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Try the new place/dish, or stick with old faithful?

I assume most of us here actually go out enough to do some of both. But how do you break it up? How often do you try somewhere new vs going back to a place you know you love? And the same goes for dishes at your favorite spots. How often do you try the specials, or something on the menu you haven't had, vs eating your favorite dish?

I enjoy going to great new places, but find that my favorites are still my favorites...

Apr 11, 2014
jhpark in Philadelphia

Group SLO orders?

Ugh. I've been wanting to order some Dolin vermouth, but to do so through the website I have to order 12. Given that I'm not a bar, I guess I'm making a trip down to Claymont if I want to get some. Ridiculous...

Mar 31, 2014
jhpark in Philadelphia

Tipping Suggestions - Farm & Fisherman Tavern [moved from Philadelphia]

Every time I've seen those suggested amounts, they have been calculated from the total including sales tax.

I despise the tipping situation in the US and would much prefer a gratuity that is actually a gratuity, but doubt the situation will change in any meaningful way anytime soon.

Mar 20, 2014
jhpark in Not About Food
1

Tickets Needed For Volver

Coffeehouses, I think. I would have set one up with real food, like HIgh Street on Market, or something along those lines... Presumably with a lower price point, though an emphasis on the whole 'farm-to-table' thing might give that crowd an excuse to spend more money than necessary.

Mar 09, 2014
jhpark in Philadelphia

Tickets Needed For Volver

I'm surprised the Kimmel agreed to this concept. A year or two ago they kept talking about how they were trying to get more random street traffic into the Kimmel, and wanted it to be a hangout space apart from any concerts. This restaurant seems to foster the very opposite.

Feb 28, 2014
jhpark in Philadelphia

parking close

There's an Azie in Radnor that has serviceable sushi and parking just outside the restaurant (it's part of a strip mall with Staples and a Wine & Spirits store if I recall correctly)

Cerise and Fraschetta are both in Bryn Mawr, though I can't recall if there is a parking lot and/or street parking very close to those restaurants. I'm sure there is parking at most a couple blocks away, but that might be too far for you.

Feb 23, 2014
jhpark in Philadelphia

Good news about Branzino

Headhouse Crab & Oyster Co?

Feb 23, 2014
jhpark in Philadelphia

Restaurants everyone loves--except you

There was so much good content on this thread, I figured it'd be interesting to bring it back.

Do you mean the vibe in the art alliance building in general, and not just the restaurant?

I like the quality of the food very much, but prefer the approach/style at Bibou - they're keeping the slightly more 'elegant' dishes like bone marrow, the escargot and foie gras preparations, etc, at bibou, and using the more 'down-home/peasant food' specials they'd occasionally do at bibou at Le Cheri (beef bourgignon, sauerkraut, cassoulet)

Some dishes would naturally be at home in either restaurant, but it does seem they're trying to keep the dishes separate. So I wonder if it's more a matter of quality or liking the approach more or less at one of their restaurants over the other.

Feb 23, 2014
jhpark in Philadelphia

Restaurants everyone loves--except you

I like a few of the dishes at Buddakan a lot. The short ribs were really good, and the edamame ravioli. But otherwise it was more about just sitting around and enjoying the ambiance. So overall, the food wasn't the most appealing...

Feb 23, 2014
jhpark in Philadelphia

Restaurants everyone loves--except you

Vetri. It's not even on my first tier when it comes to my favorite restaurants. The food was good, but I've had better at Amis (not to mention Vernick, Fork, a.kitchen, bibou, Lacroix, the Fountain, etc) , and given the price point, I just don't see the appeal.

I had one mediocre meal at Le Virtu and one very good one. I'm not sure if I've been back since, the inconsistency is not a big draw.

Feb 22, 2014
jhpark in Philadelphia

Happy hour near the Kimmel?

I probably would go to Garces Trading Company or Amis, but not sure I'd characterize either as cool and trendy.

Feb 05, 2014
jhpark in Philadelphia

L'aragosta, Ardmore

I think Fraschetta counts as more than semi-decent Italian, though in my book it's overpriced. Given that it's on the main line, that's not surprising.

But I haven't been to l'Aragosta yet. I'll check it out sometime...

Feb 02, 2014
jhpark in Philadelphia

Cerise

Huh. I've been there a few times and thought it was more of a 2-beller. Unfortunately, it doesn't get much better than that on that part of the main line.

Feb 01, 2014
jhpark in Philadelphia

Laurel, new BYOB on EPx from Top Chef contestant Nicholas Elmi

I indulged in the 7-course tasting menu. Highlights included the mackerel and the gnocchi, and everything else was also very good. He does have a knack for combining both textures and flavors rather well.

I personally found it pretty noisy, but it was around 10-11pm on a friday night and the place was still full.

It's definitely on the list of places worth going back to

Jan 11, 2014
jhpark in Philadelphia

Le Cheri

Ron has been spectacular in the kitchen at Bibou lately. I actually enjoyed my recent meals there more than I did when Pierre was still running the show, which is pretty impressive given it's long been my favorite restaurant.

Jan 05, 2014
jhpark in Philadelphia

Updated Zagat ratings

I dislike yelp because most reviews attempt to be clever and just end up irritating. The 'cool' and 'funny' votes don't help.

Sometimes I worry that my range of restaurants is too narrow because I rely mainly on Craig LaBan's reviews and what I see posted here on Chowhound, but there are so many restaurants in Philly there's no time to visit them all and go back to the ones I know I like...

Jan 04, 2014
jhpark in Philadelphia

Craig LaBan's brutal review of Ocean Prime

Nice. Fork has been extremely uneven for me over the years, at times very good and at times mediocre. Might be time to try again.

Dec 17, 2013
jhpark in Philadelphia

Craig LaBan's brutal review of Ocean Prime

Fork's been around for years, so that's not applicable unless LaBan resets the rule every time a new chef comes in.

Dec 16, 2013
jhpark in Philadelphia

Craig LaBan's brutal review of Ocean Prime

I was surprised that Javier got 0 bells - it seemed more like a 2 beller the few times I was there. The St James, though, was disappointing on every level. 0 or 1 would have been it for me.

I find the 3 bells to be the most uneven. Sometimes I really like them and sometimes I really don't. I always assume he's factoring in the service or ambiance and such, when I'm mostly concerned with the food. Or we just have different palates.

Dec 15, 2013
jhpark in Philadelphia

Sikora leaving a.kitchen

Has anyone been here since the change? How was it?

Apr 16, 2013
jhpark in Philadelphia

Rittenhouse Tavern

Any recent opinions on the place? I had their recently-introduced 5-course tasting menu ($60/+$40 more for wine pairings) and enjoyed it quite a bit.

Feb 02, 2013
jhpark in Philadelphia

Dinner with Pairing

LaCroix does the tasting with matching wines as well, and should be within the budget.

Aug 12, 2012
jhpark in Philadelphia

Heading back to Philadelphia, tweaking the agenda.

I need remedial reading lessons, apparently...

By the way, I'd recommend Matyson, contrary to a previous poster. I enjoyed it more than Le Virtu, which I found rather inconsistent (liked their pastas, didn't like the risotto or paella. Maybe the rule is to stay away from their rice)

Barbuzzo's is rather good as well, though.

Apr 19, 2012
jhpark in Philadelphia

Heading back to Philadelphia, tweaking the agenda.

I'd recommend adding Bibou to the list. Fairly easy to get in on a Wed or Thu if you're willing to go early (5 or 5:30) or late (9:30-10:30). Great french byo, chef used to be the executive chef at LBF.

Apr 19, 2012
jhpark in Philadelphia

Le Virtu - any recs?

Went there and it was a really mixed bag. All told we had a cheese appetizer and the fried olives, both of which were good. But the risotto with seafood was overly spicy, and the polenta with meatball & sausage were bland - it may have just suffered from the seafood overwhelming the palate though. On the other hand, the pasta with rabbit was fantastic, and the pan-roasted halibut was great too. Flourless chocolate cake was disappointing, but the chocolate semifreddo was very nice...

Not sure if someone was having an off night or it was just a matter of taste, but definitely one of the starkest examples of really good food and mediocre food coming from the same kitchen, at least to these taste buds

Mar 10, 2012
jhpark in Philadelphia

Help me find Tahini

TJ's in Media doesn't have it, at least according to the employee I asked... I'm not sure the Acmes around here have it. I'll have to try Genuardi's again...

Jan 17, 2009
jhpark in Pennsylvania