Philly dinner New Year's weekend
I'll be visiting Philadelphia from New York, Dec. 30-Jan. 1. I definitely will be checking out fun stuff like Burmese cuisine, cheesteak joints, and candy stores like Shane's and Lorne's (love candy).
But one of the nights I wanted to try a "foofy" type
restaurant. You know, flashy, hip...obnoxious. Well, not really obnoxious, but you know the type of place. Price isn't too much of an object. And I suppose I'd like the food to actually taste good too.
From reviews I've read, the rational part of me would steer clear of those Steven Star creations like the plague. Yet they sound like they fit the bill.
Having worked in Philly restaurants for 20 years, and having worked for Stephan Starr as a manager, got to tell you Buddakan and Tangerine are HOT HOT HOT!!!.
For atmosphere it's Buddakan, for food it's Tangerine (Craig La Bon just gave their chef, chef of the year award in todays Inquirer)-if looking for a reservation, James Howard is GM at Buddakan, and James Kohler is GM at Tangerine
For idonesian food, try Penang in Chinatown. Havet gotten there yet, but my friends swear by it. ITs cheap and hip. Good standbys with asian type fod would be Nan (40th and Chestnut) - this is a BYO. BIstro La Baia too, another BYO is very good northern ITalian (great Ossso Buco and calamari).
Understand that Steven Starr restautants are about being seen and being treated like you dont matter alot. That being said, I would recommend them highly. Try Buddakan (4th and chestnut - Jap flair), Tangerine (3rd and MArket - slight morroccan flair) or Blue angel (7th and chestnut, which is a french bistro). Pod if you like sushi (havent been there), rococo is ok, but not great. These are fun places, and the more poeple the merrier. Stay away from Striped bass and Circa, they have gone downhill. Overtures does a nice french dinner (5th and south/bainbridge).
You might like to try to get into Brasserie Perrier for lunch (or Le Bec Fin if you can - I had lunch there yeasterday, it was excellent and is a great deal). Fountain is of course awesome, but expensive. These are less about being seen and more about eating kiler food.
For Chessstakes, Jims or PAts. Get some Taconellis pizza if you can, make sure you reserve your dough ahead.
I have eaten in almost everygood and many bad places in the city and surrounding area. Feel free to email me if you want more info, or check out http://www.zagat.com
re: Matt Kantor
Thanks for the suggestions. I was leaning towards Buddakan, but ended up making reservations at Pod since it's new and there seems to be a high novelty factor.
They have Penangs here (NYC) so maybe I'll try Nan or Rangoon (I end up eating Asian food 90% of the time, if it's up to me).
From what I've gathered, it seems like people are in two cheesesteak camps--Pat's or Geno's. Maybe I'll have to try one from each.
I'll probably have to save Le Bec Fin (which I've heard plenty of nice things about) for another time...there's only so much food one can eat in a weekend.