What I’ve been eating

Sorry readers, I’ve been on an extended hiatus reading, eating, and of course, watching tv.  I haven’t read/eaten/watched anything worthwhile to blog about – until now.

I recently celebrated an occasion with FE at Morimoto in Philly.  It was my first visit and afterwards, I couldn’t help but wonder why it took me so long to get there?  The prices certainly aren’t for the faint of heart, but it’s definitely worth it for a special occasion.

The restaurant itself is super modern, and you sit on a raised area that you have to step up onto to sit down.  The walls and booths have lighting that changes colors every few minutes.  There are also phallic fake candles in the center of each table that certainly gave us a laugh.

The service was impeccable.  Every employee we encountered in the restaurant was polite, and seemed eager to ensure our satisfaction with the restaurant.  There is an 8 course “omikase” that is available, where the kitchen sends out 8 courses of its choosing. We felt this would be too much food for us, so we ordered individual items.

We started with the wagyu dumplings and rock shrimp.  We both agreed that the dumplings were the highlight of the meal.  The noodle was impeccably crafted and delicately thin.  The beef was tender and juicy.  The shrimp were tiny and crispy, with a slight kick of heat at the end.

We then had the spicy tuna and shrimp tempura rolls.  I’m not a huge raw sushi fan so these items were perfect for me.  The shrimp tempura was my favorite of the two.  This sushi was definitely a step up from the local sushi places and all you can eat sushi places around.

We shared the ora king salmon and wasabi fried rice.  The salmon was cooked perfectly and had a delicious sauce on top (pickled daikon if I remember correctly?).  The rice was spicy and cooked perfectly as well.

We didn’t have room for dessert though I did want to try the matcha dark chocolate torte.  I’ll have to save that for the next visit.

I’ll definitely return to Morimoto.  The restaurant is located at 723 Chestnut Street in Old City.  Valet parking is a steal at $15.  Reservations highly recommended.

What I’ve been eating

A return to the old, yet it’s new…

I had a chance to eat at an old favorite recently – “Friday Saturday Sunday” in Philadelphia.  I have many memories at this place over the years, from dinners with old friends and family, to running into co-workers while there with friends and family.  The restaurant closed about a year ago, changed ownership, and underwent a transformative renovation.

I was nervous to return for fear that it wouldn’t compare to prior visits.  Boy was I wrong!  First of all, the space itself looks terrific.  It’s warm and inviting, but it still feels classy and special.

Second of all, the food was great.  I can even say I think that the food now is better than before.  The prior menu contained a lot of old favorites, which were great.  However, the new menu is food-forward but in a good way.

Fellow eater and I decided to indulge in the pasta special of the day, which was a lamb and goat cheese ravioli with sorrel mushrooms and pecorino cheese.  I’m not a lamb fan but this was delicious.  The pastas are made on premises and you can definitely tell.

FE had the escargot which he really enjoyed (I ate most of the pasta, sorry FE).  FE had filet mignon and I had the grilled shrimp with grits.  Both were excellent.  The shrimp was so flavorful that it didn’t even need the sauce that came with it.

We didn’t try dessert.  I wasn’t in love with any of the choices so I didn’t want to waste the calories.  The homemade ice cream sounded intriguing but I wasn’t wild about any of the daily flavors that were offered when I was there.  Definitely next time!

Finally, the service was stellar as usual.  I was happy to see that Mr. Connelly is still working there, and we were fortunate enough that he took care of us on this particular night.

I’m happy to highly recommend this restaurant, but please don’t swarm it so I can still get a reservation!

A return to the old, yet it’s new…

What I’ve been eating…

I have to confess, I was lucky enough to eat at Barclay Prime yet again recently.  I ate my usual and it was excellent (again).  I did have the coffee ice cream with chocolate brownie chunks this time, which was the special flavor of the day.  Wow.

I was also lucky enough to have a chance to eat at a brand new “fast casual” place called “Verts”.  Verts is on 16th Street between Market and Chestnut Streets in Philly (side of the 1601 Market building).  It just opened on 3/10.  I was walking by around lunchtime so I decided to stop in.  Apparently, half of the Philly lunch crowd had the same idea!  I was about the 25th person in line.  I decided to stick it out to see if it was worth it.  It was.  And p.s. the line moved quickly.

I ordered a rice bowl with falafel, cucumber and tomato salad, cabbage, pickled jalapeños, chickpeas, and red pepper seasoning.  I also had a side of pita chips and hummus.  I decided to go conservative since this was my first time here.  It was delicious.  The falafel was comparable to Naf Naf up the street (also very good).  The toppings were fresh and flavorful.  The jalapeños were so hot that my mouth was numb (also a good sign).

I can’t wait to go back and try the turkey and mushroom meatballs!

What I’ve been eating…

Another excellent meal at Barclay Prime

We had an impromptu “family party” at Barclay Prime in Philadelphia recently.  Fortunately, we were able to snag a last minute reservation in the lounge for our party of five.  Matt took care of us and as always, he went above and beyond in ensuring our comfort and satisfaction.

We had wagyu sliders, truffle mac and cheese, butterball potatoes, kale salad, roasted cauliflower, brussels sprouts, filet mignon, salmon, and ribeye.  Everything tasted great and the pace of the meal was perfect.

We ended the meal with two of the warm deep dish cookies, one with mint oreo ice cream and the other with chocolate chip ice cream.  Delicious!

Fortunately I’m going back with colleagues soon.

FYI the Patriot Parking garage around the corner on Chancellor Street offers validated parking for $17.

Another excellent meal at Barclay Prime

Dining out in Philly…

I decided to return recently to an oldie but a goodie – Barclay Prime – in Center City Philadelphia.  I hadn’t been there in some time, and fellow eater had never been, so it was quite a treat for both of us.  It’s one of those places that isn’t always on my radar screen because it sits just off of restaurant row on Rittenhouse Square.  The entrance to the restaurant is also very discreet so it isn’t always top of mind when I walk around the area.

First off, I have to mention our server Glenn.  He has helped me before on other visits and continues to delight.  Unassuming and overjoyed to describe the menu offerings, he is a pure gentleman and placed Barclay Prime as our best server experience anywhere we’ve visited.  I’ll be certain to request Glenn anytime we visit in future.  He really made us feel special and welcomed, even though he had many other diners to attend to.  Mr. Starr – please treasure Glenn and don’t let him retire!

Secondly, the food was amazing.  We had the tater tots as an appetizer.  They were great but probably my least favorite dish of the night (only because everything else was over the top).  FE was thrilled because, come on, they’re fried potatoes with ketchup!  BP also serves what are called popovers as the bread course.  These were delicious but beware because you can fill up on those and not have space for the rest of the meal.  I believe they’re made with gruyere cheese.  Whatever it was, it was delicious.  I could have eaten another one but I was saving room for dessert.

I had the 8 oz. filet mignon.  I’m not a huge meat eater but it’s a steakhouse, so when in Rome, do as the Romans do.  The steak was great – cooked perfectly, quality ingredients – one of the best I’ve ever eaten.  FE had the 18 oz. ribeye which he (almost) destroyed.  Needless to say, we had some meat leftovers.

We shared the truffle macaroni and cheese as a side.  This was our favorite dish of the night.  You could tell it was rich but it was impossible to stop eating it.  Definitely getting it again when we return.

The capper was dessert.  We ordered the warm cookie with double chocolate chip ice cream.  The cookie was actually three flavors in one – chocolate chip, sugar, and oatmeal raisin.  If not for the mac and cheese, this would have been my favorite.  Definitely getting it again when we return.

Finally, the restaurant itself is timeless.  The dining room is beautiful, especially when the lights are dimmed.  You can tell as soon as you walk in that you’re going to have a special experience.  What more can you ask for?


Dining out in Philly…

Healthy eating in Philly…

A few new places that just opened or are on the horizon in Center City:

1.Real Food Eatery @ 16th and Walnut.  I haven’t tried this place yet but it looks great.  It looks like a Chipotle-style buffet for healthy food.  You pick a protein, a side, and 2 veggies, and there are salads as well.

2.Crisp Kitchen @ 19th and Market.  This place is under construction but the website is appealing.  It appears similar to Honeygrow, i.e. you order on a tablet and can choose a bowl or make your own.

3.Naf Naf @ 20th and Market.  I’ve written about this place before since it’s been in the works for a while.  Apparently, it’s a Middle Eastern concept, again with a Chipotle-style buffet.  I hope it opens by the end of the summer.

I promise to report back once I try them.  Happy eating!


Healthy eating in Philly…

Great meal at A Mano…

I had a great meal this week at a little BYOB gem in the Fairmount section of Philly.  I first heard about this place on FYI Philly and decided to give it a try.

The restaurant itself is beautiful.  The decor is simple with an open kitchen.  There are lots of deep grays and reclaimed wood.

A Mano is the real deal people!  All you can eat Olive Garden garbage it isn’t.  This is real Italian food, not the Italian-American junk you so often find in the USA.  The appetizer and pasta portions are on the small side but you can order a “double” of the pasta portions for a larger meal if you like.  The main dishes were large portions.

Fellow eater and I enjoyed the grilled octopus appetizer, tomato chitarra, lumachelle all’amatriciana, and the chicken milanese.  Everything was terrific.  I would definitely order all of these dishes again next time, though I’d like to try some of the others (I’m looking at you, calabrian seafood stew).

A Mano is located at 2244 Fairmount Avenue.  Keep in mind it is BYOB and cash only.  They have a really nice website at http://www.amanophilly.com.  Happy eating!


Great meal at A Mano…