made easy" series.

They take some of his small plates and translate them into larger main courses.

Nice tribute to Garces.

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Couldn't image a more perfect summer lunch than I had today.

An intriguing orangish gazpacho, followed by tuna on tomato toast with a salad that included perfectly steamed asparagus and a glass of Katie's blanco sangria. All sitting at their extra high bar that made 6'3" me feel like a five year old at the adult table.

After the tuna on tomato toast, I left convinced that if Amada, with its feel for flavors and the quality of ingredients, should decide to open a hoagie shop next door it would serve the best hoagies in Philadelphia and therefore, the world.


Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."

HollyEats.Com

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Greetings Domaine, thanks for posting, always good to hear more reports!

And BTW, congrats on the best wine bar award from Philly Mag...

Thanks! The award was really quite a pleasant suprise to us! I wish I could be more active, but with t-w-o full time jobs, I don't have much free time. For now, I will have to remain more of a luker....


Meg Hudson

Domaine Hudson wine bar & eatery

www.domainehudson.com

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Meg!!!  So sorry I missed you!  I've heard nothing but wonderful things about your restaurant too, so I promise I'll come down and introduce myself on a night other than a Monday.  I have several friends that live in Wilmington and rave about your place and have even offered me a couch if I get too tipsy, which given what I've read/heard is highly likely to occur. <hic>  :biggrin:

So which sangria did you try, the red or the white??

And let me second Philadining's congrats on the Best Wine Bar award from Philly mag.  That's wonderful recognition for the hard work that I know goes into doing what you do.

Looking forward to seeing you sometime soon!

Thanks, Katie. It was the first time I was in for dinner. I stopped by during restaurant week in Feb for a glass of wine.

We had the red sangria, which was nice and refreshing!

It's been quite an interesting nine months to say the least...a lot of hard work, yes, but I absolutely have no regrets!

Looking forward to seeing you too!


Meg Hudson

Domaine Hudson wine bar & eatery

www.domainehudson.com

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Couldn't image a more perfect summer lunch than I had today.

An intriguing orangish gazpacho, followed by tuna on tomato toast with a salad that included perfectly steamed asparagus and a glass of Katie's blanco sangria.  All sitting at their extra high bar that made 6'3" me feel like a five year old at the adult table.

After the tuna on tomato toast, I left convinced that if Amada, with its feel for flavors and the quality of ingredients, should decide to open a hoagie shop next door it would serve the best hoagies in Philadelphia and therefore, the world.

My fiance and I also had the wonderful pleasure of a lovely summer afternoon lunch at the bar on Friday. It was great to meet both Katie and Holly! We also laughed about feeling like kids at the adult table. When I arrived, my fiance was already there; I sat to his left and then decided I wanted to be a little taller, so I moved around to his right. It was funny to watch Holly come in and spend a little time deciding where to sit too!

I also agree that Katie's sangria blanco was the perfect drink for the afternoon!

We decided to get a mix of cured meats, a plate of manchego cheese, and, of course, we couldn't resist the fried baby anchovies. Those baby anchovies are seriously tasty. I could eat baskets of those!

Thanks for a great afternoon, Katie! Before my month of "half-day" fridays is up, I'm hoping to make it back!

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I had the rare pleasure of being a guest at Amada last night, since I don't often get the chance to do that. I took my nephew for dinner after the afternoon performance of Cirque du Soleil and we had a lovely early supper together. The ham croquettes and two different kinds of oysters (Newport Cove and Cape May Salts) were a big hit with my date. Did I mention that he's nine years old and will eat anything that doesn't run faster than he does? :biggrin: He also really enjoyed the Hamachi special that was served with tarragon oil and watermelon foam. I turned my head for a moment to speak to one of my co-workers, and when I turned back, it was GONE! :shock: The lamb chops and garlic shrimp got two thumbs up too. And Chocolate Five Ways for dessert and a bite of my Banana Ice Cream sandwich were also well received.

When I took him home the first thing he said to his sister was, "You gotta get Aunt Katie to take you to Amada too! You'll really like it!!".

That's my boy! :wub:


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 are heading back to Amada end of August.

After an absolutely superb meal in May four dining companions and I

are once again boarding AMTRAK from New York and returning to Amada.

The anticipation is really building!!!

I would add that one truly remarkable thing about the restaurant is

that the kitchen is able to turn out so many small (and not so small) plates

for a large crowd--that are perfectly cooked.

Fish done/cooked to within that tiny window of perfection.

Meats and vegetables --all perfectly cooked.

This kind of attention and focus is found at very high end establishments (Bernardin and Per Se here in NYC for eg).--the entire kitchen deserves applause!!

And---

(as if that's not enough)

the best damn sangria anywhere!

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I just turned on the TV and saw Chef Jose Andres halfway through Sara Moulton's show, half kicking myself and half pressing "record" on the remote. At the end, I switched over to Epicurious on the Travel Channel and was blessed to find Chef Lomonaco visiting Amada and chatting with Chef Jose Garces. The episode was titled "Spanish Cooking." They showed Chef Lomonaco walking in the front door and taking off his coat, and some atmosphere shots, including dancers. They discussed tapas and ingredients, then went into Amada's kitchen and cooked Tortilla Espagnola (potato onion omelet), Gambas al Ajillo (Garlic Shrimp)in a cazuela, Chanquettes Fritos (white baby fish), and Pulpo Gallego (sliced octopus).

The next segment had Chef Lomonaco making a paella, and the segment after that had Chef Douglas Rodriguez from Alma de Cuba making Hot Chocolate Croquettes.

The next segment featured Chef Lomonaco whipping up a Freixenet sangria.

All in all, Philadelphia was well represented in this episode.

BTW, according to Yahoo TV, the Sara's Secrets episode was #SS1E47, "Spectacular Serving."

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I'm almost at the end of my pregnancy (a little less than six weeks to go) and I'd like to have dinner at Amada for our last night out pre-baby, probably sometime in the first half of September. I have a couple of friends that have had to wait for their tables despite reservations and I can neither stand for long periods of time nor wait in a bar. What would be the best night/time to go to avoid a wait?


Cupcake Planet: my (possibly obsessive) cupcake-centric 'blog

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I'm almost at the end of my pregnancy (a little less than six weeks to go) and I'd like to have dinner at Amada for our last night out pre-baby, probably sometime in the first half of September. I have a couple of friends that have had to wait for their tables despite reservations and I can neither stand for long periods of time nor wait in a bar. What would be the best night/time to go to avoid a wait?

A Monday or Tuesday evening might be your best bet. There's a non-smoking bar in the back lounge area where you could wait and have a Virgin Mojito or Bloody Shame while you were waiting, if you even had to wait. Like in any busy restaurant, early reservations (7PM or earlier) always get seated on time. The later ones are at the mercy of the folks that won't get the hell out when they're done, and feel the need to nurse their coffee for an extra half hour. :rolleyes:


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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