Results 1-2of 2 Reviews
Pine Hill, New Jersey
February 12, 2007
From journal Monsters and Alice in Wonderland- Philadelphia, the Bibliophile Tour
by Owen Lipsett
New York, New York
July 6, 2005
The restaurant itself is located on the northwest corner of the intersection of 20th and Spruce Streets, in an attractive residential neighborhood that’s south and west of anything of touristic interest. This simply means, however, that if you’re fortunate enough to be able to sit outdoors, you’ll get a more authentic (and pleasant) view of Philadelphia. Indeed, it’s squarely on the beaten track as far as Philadelphians are concerned, and like most such restaurants in the neighborhood, it doesn’t accept reservations on weekend nights, you just have to show up from 5 o’clock on and wait your turn (if it’s after 7pm, you certainly will have to wait!). Whether they’ll seat an incomplete party or not depends entirely on how busy it is; based on personal experience, I wouldn’t recommend tempting fate. On the bright side, a quirk within Pennsylvania’s Byzantine liquor laws allows you to bring your own wine or beer (BYOB).
The food, however, makes the wait worth it, although the sometimes peculiar service is not always worthy of it. The best (and quickest) way to enjoy it is to order mezze from the small dishes menu. The buffalo mozzarella, plum tomato, and fresh basil flatbread is actually a pizza in disguise, and the similarly Italian (and very generously portioned) prosciutto is likewise delightful. Most of the other such dishes betray a more Levantine influence, in particular the cornucopia of delightful spreads. While not mentioned on the menu, you can (and should) order all five selections together: hummus, tzatziki, curried white bean and tarragon, muhammarah, and artichoke. The first four are excellent, and my artichoke-loving mother assures me the last is as well.
I actually have yet to sample any of the more generous main courses, but other diners seem quite pleased with them, so I doubt you’d go wrong ordering any of them, particularly as the raw materials are so fresh (and in many cases organic). Other small dishes I’d recommend, although they’re more akin to bites than dishes, are the roast beets with orange and maytag blue cheese (which can be served without the cheese) and the Tunisian spiced olives and wild cucumbers. A further benefit to consuming smaller dishes is that it allows you to save room for the relatively generously proportioned desserts, which change daily, although I’d heartily recommend the crème brulee if it’s an option.
Cash only. Further information:http://www.audreyclaire.com.
From journal Philadelphia II: Eating and Strolling