Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Snack Bar!


Lateralus
 Share

Recommended Posts

Interesting, Far as I know This is a "discussion forum" not a food blog.

Foobooz is a "guide".

Apples and Oranges.

That being said, people disagree with posts all the time and it leads to clarification and discussion.

It's funny that all the people who condemn E gullet for various reasons keep coming back to read it.

Simply disagreeing does not mean We harbor any malice.

Apologies if the statement was taken out of context.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Interesting, Far as I know This is a "discussion forum" not a food blog.

Foobooz is a "guide".

Apples and Oranges.

That being said, people disagree with posts all the time and it leads to clarification and discussion.

It's funny that all the people who condemn E gullet for various reasons keep coming back to read it.

Simply disagreeing does not mean We harbor any malice.

Apologies if the statement was taken out of context.

Vadouvan:

No apology necessary. Actually, the friend about whom I was speaking does not read this eGullet bulletin board anymore. I do read it quite regularly, but I don’t criticize it; I defend it. And I do so because a lot of the discussions here take place at a very high level—they are deep, principled, well-researched and well-reasoned.

Although many blogs out there do host lively discussions, at this time neither Foobooz (a blog aggregator that feeds news and reviews) nor my blog generate that level of discourse (no offense to Arthur at Foobooz, of course; I cannot say enough kind things about his brilliant site).

What puzzled me most about some of today’s comments, though, was that they appeared to be directed at a portion of the dish that I actually didn't review—the Dashi. My comments were focused on the flavor of the pork. But I appreciate and respect that you take your Dashi seriously, and, believe it or not, that’s why I’ll keep coming back to this forum. I continue to learn interesting things and, although you may not place as great a weight as I do on blog writing itself, I find that reading and participating in these exchanges makes me a better writer.

Unlike a lot of writers out there whose posts or articles get dissected on this board, I’m not afraid to chime in when one of my pieces is on the table. And I continue to look forward to these lively discussions in the future. Cheers.

-David (aka Phila-Foodie)

Edited by Phila-Foodie (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I suspect one small aspect of this disagreement could be that in at least one aspect, we might be talking about different things! Reading your description of the pork belly on your blog, I had the same reaction as Vadouvan had - that the egg isn't cooked in the broth. But as you described a server cracking an egg into your bowl and whisking it in, it occurred to me that maybe they've changed that dish!

That term "slow-cooked egg" has generally been used to describe an egg cooked in its shell at a low, steady temperature, which results in something like a poached egg, but with a more custardy texture. That's what I've gotten several times as a component of snackbar's pork belly dish. But the egg was an independent element. Sure it was runny enough that it would seep into the dashi when pierced, but it was too solid to be "whisked-in".

So are you saying that you had a raw egg cracked into your bowl, and it was then stirred-in, to create a thick, eggy broth? If so, I can imagine that the flavor interactions would be different than what we've had.

But back to the larger point: David, I do hope you'll continue to read, and post here. These boards here on eGullet seem pretty civil to me, sometimes containing lively discussions, but generally respectful and productive ones. (OK, not always, but usually!) If we discuss your blog, or just places you've been, I hope you'll jump in and add your voice to the debate. There's room for many perspectives here, and I don't think this crowd is interested in stifling any of them, just discussing them.

Edited by philadining (log)

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Vadouvan:

No apology necessary. Actually, the friend about whom I was speaking does not read this eGullet bulletin board anymore. I do read it quite regularly, but I don’t criticize it; I defend it. And I do so because a lot of the discussions here take place at a very high level—they are deep, principled, well-researched and well-reasoned.

Although many blogs out there do host lively discussions, at this time neither Foobooz (a blog aggregator that feeds news and reviews) nor my blog generate that level of discourse (no offense to Arthur at Foobooz, of course; I cannot say enough kind things about his brilliant site).

What puzzled me most about some of today’s comments, though, was that they appeared to be directed at a portion of the dish that I actually didn't review—the Dashi. My comments were focused on the flavor of the pork. But I appreciate and respect that you take your Dashi seriously, and, believe it or not, that’s why I’ll keep coming back to this forum. I continue to learn interesting things and, although you may not place as great a weight as I do on blog writing itself, I find that reading and participating in these exchanges makes me a better writer.

Unlike a lot of writers out there whose posts or articles get dissected on this board, I’m not afraid to chime in when one of my pieces is on the table. And I continue to look forward to these lively discussions in the future. Cheers.

-David (aka Phila-Foodie)

No sweat dave.

Off to some "aggro" snowboarding this weekend....... :smile:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I suspect one small aspect of this disagreement could be that in at least one aspect, we might be talking about different things! Reading your description of the pork belly on your blog, I had the same reaction as Vadouvan had - that the egg isn't cooked in the broth. But as you described a server cracking an egg into your bowl and whisking it in, it occurred to me that maybe they've changed that dish!

That term "slow-cooked egg" has generally been used to describe an egg cooked in its shell at a low, steady temperature, which results in something like a poached egg, but with a more custardy texture. That's what I've gotten several times as a component of snackbar's pork belly dish.  But the egg was an independent element.  Sure it was runny enough that it would seep into the dashi when pierced, but it was too solid to be "whisked-in".

So are you saying that you had a raw egg cracked into your bowl, and it was then stirred-in, to create a thick, eggy broth?  If so, I can imagine that the flavor interactions would be different than what we've had.

But back to the larger point: David, I do hope you'll continue to read, and post here. These boards here on eGullet seem pretty civil to me, sometimes containing lively discussions, but generally respectful and productive ones.  (OK, not always, but usually!)  If we discuss your blog, or just places you've been, I hope you'll jump in and add your voice to the debate.  There's room for many perspectives here, and I don't think this crowd is interested in stifling any of them, just discussing them.

Philadining:

Yeah, that’s how the dish was presented—a raw egg was sitting on top when the dish was brought out, but then the server whisked it into the Dashi, making an egg broth. It’s clear from the discussions here that it’s not supposed to be that way, so I can see how my description could have seemed off-base. Hopefully, this clarification explains why I described the dish the way I did. I’ll have to give the Pork Belly another try (assuming it’s still on the menu).

By the way, has anyone tried any of the items on the new menu?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

wow, everyone loves snackbar

here's how my first night at snackbar was, and second and third

NIGHT NUMBER ONE

way back in Nov..relatively new boyfriend and I are returning from seeing La Boheme, we walk by snackbar on my way home, it is finally open hooray, I bat my eyelashes, oohplease lets go here and in we swoop,

we are settle by the fire and find ourselves seated right next to George and Evan Turney from Valanni and Mercato ..even better, hadn't seen them since the summer, chat chat hello

the notice at another table there are two of my favorite customers from Bella..I get up and say hello..kiss kiss

now a server comes over and asks us what we'd like, then tells us they only have beer...so we say ok 1 lager and 1 yards...yes we'd love to check out the menu...our beers arrive we order some Irish blue cheese and red wine poached figs..and settle in by the fire feeling all warm and lovely ...I see yet one more person I know, I wave hi... OOOH I love it here I coo, its perfect.

ok now a few more minutes go by lets say umm 10 and I notice the staff seems to be stopping by the other tables , dropping off little bowls, greeting people at the door and handing them treats..I see that the my former customers have a dish of teeny olives on thier table --not on the menu--- and I feel kind of bad...how come we aren't getting any special attention..do we smell...we are all dressed from the opera, we are very attractive people, if I do say so myself..we know 3/4 of the customers in the place...what's up..why don't they like us

ok so the BF has finished his beer, its been at least 15-20 minutes since we ordered, someone stops by a plunks a small bowl of spicy popcorn on the table...a few minutes later I am able to get someone's attention and we order him another beer...a few more minutes go by, maybe 10-maybe 15 and I see a freind of mine outside and drag her in, the server comes over to see if she would like something, we remind her that we ordered a while ago..and could I have another beer as well.

The server brings the BF his beer --20 minutes after ordering--, and brings me mine and says our food will be out shortly...need I remind you we ordered cheese and poached figs, we continue to chat with my grilfriend, the BF is getting CRABBY, there are lots of staff members buzzing about seeming to be have a great time, bringing guests glasses of champagne hanging out with each other and friends ...it was like being at party you weren't really invited to... finally after another 15 minutes about 45 minutes after we ordered...our plates arrive

nice size chunk of cheese, interesting apple paper--think fruit leather--smear of mustard and some old stale croissant crumbs..think..hmmm thats wahts left over in the bottom of a bag when I buy croissants how thrifty they are

poached figs w/goat milk and smoked salt...maybe one whole fig cut in to fifths. weird tasteless globules that if you didn't tell me what they were I would have supposed they were the tops of hard boiled eggs...

dissappointing after the wait, also they arived with no apology for thier lateness either...the BF is now livid, I attempt to calm him down, I'm like well its like their 3rd night I'm sure they'll comp the second round of beers and maybe one of the dishes, they'll want us to come back.

ok they charged 5 dollars for each lager and 6 each for the yards, which is fine if you have other options but if thats all you have, suck it up and try to only make 2 dollars on each of those beers also they charged us for everything, wasn't looking for any freebees but I was appalled, I would never ever consider charging anyone for something they had to wait 45 minutes for

our check was about 38 bucks, we felt like we had been had and for some reason like we weren't cool enough for the staff to care out providing us with proper service... rarely if ever have I felt like that not even in Paris.

If we weren't in the initial throes of lust and love probably I would have been more vocal in my complaints, but we were still trying to show each other that we were nice people..however the BF walked out sputtering about faux hipsters with intentionally neglectful hair styles and ironic jeans

NIGHT NUMBER TWO

its 11;30 my girlfriend Holly and I want a glass of wine and a snack I decide to give snackbar another chance, we sit at the bar, try really hard to get the bartenders attention even though she is literally 4 inches from us she is busy staring into space and shining glasses..we finally get her attention order our wine , she forgets what I ordered and has to ask again, we are the only people there...we order food, its ok but I'm not sure I enjoy paying so much money for a chicken thigh, I think we also had squid...I can't remember, I was overwhelmed by ennui

NIGHT NUMBER THREE

Rittenhouse Row Holiday Party , I go reluctantly, but its a party, people to see and all that.

one of the servers t-shirt's had bleach stains and holes in it and he seemed to have forgotten about washing his hair or found a hair product that sucessfully assimilates a lack of general hygeine...maybe its me but I enjoy an air of cleanliness and care in food service worker.

nontheless the bartender was fun and nice and kept my glass full

ok the food

caramelized apple w/wasabli peas f-ing brilliant...would love it aside a pork loin or maybe roast duck

butternutsquash madeline, I think it was very good, it was quite wee and immediately got lodged in my back tooth where it stuck till I could get to the bathroom and dislodge it.

tuna salad..I think it was canned tuna i'm not sure it tasted like regular old tuna salad

beer foam w/pear jam on what seemed like melba toast...HUH..WHAT

and the piece de resistance

I see the servers holding sticks of something oblongish, blackish and covered with small irregularly shaped pebbly-crumb like things and..I think......I really should've changed the cat litter before I left......turned out it was escargot with crushed almond and walnuts, I am not sure how it tasted.

It looked too much like kitty kaka for my comfort level. And I can't help but think, did the chef realize that he made something that looks just like catshit with bits of litter clinging to it...or could he not see that, perhaps he never had cat or maybe he made it and said hey this looks like pussycatpoopoo but no one will care..hmmm its an enigma rolled in crushed riddle and lightly drizzled in cunumdrum

that evening the BF called from outside, refusing to come in, made me meet him on the corner, he was still mad about the first night,, he yelled some rather unprintable suggestions out to snackbar as we passed by the way home the other night, he's still pissed about waiting 45 minutes for a 5 dollar lager... he holds grudges

so snackbar, I wanted to love you but you've made it sooo hard.

"sometimes I comb my hair with a fork" Eloise

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ouch , Ouch, owwwwwwch.

There have been reports about a lack of focus in the initial days of snackbar.

While I dont dispute nor diminish your experiences, it is one on the reasons that restaurants with kitchens and dining rooms on different floors have more challenges streamlining customer service.

old stale croissant crumbs

I sincerely doubt they served you croissant crumbs from the bottom of the bag, many respected chefs in America hollow out croissant and toast just the crust as an accompaniment to cheese.

I see the servers holding sticks of something oblongish, blackish and covered with small irregularly shaped pebbly-crumb like things and..I think......I really should've changed the cat litter before I left......turned out it was escargot with crushed almond and walnuts, I am not sure how it tasted.

It looked too much like kitty kaka for my comfort level. And I can't help but think, did the chef realize that he made something that looks just like catshit with bits of litter clinging to it...or could he not see that, perhaps he never had cat or maybe he made it and said hey this looks like pussycatpoopoo but no one will care..hmmm its an enigma rolled in crushed riddle and lightly drizzled in cunumdrum

that evening the BF called from outside, refusing to come in, made me meet him on the corner, he was still mad about the first night,, he yelled some rather unprintable suggestions out to snackbar as we passed by the way home the other night, he's still pissed about waiting 45 minutes for a 5 dollar lager... he holds grudges

so snackbar, I wanted to love you but you've made it sooo hard.

In general, I have always discussed this issue of how people seem to intentionally sabotage thier own dining experiences and blame the chef afterwards.

If a chef puts "ESCARGOT" on a skewer, granted not the most attractive object, which you also admit you did *NOT* taste, the comparison to cat litter or more specifically quoting you "bits of catshit with litter clinging to it" is poor spirited and frankly disingenous especially if you have ever had the title "Chef".

Imagine if I went to Bar Lyonnaise and I was brought over the escargot swimming in green butter. I assume the dish would be much less appetizing if I say "this looks like cat poop swimming in what looks like run-off from three mile island" what was Georges Perrier thinking ?

ok they charged 5 dollars for each lager and 6 each for the yards, which is fine if you have other options but if thats all you have, suck it up and try to only make 2 dollars on each of those beers also they charged us for everything, wasn't looking for any freebees but I was appalled, I would never ever consider charging anyone for something they had to wait 45 minutes for

In my former capacity as a homebuilder who specialised in "glass houses", after each job was finished and we signed over the building to the homeowner, we always encouraged them not to "throw stones".

Besides the fact that it was probably two of the most egregiously bad meals I have eaten anywhere, the meals I had at "Bella" now "Meritage" had similarly incomprehensible waits between courses and as you would have guessed....

No Comps.

I have a fondness for Criag Laban, as a former restaurnt owner I found him a delight to speak to and though he gave us 1 bell, it was an optimistic lovely 1 bell though unfortunately well deserved since my chef at the time decided that cooking food without burning it was less important than her boyfriend.

The ironies of this statement are endless.

Edited by Vadouvan (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

admittedly I made mistakes at bella and have since learned from them, also am no longer in the biz, since I maybe wasn't that good at it, I was not able to reach my expections, I was trying to run an underfunded restaurant with ambitions that exceeded by experience and skill level. I made an effort to accomondate unhappy customers whenever I could, sometimes I could not.

I tried snackbar 2 more times ignoring my boyfriends remarks, because i wanted to try it out again for myself so not too sure about the irony of my statement about my chef burning the food at bella because she was on the phone with her boyfriend when she should have been watching the food she was cooking, that was a statement about paying attention to your personal life when at work ....not about your significant other having something to say

...i'm not sure who you are but you seem to have something personal against me I am so sorry to have offended you so very much.

i didn't taste the escargot becasuee it looked dried out and unappetizing, it was not swimming it butter it had no sheen to it like the description you gave of the escargot at bar lyonnaise, in fact the photo of the dish as served on this site was far more appetizing..it looked like what I said, and I assure you I was not the only person who held a similar opinon that evening.

regardless i have an opinion and shared it, read your post on james and it seems you have opinions and share them as well.

Ouch , Ouch, owwwwwwch.

There have been reports about a lack of focus in the initial days of snackbar.

While I dont dispute nor diminish  your experiences, it is one on the reasons that restaurants with kitchens and dining rooms on different floors have more challenges streamlining customer service.

old stale croissant crumbs

I sincerely doubt they served you croissant crumbs from the bottom of the bag, many respected chefs in America hollow out croissant and toast just the crust as an accompaniment to cheese.

I see the servers holding sticks of something oblongish, blackish and covered with small irregularly shaped pebbly-crumb like things and..I think......I really should've changed the cat litter before I left......turned out it was escargot with crushed almond and walnuts, I am not sure how it tasted.

It looked too much like kitty kaka for my comfort level. And I can't help but think, did the chef realize that he made something that looks just like catshit with bits of litter clinging to it...or could he not see that, perhaps he never had cat or maybe he made it and said hey this looks like pussycatpoopoo but no one will care..hmmm its an enigma rolled in crushed riddle and lightly drizzled in cunumdrum

that evening the BF called from outside, refusing to come in, made me meet him on the corner, he was still mad about the first night,, he yelled some rather unprintable suggestions out to snackbar as we passed by the way home the other night, he's still pissed about waiting 45 minutes for a 5 dollar lager... he holds grudges

so snackbar, I wanted to love you but you've made it sooo hard.

In general, I have always discussed this issue of how people seem to intentionally sabotage thier own dining experiences and blame the chef afterwards.

If a chef puts "ESCARGOT" on a skewer, granted not the most attractive object, which you also admit you did *NOT* taste, the comparison to cat litter or more specifically quoting you "bits of catshit with litter clinging to it" is poor spirited and frankly disingenous especially if you have ever had the title "Chef".

Imagine if I went to Bar Lyonnaise and I was brought over the escargot swimming in green butter. I assume the dish would be much less appetizing if I say "this looks like cat poop swimming in what looks like run-off from three mile island" what was Georges Perrier thinking ?

ok they charged 5 dollars for each lager and 6 each for the yards, which is fine if you have other options but if thats all you have, suck it up and try to only make 2 dollars on each of those beers also they charged us for everything, wasn't looking for any freebees but I was appalled, I would never ever consider charging anyone for something they had to wait 45 minutes for

In my former capacity as a homebuilder who specialised in "glass houses", after each job was finished and we signed over the building to the homeowner, we always encouraged them not to "throw stones".

Besides the fact that it was probably two of the most egregiously bad meals I have eaten anywhere, the meals I had at "Bella" now "Meritage" had similarly incomprehensible waits between courses and as you would have guessed....

No Comps.

I have a fondness for Criag Laban, as a former restaurnt owner I found him a delight to speak to and though he gave us 1 bell, it was an optimistic lovely 1 bell though unfortunately well deserved since my chef at the time decided that cooking food without burning it was less important than her boyfriend.

The ironies of this statement are endless.

"sometimes I comb my hair with a fork" Eloise

Link to comment
Share on other sites

...i'm not sure who you are but you seem to have something personal against me I am so sorry to have offended you so very much.

To the contrary.

I have nothing against you or the fact that you have an opinion, that isnt the point, I do have a big problem with people creating contextually negative images from food they havent tasted and subsequently questioning the chef's intergrity or sense of style as an attempt at humorous prose especially if such person used to own a restaurant.

The quote was :

nd I can't help but think, did the chef realize that he made something that looks just like catshit with bits of litter clinging to it...or could he not see that, perhaps he never had cat or maybe he made it and said hey this looks like pussycatpoopoo but no one will care.

To say that about someone who spent the last few years working at...

Brasserie Perrier

Lacroix

Mugaritz in Spain

Gilt in New York

is *incredibly* rude and irresponsible.

I tried snackbar 2 more times ignoring my boyfriends remarks, because i wanted to try it out again for myself so not too sure about the irony of my statement about my chef burning the food at bella because she was on the phone with her boyfriend when she should have been watching the food she was cooking, that was a statement about paying attention to your personal life when at work ....not about your significant other having something to say

My point is about owning a restaurant and paying attention to your employee's behaviour (on the phone with boyfriend) and allowing it to continue to a point where it affects your customer's experiences.

Pretty much contextually your criticisms of snackbar.

Should you be able to make them ?

Of course......BUT it's a small town and scorched earth policies and harsh criticisms by people previously guilty of said issues are ill advised.

Edited by Vadouvan (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Pretty much contextually your criticisms of snackbar.

Should you be able to make them ?

Of course......BUT it's a small town and scorched earth policies and harsh criticisms by people previously guilty of said issues are ill advised.

While I guess everyone is free to speak their minds, there does appear to be a strange Bella-Meritage axis of mean persnicketyness in here the last couple of days. See above and here.

Dough can sense fear.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And in the interest of truth.....

The *ONLY* dish I have ever trashed without actually tasting.....ever......ever

is the

SHRIMP

Stuffed with duck confit

Wrapped in proscuitto

Drizzled with pistachio oil.................and lets not forget.......the Espresso reduction.

Edited by Vadouvan (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Pretty much contextually your criticisms of snackbar.

Should you be able to make them ?

Of course......BUT it's a small town and scorched earth policies and harsh criticisms by people previously guilty of said issues are ill advised.

While I guess everyone is free to speak their minds, there does appear to be a strange Bella-Meritage axis of mean persnicketyness in here the last couple of days. See above and here.

I don't want to derail anything here, but I just wanted to note that Meritage has since changed hands... and as of last week, got a new chef as well.

Carry on!

__Jason

Edited by guzzirider (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I just had an absolutely delicious meal at Snackbar.

Goat cheese salad w/ baby romaine and slow cooked egg, salmon w/ citrus salad and parsnip puree, pork loin w/ amaranth and cranberries, boneless chicken wings w/ unagi-like glaze, and cheese (Blackstick blue and Nevat goat cheese).

Everything was pretty impressive, evidence of serious talent in the kitchen. The salad was flavored with marjoram, which provided a terrific woodsy element. The glaze on the chicken was home-made, btw, and immensely flavorful. Pork itself wasn't terribly porky (but what is these days, aside from a Lobel's or Blue Hill pork chop) but the dish as a whole was completely successful.

I sat at the bar. The place was fairly busy (impressive, given conditions outside tonight), but service was perfectly smooth.

If you were disappointed w/ Snackbar in the past but haven't been back recently, I'd say try it again.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

LaBan gives it 2 Bells, although the review reads better than that.

And while McDonald is bursting with a young chef's zeal for experimental mediums, it's his knack for stunning combinations and sharp execution that makes his best dishes sing, more than the powdered schmaltz or hot saffron gel (which reminds me, creepily, of an expensive hair-care product).

online at philly.com

Some of it comes down to personal taste: he thought "the miso-caramel-glazed apple wedges crusted in crushed wasabi peas tasted like a sake-bar snack fantasy gone awry." But I really like them... He didn't care for the tallegio/polenta/corn thing, one of my favorite dishes there. Conversely, he loved the curry banana, which I did too, but I know at least one of us in this forum just hated.

But the tone was overall pretty positive, I hope it gets some more folks in there.

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

LaBan gives it 2 Bells, although the review reads better than that.
And while McDonald is bursting with a young chef's zeal for experimental mediums, it's his knack for stunning combinations and sharp execution that makes his best dishes sing, more than the powdered schmaltz or hot saffron gel (which reminds me, creepily, of an expensive hair-care product).

online at philly.com

Some of it comes down to personal taste: he thought "the miso-caramel-glazed apple wedges crusted in crushed wasabi peas tasted like a sake-bar snack fantasy gone awry." But I really like them... He didn't care for the tallegio/polenta/corn thing, one of my favorite dishes there. Conversely, he loved the curry banana, which I did too, but I know at least one of us in this forum just hated.

But the tone was overall pretty positive, I hope it gets some more folks in there.

See, I thought it was a fairly down review. Not a beating - more of a slip-slow-poison-in-food sort of malfeasance: everytime he named a positive, there was a "but" there to kill the buzz, or a separate negative to darken the mood. By the time I got to the end of the review, I felt I'd read about a distinctly lesser restaurant than he claimed to be describing, but it took me a couple of reads to figure out why.

Or maybe I'm overprocessing again. Hope most people just focus on the positives.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

See, I thought it was a fairly down review. Not a beating - more of a slip-slow-poison-in-food sort of malfeasance: everytime he named a positive, there was a "but" there to kill the buzz, or a separate negative to darken the mood.

Did we read the same review? :smile:

smoked fish and eggs

pork tenderloin

chicken wings

pan-roasted cauliflower

fingerlings with gruyere broth

wild mushrooms

the Blackstick blue

the Nevat

the banana

All of these are praised without mentioning negatives

And his only complaint about the brussels sprouts is that foam is "cliche"; he doesn't suggest that it substantially detracted from the dish

I agree with Phil's assessment.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

are there not a lot of people in there now?  every time i've walked by it's been pretty hoppin.

Yeah, I always see folks in there too, but as was mentioned in the review, I feel like a lot of them are kind of hanging out, rather than eating, a consequence of comfy chairs and a fireplace, I suspect. But that's just an impression, I don't know that for sure.

I guess what I meant was that I've been surprised to mention snackbar to a few people recently who hadn't even heard of the place, and I hope that the review makes snackbar seem intriguing enough for some of them to try it.

And sure there were a few "-but" qualifiers thrown in amongst the compliments, like the hair gel comment... but not for everything, I just overall got the sense from the review that he liked most of the food. Even calling the foam a cliché was tempered, he even acknowledged that it might have had a point.

The execution issues seemed like relatively mild complaints, and he followed them up with "Perhaps it was just an off night, because on my next visit, it was as if the kitchen couldn't miss."

So yeah, it's not a rave, but it read better than the average 2-bell review to me.

Edited by philadining (log)

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

well I read the review. I believe if food was Labans only observation, it looks as like Snack Bar would have gotten 3 bells. But he takes into an account the entire package. So maybe he loved the food, but did not feel that everything else warrented a 3 bells review. In any case. The review as it stands is extremely positive for Johnny Macks food. I noticed that he barely touched on the service and the decor, which he always does. Congradulations to Johnny and his staff. It, in my book is an outstanding review and endorsement for your food.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I just noticed something amusing:

LaBan's snackbar review:

Those sprouts, tossed with shaved black truffles and toasted marcona almonds, are one of Snackbar's most seriously addictive whimsies, though I could do without the pouf of almond milk foam. It may be just the right soupçon of ethereal texture and fleeting emotion - but foam is such an overdone cliche.

LaBan's Blackfish review (the previous week):

Al-dente risotto is studded with soft nuggets of subtly sweet chestnuts poached in olive oil, then brightened with a tart cloud of froth made from pureed currants and red wine.

So, for those keeping score: froth = good; foam = cliché. Or maybe foam just jumped the shark in the past week.

Edited to Add:

LaBan's (4-bell) Lacroix review, Dec 10, 2006:

Or even a garnish of golden beets and asparagus tips tossed in gouda cream, an amber froth of vermouth and aged cheese so diabolically good it should be served on its own with a straw.

and (same review)

This intense cup of roasted shellfish bisque, steeped with lemongrass and ginger, came topped with a dollop of coffee-scented milk foam, a twinkle of gold leaf, and a sidespoon cradling a nugget of salt-speckled toffee. Stirred together, the already intriguing soup transformed into an otherworldly potion of sweet deep-sea luxury with a whiff of smoky salt. It was at once profoundly complex, ethereally light and totally unexpected. So make that latte a grande next time. Because it's the taste of greatness brewing.

No disdain to be seen about the tired trendiness of froths here, so, I'm not sure why he's so dismissive of the specific foam on snackbar's Brussels Sprouts.

Edited by philadining (log)

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Your post reminds me of an important point Phil...

The word "Foam" seems to have fallen victim of not just Laban but people who are anxious to communicate the fact that they have moved on and are on point with what is current.

You frequently hear the phrases "foams are done", "foams are so yesterday" ect ect.......

But ultimately most of these people who make these statements are hypocrites.

Fact is that there is a structural reason for a foam sauce (provided the flavor is intense enough) that cannot be achieved almost any other way.

It provides a flavor in a different medium from a solid, puree or liquid.

Thus in terms of flavor delivery, it would be mostly silly and messy to put two liquid sauces in a composed dish without the two flavors being blurred.

A foam allows you to layer and suspend flavors.

The composed flavor of the dish is thus about flavor delivery.

Flavor delivery is different if you put two liquid sauces on the same spoon next to each other as opposed to one in liquid form and the second in a foamy consistency above it.

It's a fairly simple experiment anyone can do.

Therefore all we are left with is the use of the word "foam".

Responding differently to the word "froth" is disingenous and frankly silly.

At the end of the day, it is a structural method that has become a mainstay in cooking repetoire.

Saying foams are overdone is kinda silly when everyone is running around eating cryptically named compositions (17 so far in philadelphia) that are all essentially ceasar salads.

It's hilarious....

"Hearts of organic romaine with garlic croutons and lemon-parmesan dressing"

Seriously we are sorrounded by bullshit and no one is complaining about that.

People are even serving "grilled" ceasar salads.

Arugula pesto

Red pepper tapenade

tomato confit

pumpkin bisque..........

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Your post reminds me of an important point Phil...

The word "Foam" seems to have fallen victim of not just Laban but people who are anxious to communicate the fact that they have moved on and are on point with what is current.

You frequently hear the phrases "foams are done", "foams are so yesterday" ect ect.......

[experiment demonstrating foam's function deleted]

Therefore all we are left with is the use of the word "foam".

Responding differently to the word "froth" is disingenous and frankly silly.

At the end of the day, it is a structural method that has become a mainstay in cooking repetoire.

Saying foams are overdone is kinda silly when everyone is running around eating cryptically named compositions (17 so far in philadelphia) that are all essentially ceasar salads.

It's hilarious....

"Hearts of organic romaine with garlic croutons and lemon-parmesan dressing"

Where are the anchovies?

Seriously we are sorrounded by bullshit and no one is complaining about that.

People are even serving "grilled" ceasar salads.

Arugula pesto

Red pepper tapenade

tomato confit

pumpkin bisque..........

Welcome to the world of fashion, V., where function rides in the back of the bus and one-upmanship is in the driver's seat.

My roomie told me recently of the reaction he got from a friend at a local club to the L.L. Bean winter jacket he was wearing.

"L.L. Bean? I wore L.L. Bean...five years ago," the friend told him, with the obvious purpose of showing my roomie that he was so past it it was painful.

Now, both my roomie and I wear L.L. Bean because their stuff keeps you warm and is built to last. Those who understand the function an item (or technique, as in this case) performs will (we hope) be less inclined to go with the whims of the trendy. (Or as I responded to the roomie after he related this incident: "That's the beauty of Brooks Brothers. It's never in fashion, so it's never out of fashion.")

But since (as with the wine showoffs described in that Washington Post article on the new BYOB thread) many people engage in activities like this mainly in order to meet their need for status validation, you're going to have things like people declaring foam over when it will never be over. The fact that the technique is of very recent provenance for a lot of foods made it trendy. It will last because it performs a real function, as you demonstrated. The trendoids will move on and everyone else will continue to enjoy it.

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

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

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was in snackbar last night and wanted to share just how wonderful a place it is. With the exception of discussing the food (which never fails to amaze me) I wanted to touch on two aspects I think are outstanding.

First, I think the careful thought they've put into their beer selection is impressive. This attention is translating nicely into their selections of wine as well: the inclusion of the Pichon Lalande was a suprisingly welcome addition.

Secondly, I feel the service is seamless. No, it's not fine dining service but the warmth of the hospitality as well as the general knowledge, friendliness and promptness of the staff is a compliment to the directorial eye of Jon Makar.

With each successive visit, I become more and more impressed. The only thing that doesn't change is the thoughtfulness and quality of the food; I say this only to frame it in the context of the impressively-improving elements that accompany it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...