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Found 3 results

  1. My wife and I had dinner at Laurel last night, which I've seen consistently seen reviewed as one of, if not the best, restaurant in Philadelphia. We had a positive experience, though it definitely did not live up to the hype. On the positive side, it is rare to dine at a restaurant of this caliber that is also BYOB, and the $85/8-course price fix is exceedingly reasonable by the standards of refined dining in major American cities. The restaurant is a tiny hole-in-the-wall place devoid of any character or ambiance whatsoever, and it's a pretty tight squeeze. The service was good - servers were attentive, provided a helpful explanation of each dish, and weren't overbearing when monitoring our wine glasses. Generally speaking, Laurel tends more toward the food-as-art concept than food-for-enjoyment. The first two dishes were frozen - hamachi with frozen horseradish powder and green apple and shaved frozen foie gras with granola and champagne grapes. These were two of the most unusual dishes I've ever eaten with very complex flavors and textures that would be a challenge for even the most refined palette, but I would be hard pressed to describe either as "delicious". The high points were the smoky sea scallop with ginger and the arctic char with seaweed butter, and the pork cheek with blueberry miso to close out the savory portion of the meal was also a nice dish. In summary, Laurel is good value, lacking in ambiance, and best suited to adventuresome eaters who are really into refined, experimental cuisine.
  2. My wife and I had a great meal at Townsend last month - low-key setting, good service, great cocktails, and for the most part, excellent, interesting food. I had the hamachi, the escargot, and the swordfish, while my wife had the gazpacho, crab risotto, and the skate. The hamachi, swordfish, and risotto were standouts, while the gazpacho was a bit underwhelming. I had a phenomenal cocktail called the One Block Down with an unusual combination of mezcal and bourbon.
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