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Taking a break from "new American" "French tavern" & "farm to table"

Definitely second Dim Sum Garden (love the pork + crab juicy buns as well as the spiced beef noodle - dry style)

And Mie Komplit from Sky Cafe for sure

Happy eating!

Aug 01, 2015
kasiav in Philadelphia

Downey's on South Street - closing

Right but the person who bumped it noted it closed, see LeahLax2526's post

Jul 31, 2015
kasiav in Philadelphia

Dim sum

FYI the one 'under the overpass' is not actually Dim Sum Garden anymore, while they do have a lot of the same menu items, it definitely isn't as good. Stick to it's new locale on Race St

Jul 26, 2015
kasiav in Philadelphia
1

Downey's on South Street - closing

When did it actually close? As of like a week ago it was definitely still open... did a little googling and coming up empty.

Jul 26, 2015
kasiav in Philadelphia

Short Istanbul Report - 2nd visit

Honestly, not really. The simit was ok to try but not earth shattering, and I was underwhelmed by the fish sandwich vendors near the Bosphorus. For street-like food but not quite street, we really enjoyed snacking on flaky Borek from some of the fast food/bakeries off every main drag.

The mussels though - gotta have em. So good.

Jul 19, 2015
kasiav in Europe

Helm

Also, out of curiosity, what issues do you have with the neighborhood? We drove and had ample parking (parked right in front of the restaurant). It is true that there isn't anything in the immediate blocks that would be reason to loiter around post meal, but the food alone is worth the trip IMO

Jun 21, 2015
kasiav in Philadelphia

Helm

When I went OpenTable was wide open when I booked the night before (weekend) but when we showed up it was a full house/no walkins so definitely book ahead if you are thinking about going

Jun 21, 2015
kasiav in Philadelphia

Helm

Yes! I was really impressed - went soon after they first opened. I posted on CH with a detailed report. Seems to be flying pretty under the radar... highly recommended

Jun 21, 2015
kasiav in Philadelphia

Zahav, High Street, or Buddakan for visiting academics?

Thanks!

May 27, 2015
kasiav in Philadelphia

Zahav, High Street, or Buddakan for visiting academics?

Actually I'd be interested in some of your Boston recs, not to derail the thread. I'm up here every M-Th working in Charlestown (seems to be a dead zone) but staying at the Hyatt on the edge of Chinatown. I have a Charliecard but it's hard justifying more than 15 minutes one way on the T to get to dinner. Been reading the South End/Back Bay suggestions for semi close options but hope to get out to Somerville/Cambridge after work soon. O Ya, Hungry Mother, Neptune Oyster, Craigie are spots I've hit or want to hit eventually. In Philly, Zahav, Vernick, and newcomer Helm are probably my favorites (and well represented here)

May 27, 2015
kasiav in Philadelphia

restaurants for a birthday dinner??

Vernick or Townsend might be nice choices... Vernick is the dressier of the two

May 25, 2015
kasiav in Philadelphia

Visiting from Boston and seeking feedback/suggestions on where to eat and drink

YES, +1 for Kanella (even brunch - my favorite in the city) and Helm, newly opened and possibly the best meal I've had in Philly this year. Still prefer Zahav to Abe Fisher though...

Apr 25, 2015
kasiav in Philadelphia

Helm BYOB

Had a really excellent meal last night at the freshly opened Helm, a BYOB a block north of Girard on 5th. There isn't much out there yet because they are so new, but this was definitely one of the most inventive and inspired meals I've had at any BYOB in the city. The menu focuses on local/seasonal with a modern american preparation, and knowing the chefs came up from Fork and Stateside makes perfect sense.

Each dish was artfully and beautifully plated and priced quite affordably for the experience. Menu is small and large plates, four of us split 4 small, 3 large, and 2 desserts for $128 pre tip and left full. We probably could have gotten away with 3 small, 3 large and 1 dessert depending on the specific dishes.

Everything we had was very good to excellent, no real weak dishes and all very interesting preparations/combinations

Small:
Rhode Island Squid, Fennel, Preserved Lemon - Great dish. Thinly sliced squid rings super tender yet full of smoky flavor. The fennel was a sliced bulb meltingly tender, then seared off

Leeks, Tewksbury cheese, Yogurt - Buttery tender leek spears on top of a flavorful yogurt spread. Simple but tasty.

Bloody Butcher Polenta, Stracciatella, Broccoli Rabe - Great dish but a much more mild flavor compared to the other 3. Bowl full of super light and soft polenta colored with beet juice (no detectable beet flavor) with the wilted greens and melted chunks of the stracciatella cheese. This would be a good one to eat first due to the delicate flavor and before the melted cheese cools and starts to firm up.

Sweet Potato, Mussels, Pistachio - A half of a regular sweet potato and half of a blue (?) sweet potato, these are the stars of the dish, poached then seared off with a sauce underneath. The mussels (shelled) are more garnish along with the pistachios. Surprisingly tasty for a dish that seems like 'just' 2 potatoes.

Large:
Skirt Steak, Potato, Jalapeno - I'm not usually one to order steak off a menu but this was really stellar. Super tender skirt steak over a jalapeno chimichurri-like spread, served with a potato pave that was just delicious. Dish was a bit spicy, but was noted by our server when we ordered

Pork, Buckwheat Noodles, Shitake - Similar to the polenta, this dish was more delicate in flavor compared to our other 2 large plates and consequently was outshined, but still a really nice dish. Juicy white meat in an intensely porky broth and buckwheat noodles.

Brussles Sprouts, Spring Onion - Another amazing dish that does not seem like much on the menu. Small pasta purses filled with buttery breadcrumby sprout mixture, mixed with baby brussels sprouts and cheese (curds?). Really great dish.

Dessert:
Chocolate Mousse, Buckwheat crumble, Sunchoke - Didn't love this one as much as the next dessert, was interesting but the (savory) sunchoke crisps did not make sense to me in the dish

Grapefruit, Tonka Bean, Chantilly - really nice buttery cookie type cake with grapefruit supremes, citrus curd, and chantilly with just a note of a flavor I couldn't place until the server reminded us of the tonka bean.

Reservations recommended; Saturday night every table was full, though when I logged onto OpenTable to book the night before, there were open slots for a 4 top across the board.

http://helmphilly.com/

Apr 05, 2015
kasiav in Philadelphia

Anyone looking for Bobbi's Hummus?

I saw on another CH thread that someone heard from their store that Bobbi's closed down. Did some google searching and saw a post on Glassdoor.com that they closed... sure seems like they are no more, which is a bummer. Loved their black bean and mild garlic hummus

Mar 26, 2015
kasiav in Pennsylvania

The Olde Bar

I do like their happy hour buck a shucks - nice not to have to go all the way to oyster house. Really enjoyed the Sorry Miss Blackburn cocktail - well balanced and (naturally) fruity considering the liquors involved

Mar 26, 2015
kasiav in Philadelphia
1

Short Istanbul Report - 2nd visit

Just returned from a weeklong trip to Istanbul. Visited in April 2008 and was able to hit some old favorites and make some new ones. We stayed in the Beyoglu and Taksim areas which I find much better for food options in general than in Sultanhamet. Many of the new spots we tried were culled from IstanbulEats.com

çukur Meyhane - located just off Istiklal Caddesi almost directly across from the Flower Passage featuring homestyle mezes. Ate here twice for dinner, reservations recommended otherwise eat early (6 or 7pm). Favorite dishes include the fish ravioli (manti) which were lightly fried cubes of fish/spices/breadcrumbs (?) in a yogurt sauce, eggplant in sauce (chunky cold stewed eggplant with tomato), pepper puree (classic Turkish spread), cretan puree (bright springy taste, greens, herbs, and a farmers cheese), grilled halloumi, thin sliced pan fried liver (with pickled cabbage and carrots) if you are a big liver fan. Fairly inexpensive meal, was a favorite

Farrooj al Zaeem - 24 hour Syrian fast food chain also a few blocks off the top end of Istiklal Caddesi. No reservations needed, very inexpensive. Recommend the chicken durum wrap (tavuk durum) with garlicky mayo and a less spicy red sauce like hot sauce. Great creamy hummus as well topped with whole chickpeas. One durum + hummus is enough for 2 people to share.

Sıdıka Meze Restoranı - a little further out in the Beşiktaş neighborhood, walkable if you are on the far outskirts of Taksim. Reservations needed. Modern mezes (updated, not fancy) Pistachio and feta spread, dilly fava puree, char grilled octopus recommended

Kara Mehmet Kebap Salonu - If you're shopping at the Grand Bazaar and get hungry, this is your spot. Tender and juicy Adana kebab was a clear winner. This spot is a bit hard to find in the far right corner of the Cebeci Han courtyard, up an alley off of one of the bazaar's aisles.

Took the bus out to Rumeli Fort for breakfast at Kale Cafe (featured on No Reservations) for what looked like an amazing breakfast spread. It was pretty good but if I were to do it again would probably stay local to the Beyoglu area and give Van Kahvaltı Evi a shot.

Karakoy Gulluoglu - The best baklava. Love the Sutlu (rich, no nuts) baklava for something a little different. I always bring back a box or two as my food souvenir.

For dried fruits and cheeses, there is a really great market street on the Asian side, Güneşli Bahçe, that has a number of shops similar to what you'd find in the Spice Bazaar with much less hassle. Picked up amazing dried apricots at Brezilya Kurukahve along with some great fruit leather triangles studded and filled with hazelnuts. Ciya and Eta Bal honey shop are also located on this street. There is a large supermarket as well for buying packets of spices cheaply as well as interesting varieties of candy bars, chips, fruit molasses etc. This street is 3 blocks inland from the Kadikoy ferry station.

My favorite snack is the mussles stuffed with spiced rice most easily found at the fish vendor stalls off Istiklal Caddesi next to the Flower Passage (Çiçek Pasajı). My favorite stall is the 2nd or 3rd in on the left that has a few bright red bar height tables parked out front. Mussels are 1TL each here and are large. Order a plate of 5 or tell the vendor how many you'd like, squeeze on some fresh lemon and away you go. There were also a number of vendors offering these in the market on the Asian side at .75TL each.

If you're hungry for crispy and slightly greasy borek while walking Istiklal Caddesi, check out Borek Center (delicious spiced beef was our favorite flavor, one portion enough of a snack for 2 at 5TL).

Mar 20, 2015
kasiav in Europe
1

Best pizza joint near Penn Station?

Hahaha actually in the same boat with the Suprema pie - down to the last 2 slices, which are in the fridge, so I feel you!

I could have sampled a slice first but I trusted the opinions here enough (and noted the top 10 in NYC designation) to skip ahead for the full pie but next time I'll definitely try a slice first before committing. Food regret is The Worst :(

Feb 28, 2015
kasiav in Manhattan

Best pizza joint near Penn Station?

It is definitely possible but if you are judging a place on a plain cheese pie, I think that is a fair across the board for level setting and would not expect to start asking about sugar content in all of their sauces on offer. Even though sugar in the sauce is common (it is sadly the norm in Philadelphia) a noticeably detectable sweetness is not what I associate with traditional NYC pies (and definitely not CT pies).

Personally, I have very strong feelings about sweet sauce (if you couldn't tell!) and wished I'd have known before picking up a pie from Suprema, I would have skipped and went elsewhere if I'd have known beforehand, so I'm just noting it here for future reference.

Feb 27, 2015
kasiav in Manhattan

Best pizza joint near Penn Station?

Yeah I almost chose Lazzara's until I cross checked and saw Suprema on an Eater article of best area eats and that it was a NYC top 10... oh well, you win some you lose some :(

Feb 26, 2015
kasiav in Manhattan

Best pizza joint near Penn Station?

I know this is an old thread but wanted to let anyone know who might come across this via google or search - Pizza Suprema puts sugar in their sauce, the sweetness is noticeable so if you don't like that kind of thing you probably will not like this pizza. I picked up a large pie to bring home to Philly today - I grew up on CT and NYC pizza and can't find any in Philly I like because in PA sugar in the sauce is the norm - and was extremely disappointed after trying a slice and even more disappointed to have a $20 cheese pie on my hands I am not really interested in eating.

The crust is good but I am really surprised this is a top 10 NYC pie.

Pro Tip: call ahead for a pie to go - I stopped in before 2pm (Thurs) and the line was almost out the door. Since I called ahead I bypassed the line to pay and was out the door in 3 minutes.

Feb 26, 2015
kasiav in Manhattan

Brunch/lunch rec near 4th & South St.?

You must be talking about a different Downey's then. As a resident of this area for the last 6 years, Downey's is not a place I would recommend to anyone for a meal. Mediocre food, mediocre beer, and it's on South Street (aka usually filled with tourists). Sorry to be a downer, but I'm shocked to hear this as a recommendation on CH

Dec 10, 2014
kasiav in Philadelphia
1

Brunch/lunch rec near 4th & South St.?

I live at 4th and South and LOVE Kanella (10th and Spruce) though not sure how into walking you are. Ethnic, casual BYOB but has the light and brightness of Sabrinas. My personal brunch favorite, actually.

Farmers market is good for snacking but not sure if there's enough there to sustain you if you are hungry for an actual meal...

Oct 16, 2014
kasiav in Philadelphia

Any Abe Fisher reviews?

Did you search the board? I did a report on the soft opening...

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9878...

Oct 16, 2014
kasiav in Philadelphia

Philadelphia Wedding Caterers (Report)

Thanks guys!

Oct 01, 2014
kasiav in Philadelphia

Philadelphia Wedding Caterers (Report)

Ok, so the recipe the bar will be using for the old fashioned is:

OLD FASHIONED Muddle: Brandied Cherry, Orange slice, dash syrup, 3 dash Bitters, 2 oz Whiskey, splash Seltzer

Do you approve?

Oct 01, 2014
kasiav in Philadelphia

ISO Best French Onion Soup in the Center City

I know you are most likely looking for a restaurant, but (shockingly) this Rachel Ray recipe is super easy and tastes just as good as anything I ever picked up at a restaurant (instead of following her directions on the bread part, I slice and add the traditional amount). Love a good bowl of french onion!

http://www.rachaelraymag.com/recipes/...

Sep 23, 2014
kasiav in Philadelphia

Philadelphia Wedding Caterers (Report)

Nice - I was actually planning on getting the Flor De Cana 4 year but when I called Canal's to verify price they said they only have the 7 year in stock. Thanks for reassuring me on the El Dorado... I was going crazy for a day over it, wondering if I should have one of my NYC guests pick up a bottle but then I realized I had crossed the line into crazy bride mode.

Sep 22, 2014
kasiav in Philadelphia

Philadelphia Wedding Caterers (Report)

Sure, I'll have to get back to you on the specific recipe they are using but my bar list is as follows:

New Amsterdam Gin
Bulleit Bourbon
Luksosowa Vodka
Johnny Walker Black
Cruzan Light Rum
Flor de Cana 7 yr Rum
Cointreau
Noilly Prat Sweet Vermouth
Dolin Dry Vermouth

My choices are mostly outside of what the caterers suggested, only because I am a micro manager and wanted to spend the time researching how I could get the most value from brands chosen (ie, scrimping to save $ where possible).

I am a gin drinker so that choice was easy, but things like rum and vermouth I know nothing about - I made my selections based on searching Chowhound and some additional googling. I'm pretty happy with the list, the only disappointment was wanting El Dorado 4yr for my white rum and not being able to locate it anywhere in the Philadelphia/DE/nearby NJ area.

Thoughts?

Sep 22, 2014
kasiav in Philadelphia

Homemade Gnocchi at Restaurants

I am partial to the crispy parisienne style at Kennett, a neighborhood joint in Queen Village. It's always on the menu and served with a seasonal combo of vegetables.

Right now the menu shows it served with pulled brisket, currants, confit leek, carrot, celery & cabbage topped with house made farmer’s cheese

Sep 21, 2014
kasiav in Philadelphia
1

Philadelphia Wedding Caterers (Report)

Thanks! You may be a good one to ask about this given your bartending background: can you tell me (a bourbon drink layman) the general difference in overall flavor profile between an old fashioned and a manhattan? We had the opportunity to do a maple version of either and I let my fiance make that call but I am curious.

Sep 21, 2014
kasiav in Philadelphia