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

Great eats in Fort Lauderdale

Fellow eater and I spent some time in Fort Lauderdale recently.  We had some great meals so I wanted to share them with you.  I also wanted to memorialize them for the next time we visit.  Here they are in no particular order:

1.Asia Bay – This was our second visit to this Asian gem on a canal on Las Olas.  Las Olas is the main drag in the town.  There are many high end shops, bars, and restaurants.  We were lucky enough to sit outside at a table right on the canal.  We split the spicy tuna sushi and spring rolls, both of which were out of this world.  I had the shrimp fried rice, which had a nice kick to it.  I went with the medium spice level and that was plenty hot.  I was hoping to return for another meal but we ran out of time.

2.Steak 954 – We had both breakfast and dinner here.  This is a Stephen Starr place, somewhat similar to his Barclay Prime in Philadelphia.  The only discernible difference is the weather!  We sat outside overlooking A1A for both meals.  As with all Starr establishments I’ve been to, the service was impeccable and the ingredients were high quality.

I had the wagyu sliders and the scallops as my entree.  FE had a 22 0z. ribeye.  Everything was great.  We shared the ice cream sandwiches for dessert.  OK, OK, I ate most of them.  The red velvet cookies with cream cheese gelato and the gingersnaps with green tea were my favorites.

3.Hoffman’s Chocolates – This is an ice cream place and a chocolatier, also on Las Olas.  The stellar coffee ice cream was great.  I would go back just for that.

4.Kilwin’s – Another ice cream place and chocolatier, also on Las Olas.  The cookies n’cream on a homemade waffle cone was delicious.  FE had a chocolate-covered twinkie which FE thought was great.

5.Seasons 52 – Although this is a chain, we love this location.  The food is always terrific and the place has a great vibe because of the weather.  You can’t go wrong with any of the items here, especially the mini desserts!  I recommend the chocolate peanut butter one.

6.Serafina by the Water – This is an Italian restaurant located on a canal.  The setting is perfect – right on the canal along a row of docked yachts.  The portions are large so we didn’t order an appetizer.  I had the pappardelle bolognese and FE had king crab with squid ink pasta.  This was FE’s favorite dish of the week.  For dessert, we had chocolate mousse and tiramisu.

7.Angelo Elia Pizza – This appears to be a local chain.  We visited the Federal Highway location.  The pizza is fantastic and we shared the arancini appetizer.  We were too full for dessert there so we stopped at Whole Foods for cookies.

Great eats in Fort Lauderdale

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…

NYC eating…

So I returned to NYC for a sweltering day of eating.  This would usually be followed with a ton of walking around but alas, the walking was curtailed by the oppressive heat.  I actually used an umbrella!

It was time to return to the usual NYC haunts which did not disappoint.  First up was Lupa for lunch.  Fellow eater and I love getting to Lupa early for the first round of pasta for the day.  It just tastes better!  We decided to go for the five course pasta tasting menu.  It was a great decision except for the total overload of carbs.  We enjoyed the tonnarelli cache e pepe, the saltimbocca ravioli, and the bucatini all’amatriciana the most.

The tonnarelli was a delicious blend of pecorino and parmigiano, and a heavy dose of black pepper.  Perfect flavors for a small plate!  The ravioli was stuffed with veal, prosciutto, mascarpone, pecorino, and parmigiano, and served with prosciutto breadcrumbs and sage butter.  Another small plate of deliciousness.

The tasting menu came with a peach sorbet at the end.  It was surprisingly tasty and especially welcome on such a warm day.

Our second stop was ABC Kitchen for dinner.  Fellow eater and I shared the Akaushi burger and the mushroom, parmesan, and farm egg pizza.  I know, we always order the same dishes but where else can I eat these?  We were so stuffed we didn’t even need an appetizer or dessert.

I’m already planning our return visit.  Happy eating!

NYC eating…

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…