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Chifa, Peruvian-Chinese on Chestnut and S. 7th Street in Center City East - Closed And Being Rebranded by a Cuban Diner, Rosa Blanca, Opening October 21st


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Chifa

Does Peruvian-Chinese sound intriguing?

From my dinner last night at Jose Garce's latest restaurant, I can happily report it was tasty, unusual and more filling than what I had at Amada for the same money.

The specialty chicken is worth waiting for: A riff on Peking duck

Alas, the noise level was high as it was packed even on a Monday night. Why does trendy dining seem to imply deafening?

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I feel like a moron (can't use the "r" word) after missing the $150 pet charge on Residence Inn's website. I looked but apparently not thorough enough. The manager was nice enough to cut it down to $75 but that's still more expensive than Lowes (only $25 per stay). Incidentally, we called The Muse (a Kimpton Hotel in NYC where we'll be staying later this year) and they confimed there is no pet charge. So if you travel often with pets, keep Kimpton in mind.

Onto the food:

They poach, hang and lacquer half an air-chilled Giannone bird in molasses, soy, vinegar and spices for six hours straight. Roasted crisp and juicy, the chicken is paired with bok choy, almonds and soy consommé for one of the most flawless, flavorful roast chickens in town.

I assume the above description from Philadelphiaweekly.com is correct. Our Chifa chicken is flavorful but the end product does not resemble Peking Duck. Our bird did not have crispy skin at all. I can certainly taste the star anise and soy sauce, which are not used on a Peking Duck. Chifa chicken tastes like it's been pressured cooked and not roasted. It's more like 3 Cup Chicken than Peking Duck. So is it good? It is....but we fed most of the chicken to our dogs because we also had the soup dumplings (where's the juice?), humita, pork ramen (nice, tender, flavorful pork), chicharrones (a large uncrispy piece of fat), and yu choy. The only thing that I would recommend out of that bunch is the pork ramen. I think the concept is to induce people who are not particularly familiar with Asian or South American food to try an exotic concept. That certainly was part of the reason why we went to Peru. At least the food wasn't ridiculously expensive, with 2 beers (they have Cristal and Cusquena) we spent only $84 (before tip).

As for DiNic's and Herschel's - we weren't bowled over by either one. I'm no expert on deli food but I thought the pastrami really lacked flavor at Herschel's. Steve's Prince of Steaks do not chop up their steak, so you get a sandwich of well done thin but chewy slices of steak. It's not bad but I don't see why it's any better than Geno's. I personally like the steak chopped up and I still prefer Jim's. Chink's is closed on Sundays and I didn't have room to eat more anyway.

The photos are soup dumplings, chicharrones, and chifa chicken.

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New Years Eve at Chifa was good enough, but it paled in comparison to New Years Eve at Amada last year. Then again, that meal at Amada ended up being a top 10 meal of all time.

The environment at Chifa was great, there was a good buzz in the restaurant, but it was not packed and not too loud to talk to one another. The service was spotty, but nothing negative other than some points of inattentiveness. The pork belly bao buns are the only thing I would order again, they were the standout of the ten dishes that we had. The chicharrones and rack of lamb were also very good. Each of the ceviches, however, fell short, and the dessert was an abomination. Not only did it taste bad, but they looked like turds on the plate (it was a chocolate pudding dessert devoid of flavor). With all of the amazing restaurants in Philly, I would be hard pressed to head back to Chifa, but like I said, it was a good experience overall.

We also ended up at Garces Trading Company at some point over the weekend for a quick bite to eat. The wine store in there made for a great value, $28 bottle of Cotes du Rhone with no corkage fee, and the food was pretty good as well. I would not order the pizza again - the type doesn't matter, the crust was simply bland - but the sandwiches (cubano, poulet fume) and salads (lyonnaise duck salad, bonito del norte) were both wonderful. I would recommend this place as a stop for anyone, especially if you want to partake in a few hours of drinking in the middle of the afternoon.

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[These paragraphs were copied from The Mother Thread as part of larger posts.
Use the Snapback Function (the little icon at the top-right of each entry) to view each post in its entirety.]

The newest of the new is Chifa, I think it's at 7th & Chestnut, from the Garces (Amada/Tinto/Distrito) empire. Peruvian/Chinese. Opens today.

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Foozbooz.com is reporting that the name of José Garces' rebranded "Cuban Diner" which will take the place of the now-defunct Chifa is going to be "Rosa Blanca," and will open October 21st. Here's the summary from Eater Philly.

Source: Eater Philly

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Artist's rendering of Chifa before and after "dinerization." [Photo:GRG/The Food Network]

Iron Chef Jose Garces"˜ hotly anticipated Cuban diner is well on the way to opening up shop to a very hungry public. Foobooz is reporting that a post on their employment site announces a job fair for the diner, revealing the name to be Rosa Blanca. It also intimates that October 21 is the target date for Rosa Blanca to open their doors, which isn't too far away.

We already knew that comfort food would make up most of the menu, and that it would be open ...

Read full article >>

[Rich, are you *sure* we can't pick up the original source on these News Feeds? It would be so much more direct and correct.]

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