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  1. We went to the new Ghibellina on 14th Street last night. The good news: thoroughly enjoyed the bianca pizza with rapini, mozzarella, garlic, calabrian chilies,fennel seed, and pecorino romano. The crust was perfectly charred and flavorful. I prefer pizzas that retain their crispness, and this pizza did just that. It was one of the best pizzas we've had in awhile, and we've been eating pizza quite a bit lately. We also enjoyed the fresh ingredients in the Insalata Ghibellina - arugula, avocado, confit, tomatoes, emmenthaler, pine nuts, pesto. My husband and I shared Spaghetti Alla Trabaccolara. The menu listed the ingredients as tomato, white wine, cod, pollack, golden tilefish, and fennel. The dish arrived and I was a little disappointed in the fact that the pieces of fish were small and not very plentiful. Then I noticed that one of the fish had been replaced with squid. My husband keeps kosher and squid is not okay. We called the server over and she apologized and said that the chef frequently toys with the ingredients in this dish. I don't really think it's appropriate to add shellfish to a dish and not alert diners. There are people who are severely allergic to shellfish, not to mention others who don't eat it for religious reasons. Before leaving we asked to speak to a manager, and he echoed the server in saying that the chef had made changes to the dish. I was really enjoying Ghibellina until the squid incident. I still think it's a great place for pizza. But I feel that the staff minimized the situation with squid. Any kind of dietary restrictions require the diner to take responsibility for inquiring about ingredients. But a restaurant should also take responsibility when they substitute one ingredient for another- particularly if it's something that may have an adverse effect on their patrons.
  2. Petworth Citizen is now open! Makoto Hamamura (x-Cityzen) is the chef. Kristy Green (x-Firefly) is the bar manager. Nick Pimentel (Room 11) did the design. 829 Upshur Street NW (Same Block as Domku) Open 7 days: 5pm-2am/3am
  3. It's been over two years since I have been coming to the Horse Inn, or as the locals simply call the Horse. In all my years of dining out, there is no other place that comes close to what this tavern delivers. Horse is the quintessential neighborhood spot. Its located away from the city's main hub of eateries, and not in downtown Lancaster. They don't really advertise, and there is a no reservations policy, yet each and everyday there is a line out the door prior to opening. The consensus is that is has everything to do with the owners, Matt & Starla Russell, have built along with their well informed staff. I have been hesitant on writing about the Horse, cause I wanted to keep it a secret for as long as I could, but I feel everyone deserves to know how truly awesome it is. For starters, in true speakeasy fashion, the Horse can be a bit hard to find unless you know what you are looking for. Located on a residential street on the East side of Lancaster City with no distinctive marquee or sign, you have to trust GPS to lead you to it. Word to the wise, park in the designated parking lot otherwise you can be certain that once your evening has come to the end, you'll be greeted with a parking ticket courtesy of Lancaster Parking Authority. There is a clear sign on the front door of the Horse directing patrons not park on the street, and to use the parking lot down the block. Once inside, you immediately head to the second floor of the stable. The decor of the Horse in an instant , welcomes you. It's as if you have been hear before and feels familiar. There are two bar areas, several tables , and old horse stables that have been crafted into dining tables. If you arrive any other time other than prior to opening, expect to wait for a table. A wait could be as a brief 30 minutes or as long as 90 minutes. I suggest you get there prior to opening at 4:30, or come later like 9 on weekends, if you don't want to wait long. So what do you order at the Horse? I suggest anything from the cocktail menu, and for dinner one must have the Burger. Of course there are several other delicious choices, but they vary from month to month depending on what Matt can pick up from the local producers. Matt Russell directs the kitchen, and his charismatic wife, Starla, leads the front of the house. On any given night you can see both of them at the Horse. Actually on most of the five nights they are open, you can find both of them. They are both graduates of Johnson & Wales and spent several years working at some of Charleston, SC finest restaurants. So on their menu, you can see influences from the South married with culinary traditions of the Pennsylvania Dutch. The Music City's 'Hot" Chicken sandwich,($11), is definitely an item that you won't see too often north of the Mason Dixon line, but the Horse executes it so well. The sandwich is composed of a crisply fried sweet and spicy chicken thigh that is garnished with blue cheese slaw served on a Martin sesame seed bun.A Horse favorite as I mentioned earlier is the Burger,($11). On occasion I have ordered it as an appetizer. It starts out with a proprietary blend of short rib, brisket, chuck and 10% aged beef. The garnishes to the burger are deliberate to include shredded iceberg lettuce, thinly sliced tomato , red onion, American cheese, and special sauce. No substitutions are permitted. The burger is crafted as is to deliver optimal flavor. The burger is an permanent fixture on the menu. so luckily you can get it any time. The menu changes pretty frequently to reflect the best the season has to offer. During the summer I had the joy of having zucchini blossoms .The blossoms had been filled with ricotta which were lightly fried and served over a salad of fresh sweet summer corn and patty pans dressed with arugula -pistachio pesto. Delish. Most recently I had the Short rib, ($28). A 12 -hr braised short rib served over puree of potatoes so delectable you wish you could order an additional side of it. I would say they are as delicious as the mashed potatoes at Corduroy, maybe a bit more. The rib is garnished with a bevy of root vegetables and finished off with a richly developed Bordelaise sauce. Technique in deft preparation does not go unnoticed, and you taste it throughout the menu whether it be in the prep of the burger or any of the delicious entrees.Now onto the cocktails. Cocktails. They are on an entirely different level than any other place I have visited , ever. I know back when I was living in the District, I was spoiled with endless options for a great drink. In Lancaster, the Horse Inn stands out as the most incredible bar program in the Central Pa, perhaps in all of Pa. I know , I know. Have I been to all the spots in Pa, No. Would I put money that Horse Inn is the best out there, absolutely. Each cocktail, no matter who shakes it, taste exactly the same. Why? Each component added to the drink is measured for consistency. Are the drinks strong? Well that depends on your spirit of choice. Of course the flavor of rum is going to have a different finish then rye whiskey, but every part of the drink is balanced as to not deliver a boozy cocktail. As I get older and my palate is maturing I tend to drink spirits as is,with a splash of water or plunk of an ice cube or two. That is my preference, but as far as cocktails, the Horse serves them expertly with mindful garnishes. The drink menu is presented in different categories which include Whiskey Proper, Botanicals, Grain & Barrel, and alternative spirits. Drinks on the menu are crafted with home made bitters as well as extracts. Seasonality is taken into account in composing their drinks as well. Currently there are a few of my favorites on the menu. The CIder Buck ($10) is mixed with local cider, Lairds Apple Jack , Ginger Beer, Angostura & Lime. Then there is the Chai if I want to ($10) made with Sailor Jerry , spiced rum, Chai cream, cinnamon & finished off with a shaving of nutmeg. I am certain you can find a cocktail you will enjoy on the menu , if not the bar keep cant certainly whisk up something to accommodate your liking. They also have an extensive selection of bourbons and whiskeys. Beer and wine round out the selection.Interested in something other than craft beer and just a good ol low cost brew? Order the Mystery Beer ($2) that are chilled in an old lion foot tub. So there you have it my best kept secret in Lancaster, Pa! Its a little hard to find, but once you are there , you'ill understand why I love it so much. If I am any where near Lancaster, I can be found at the Horse. #horseinnaround, kat
  4. 314 W. 11th Street (Greenwich Street) New York, NY 10014 Phone (212) 620-0393 Web: http://thespottedpig.com/ Menu: http://thespottedpig.com/food.php For my last meal on a (too) brief trip to New York, I went to The Spotted Pig in the West Village. It was my first time at April Bloomfield's much-hyped Gastropub (an overused term that actually applies here), and I enjoyed it quite a bit. I started with a Spotted Pig Bitter ($10) from one of their two beer engines, an excellent rendition of the style. Next I went with a Smoked Trout Salad with Creme Fresh and Pickled Onions ($16), an arguala salad with chunks of good, lightly-smoked fish that seemed too heavily dressed at first, but the dressing had such a balance an brightness it worked. I paired a La Formica Soave ($13) with it that was a nice match. For my main I had the special of the day, Pork Cheek Faggots (I swear that's how it was written on the board) with English Peas and Mustard, which were kind-of like football shaped sausages, kind-of like meatballs, and kind of like braised shortrib (except, obviously, cheek), and, though a bit over-salted, delicious. Despite the salt, I get them again without a second thought. I ordered a Domaine Jessiaume Pinot Noir with it that was also a good paring. All-in-all, for $90, it was not a bargain, but a nice meal in a place I'm eager to return to. Particularly for the burger, served with shoestring fries ($20), which many in the dining room ordered and which looks incredible.
  5. Looks like they're planning a November opening for Mad Fox Brewery on W. Broad St in Falls Church. From the Washington Business Journal's Missy Frederick:
  6. Am I right that no one has written about Maple? Named after the big slab of maple wood that makes up the bar (not pancakes!), this place is right on 11th st. We went for the first time last weekend and were very happy we did. It's a small space and you can tell that the same designers who did Cork did Maple (although I found Maple more comfy/cozy). Lots of wood, grey, etc. and the bar ends in one of those peninsulas that can be a table for four. Outside tables too. The menu is small, and so is the kitchen. That said, everything was delicious. To start we had a summer special cocktail -- gin with limonata, blackberry juice, and blackberries. Refreshing and I am now totally addicted to this drink. We had two of the crostini (I don't remember the price for two, four were $10) and they were tasty -- one with white beans and anchovies and one with prosciutto, fontina, and fig. I give the edge to the white bean one though. I had the short rib panini, which was delicious. Hearty, rich, and just fantastic. My partner had the lamb bolognese, which was also great -- just gamey enough, but not too ripe. We shared a bottle of forgettable Montepulciano, but at $20 for a bottle, it was fine. There were plenty of other choices that were a little more expensive, but we went with the waitresses wine recommendation. We thought it was interesting she suggested the cheapest bottle! Dessert was a special -- cobbler with peaches and blackberries from the farmer's market with dolcezza vanilla gelato. YUM! A few things I loved -- first of all, it is not small plates. I am so tired of small plates! Second, the prices were great. For two cocktails, a bottle of wine, the crostini, two entrees and a dessert our bill was $100 for two people including tax and tip. Finally, they seem to have cool special events. We signed up for an upcoming Italian rare beer tasting. Only quibble was that the wine recommendation was not great from the server, but otherwise she was super nice, efficient, and good.
  7. Steel Plate opened recently in Brookland from the owner of Rustik. It's located on 12th between Monroe and Newton (right across the street from Smith Public Trust, which is in it's World Cup soft opening phase). +1 and I went childless last night to check it out, although it's apparently quite child-friendly (high-chairs and what not and we saw 3 kids while we were there). We didn't get to check out the upstairs, but the downstairs space is nice. A bit dark with the dark wood everywhere, but a nice long bar down the right side, booths on the left, and tables up front by the window. Exposed brick wall, Edison lights...not atypical from a lot of new openings, but I liked the space. Our server was also very friendly and helpful with suggestions. It wasn't too busy when we were there (6:30-7:30 or so on a Thursday night with maybe 6 people at the bar and 8-10 at tables). They also have HH from 5-7pm that apparently is good a the tables as well as the bar ($2 off Rose, Malbec, and draft beers). As for the food, I didn't think it was out of this world, but we definitely liked it, look forward to going back, and are very happy to have another "nicer" option in the hood. We started with the Corn Cobblets (miso butter, herbs, mojama - $4) and the Pork Cheek Tonkatsu (tonkatsu sauce, mustard greens - $8). The corn was one cob cut into four pieces and coated with the butter and seasoning. Good summer appetizer with a little twist from the miso flavor. My +1 loves miso and liked this a lot. The pork cheek was two good-sized chunks with Japanese BBQ sauce and some greens on the side. Very rich and meaty with a nice tang from the sauce. We had a hard time deciding on entrees (the waitress recommended the lamb burger and beet catsup, which wasn't up our alley, but apparently is quite good). But we ended up splitting the Sloppy Jose (pork shoulder, tomatillo sauce, chayote apple slaw - $12) with fries and the 'Shroom Ravioli (shitake, bean sprouts, broth - $14). The sandwich was large and good. We couldn't taste the tomatillo really, but the pork and sauce plus the slaw were quite tasty. And the fries were thin cut and hot and crispy. They are served with mayo here (which I believe is homemade) unless you ask for ketchup. I liked, but did not love, the ravioli. 5-6 ravioli in a well-seasoned broth topped with mushrooms, carrots, bean sprouts, and some other veggies, and swimming alongside ginger pearls. Definitely seemed like a good light pasta dish for the season and had some interesting flavor. We had to ask for spoons to get at the broth. Dessert might have been my favorite part of the meal. We split the Uber Chocolate Trifle (dark chocolate cake, milk pudding, hazelnut crisp - $7). Served in a stemless wine glass, this was a rich and delicious end to the meal. The hazelnut crisps (almost like a cross between rice krispies and a brittle) on top were a nice contrast to the soft cake and sauce. Other menu options included Doro Wat Wings, tots, 3 salads (charred caesar, house, and mustard green), chef's board (soft goat, cow/goat blue, and firm sheep with duck prosciutto, camel sausage, and cured catfish), lamb and lentil burger, beef burger, daily flatbread, fried chicken and dumplings, veggie hotbrown, BBQ brisket, spiced catfish, and scallops, and some other sides. Definitely some interesting sounding and eclectic dishes with most things in the $11-15 range and the most expensive being the scallops at $18.
  8. Decided to give The Dandelion Pub's brunch a try largely based on location and the inability to get a reservation at Starr sister restaurant Parc. Dandelion is housed in what seems to be an old Philadelphia home and was delightfully cozy on a chilly fall morning with a fire burning in the fireplace. It was actually a little difficult to identify the restaurant from the street because there wasn't a prominent sign. I was glad I'd kept the street address in my phone. Two of us went with traditional breakfast fare enjoying the 2 inch high, fluffy Brioche french toast and Eggs Benedict. I was pleasantly surprised to receive two poached eggs over perfect English muffins, rather than just one that it seems many restaurants think constitute a full entree. The other half the group went with more traditional pub menu of fish and chips and Shepherd's pie. Both were given high marks and really hit the spot on a morning that felt like fall had definitely arrived. The bloody mary's were just as spicy as requested and the service unrushed. The house has several small dining areas and fusty English vibe. The bar area has a couple of spectacular mounted boar's heads if you're into that sort of thing. A good solid choice of standard brunch food....but nicely matched with pub classics.
  9. Went here to Fork & Wrench in February with friends that are getting married in June (we go next week to Pittsburgh to attend it! And, uh, to hit up Morcilla) as they live in Baltimore and we want to continue our dalliance with exploring Baltimore over time. Parking is pretty tricky in the evenings so we took the valet option, which was pretty reasonable. The space is nice with some activity down on the street level main floor, but we were seated upstairs with ample seating (and also where the kitchen is). Had a good round of cocktails, followed by a delicious meal. The beef tartare was goos, as was the octopus and a lamb loin 'roll' was very good. Service was good, though when we were done it took a little time to get the check. All in all a very solid and delicious place to have a nice meal. I will be back.
  10. A new restaurant opened on Hanover St in Federal Hill, the BlueGrass tavern. Since it's a few blocks from my house, I've been twice already. The chef, Patrick comes from Ryleigh's Oyster, and he seems to be subscribing to the local food movement and he's also interested in making some in house charcuterie as well. On my first trip- I just went for a light supper. They have a nice selection of small and medium plates on the menu, I ordered the bacon jam on crostini (reminded me of Kevin from last season's Top Chef). It was really good- sweet, salty, smokey. I then ordered a fresh asparagus salad and the bison carpacchio. Both were very nice. The chef spotted me as a food person (the camera was a giveaway), so he came out, greeted me, and offered for me to try something off the menu. It was slices of corned beef heart with cornichons and aioli. Very nice. pic For desssert, I had the strawberry rhubarb pie with basil ice cream. Went back for dinner with friends another evening. This round, tried his two charcuterie plates- my favorites were his duck speck, the chicken livers, and the duck rilletes. The best item, I had was the foie gras prep for the evening- seared foie gras, in between two pancakes, with egg and bacon, and maple syrup- a foie gras McGriddle. I also tried my friends dishes- the antelope loin with redeye gravy was nice, lean, and the chicken fried quail salad was good too. This time for dessert, we had the banana creme pie which was very good. I would say, this place is very promising for the Federal Hill neighborhood. blog/pics 1500 S. Hanover Street Baltimore, MD (410)244-5101
  11. First time at Fox's Den on Main Street in Annapolis. solid gastropub from same folks as Level and Vida Taco. Shared salad, meatballs and pizza. All were solid. Will go back as there as no wait and the food was solid.
  12. With its nice long bar and large sunny windows, The Vanderbilt is the kind of place you want to go to for an afternoon drink. We enjoyed a glass of the Forstreiter Gruner Veltliner 2013 ($9) and the Aizipurua Getariako Txakolina 2015 ($12). They were serving a limited prix fixe menu because of Mother's Day but we did enjoy our plate of cottage fries ($6). The vibe of The Vanderbilt is more upscale neighborhood restaurant with prices to match. But not a bad place to spend an hour or so on a late Sunday afternoon after wandering around the Brooklyn Museum.
  13. You're going to hear about this news story, so let's get it out in the open right away: "Huntington Beach Restaurant Fires Waiter after He Asks Four Diners for 'Proof of Residency'" by Greg Mellen on ocregister.com Here is my initial reaction to this, as owner of this website: The act is heinous and inexcusable, asking four Latinas for "proof of residency" before giving them service. In fact, it goes beyond that: It's just so impossibly *stupid* that it makes me wonder about how some people can wake up in the morning and manage to tie their shoes. But. Until I'm shown that this restaurant had some sort of institutional policy in place that was discriminatory, we must not blame the business for the act of one, rogue server, who was immediately fired (correctly, I will add). Maybe there's something about the "corporate culture" here that encouraged this behavior, but I haven't read it yet, and until / unless I do, I refuse to blame Saint Marc for doing anything wrong. They were absolutely correct in taking swift, decisive action in firing this individual, who - as far as I know - was a lone wolf, acting on his own. It would be wrong to punish the company just because one person chose to put his racism on full display. If anyone knows additional information that might implicate the company, please come out and say so, but until then, we *must* not assume that this company has done anything wrong. I feel terribly for the four Latina customers - this must have been so humiliating that they were infuriated - but I hope they realize that this was (until proven otherwise) the work of one, single individual. I've only found out about this myself in the past twenty minutes or so, and I have no real knowledge of what went on, but I'm asking our members to please *not* implicate this restaurant in any way until there is reason to do so, and show proper restraint in your judgments. Saint-Marc did the right thing by immediately firing this server - what more could they have done? Although I don't speak for our members as individuals, I do speak for the website with this post. And I'll be the first one to back off this position if someone produces some evidence that this type of thing was in Saint-Marc's corporate culture. Again, I stress that the Orange County Register's article is the only one I have read about this incident, so my knowledge about it is quite limited. Perhaps the manager could have acted more decisively, but if I were in his place, I would have been so shocked that I might have fumbled around also, not knowing quite what to say or do. In my opinion, it's much more important for the restaurant to act *correctly* rather than *immediately*, and it might take a few days to get all the facts in place - there's nothing wrong with that: You can fire someone just as easily on a Friday as you can the preceding Tuesday, and the same goes with making things right with the diners - the one thing that needs to be done immediately is to assure them that you're taking this with the utmost of seriousness, and that you're going to follow through. Cheers, peace, and all my respect and sympathies to everyone who was wronged in this outrageous situation, Rocks
  14. Last night I stopped by the brand new somewhat Hemmingway-themed Bar Pilar on 14th St between S and T. The small space that used to be El Camino Real has been completely renovated and is now dominated by a huge and gorgeous antique bar, with a few east coast beers on tap (including the superb Clipper City Small Craft Warning Pils and Dogfish Head Indian Brown) and a full kitchen. I had the Tacos Pilar, which were more like a couple of small bias cut chimichangas, and they were a bit on the sweet side but very good. Service was spotty, which I think had more to do with the server than the kitchen or bar. About a dozen other bar food mexican type interpolations showed up on the menu along with side dishes like mac & cheese and tater tots. The great news is that, according to owner Mike Benson, the kitchen will be open from 6pm-1am daily. In the meantime, related bar/restaurant Saint-Ex a few doors down has a new chef, Barton Seaver (disclosure: I DJ at Saint-Ex once a month, but I'm there more often just as a patron). The menu is a bit more fishy now (pescocentric?) and I had a house cured salmon, chevre, tomato, and greens sandwich which was generous with the salmon and tasty aside from the bland roll. It looks like they're narrowing down the scope of the menu while putting a bit more thought & prep into each of the remaining & new dishes. They've also added Coniston Bluebird on draft, to my knowledge the first place in the city to carry it.
  15. In honor of Michel Richard, who left California I understand because diners ignored his menu and instead asked for healthy blah food like grilled fish on a bed of lettuce, my first stop in California was for a nice burger. Father's Office definitely delivered, this is a serious burger. According to wikipedia and consistent with my own memory, it is the "Office Burger, a patty of fine dry-aged beef topped with caramelized onions, Gruyère and Maytag cheeses, applewood-smoked bacon compote and arugula served on a soft roll." I also got a side of sweet potato fries, which represented quite well. It was fairly brisk on a Tuesday evening. The place is a bit dark (that's why I couldn't identify everything on the burger) but definitely worth the stop in Santa Monica.
  16. I have an affinity for inexpensive rye whiskey. Especially Old Overholt. So when I read that a new bar called The Airedale was going to serve Old Overholt soft serve ice cream I knew I had to try it. Eatruneat and I made our way up there around four in the afternoon on Saturday to find the place almost completely empty. Our friends met us soon after and were terribly disappointed to find that they were not serving food at the moment. Eatruneat and her friend had just run almost twenty miles and were in a 'caloric deficit'. But the kitchen was transitioning from the brunch to regular menu wouldn't be ready until 5. Eatruneat and her friend sucked it up and just ordered beers after our bartender and bar manager promised to take their order as soon as possible. At 4:57 one the cooks popped his head out of the kitchen and gave our bartender the nod. Eatruneat ordered the la mitraillette and her friend got the Royale with cheese sans cheese. Eatruneat's friend said that her burger was cooked to a perfect medium rare and the veggies on top tasted really fresh. As for Eatruneat's dish, I don't know where to begin...and I don't think she did either. Her 'sandwich' was insane. Imagine an open faced baguette with a butterflied half smoke topped with pieces of ground chuck topped with onions topped with french fries with mayo and ketchup topping it all off. It was truly a sight. After they finished their dishes it was time for the reason we went there in the first place, the ice cream. Eatruneat and her friend thought it tasted a lot like Old Overholt where as my friend and I though you could really only taste the whiskey during the finish of the ice cream; however we did find a winning combo. When paired with a 'hard' root beer the ice cream really shines. We will be back for that combo - and maybe that crazy 'sandwich' again - as well as the friendly staff and nice atmosphere. On a side note, Eatruneat's friend noticed that the stairs going to the upstairs, where the bathrooms and outdoor deck are located, are floating and she was pretty sure 'flashed half of the bar' when walking up them in her dress. Be careful, ladies!
  17. Tom Sietsema's first bite tomorrow is on the Atlas Room, which opened about a month ago on H Street. We've been a few times and love it -- it's definitely elevated the game on H Street. Not only is it the best place to dine on H Street, but IMHO it is a truly great neighborhood restaurant and as good a spot for a nice meal as most any spot on greater Capitol Hill. Has anyone else been yet?
  18. I enjoyed a Sunday lunch Monk's Cafe this weekend. Charming little Belgian-ish bar with a gorgeous monster list of bottled beers and a few fine draught Belgians. Looks to be a regular pub, but the menu offers much more--mussels in a variety of broths, crepes, sandwiches (including boudin blanc and pulled pork), salads, and appetizers (including pate and rabbit terrine). My tuna steak sandwich was served on a very good roll, though it was alone on the plate except for a queer garnish of about four dressed field greens. Four. Imperfect service is made up for by genuine friendliness. Recommend the room in the way back. I'd be a regular if this joint were in my neighborhood.
  19. I hadn't heard of this place until friends invited me to join them this evening for dinner and a Grateful Dead cover band show. Not sure I'm going yet, but I don't recall seeing anything about this joint on DR.com. Anyone been? The menu looks enticing with items for meat eaters (Villains) and vegetarians (Saints). http://villainandsaint.com/
  20. We got in very early tonight (right at opening)...far from a gastropub, in the true sense of the word, but it was pretty impressive... Start with these "pigs in a blanket"... Move on to the "pub cheese," which tasted sorta like a really excellent version of cracker barrel... Not to be missed tonight, the Caesar Nigiri... Topped with some of the freshest mackerel I've tasted in a long time. I didn't love the merguez stuffed kumquats (at least not as much as one of my dining companions)... But I did love the Chicken Liver Toast (with extremely crispy chicken skin)... The much lauded Rye Pasta... Was really great. As was this foie dish (don't let your eyes deceive you)... Desserts - foregone...we'd had too much to drink. So we walked on. For those who think they'll "be hungry" after dinner - not to worry. I stopped at Il Laboratorio on the way home. It was the perfect dessert.
  21. We were excited to try Brick and Mortar after Eater named it one its five finalists for Philly 2015 restaurant of the year - along with Aldine, one of our best dining experiences in the city so far. After dining there last night, I can tell you the inclusion on that list does Aldine a great disservice. Brick and Mortar is housed in the first floor of the Goldtex apartment building - it's an oddly shaped, generic space that is really devoid of any character whatsoever. There's an enormous TV that had sports on when we got there although to their credit they did turn it off once the dinner crowd really started to roll in. This restaurant continues an annoying trend of playing loud pop music while you're trying to enjoy dinner. They have a number of crescent-shaped tables that are totally awkward and make you feel like you entire party is sitting on the same side of the table - they tried to jam us into one and then made kind of a big deal about accommodating our request to sit at a regular 4-top. The food is your standard charcuterie, cheese boards, small plates, yada, yada that you see everywhere these days. I would say everything we ate was enjoyable though nothing to write home about. The oysters were just OK, the lamb was pretty nice, as were the rock shrimp. All in all, just not a standout restaurant - there are plenty of better places to go.
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