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Jul 30, 2008 11:18 AM

Fishtown review - Sketch and Ekta

For all who didn't know, two yummy new places opened on East Girard in the past few weeks - Sketch, a burger joint, and Ekta, an Indian restaurant. First, the burgers...

The burger I had at Sketch was a-mazing! super fresh and juicy (slightly over-cooked, but I like mine very pink, BUT that did not compromise the flavor at all). I ordered it with bacon and American Cheddar blend and the harissa aioli sauce and YUM! The serve vegan burgers, chicken burgers, smashed onion burgers, turkey burgers....pretty much everyone can eat there. They have all the good toppings (avocado! yum!) and a good cheese selection but unfortunately, all they make are burgers (no fries) and milkshakes. The shakes I hear are bangin too, but I would love the option for some fries...

I know that Ekta is close to Tiffin and will draw inevitable comparisons, but all I have to say is yum!! I had the Aloo (Alu) Gobi and Masaladar Chana and the chickpea dish was outstanding!! The cauliflower (aloo gobi) was also excellent. Their naan is excellent as is ther garlic kabob appetizer, and I have heard good reports on their samosas and chicken tikka masala.

Go to Fishtown and eat! Who would have ever thought those words would ever be linked together? It ain't just bars with good food anymore (Johnny Brenda's, M Room (surprisingly) and Memphis Taproom) and good pancakes (Sulimay's)....

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  1. Has sketch invested in a sign yet? I drive by that corner almost everyday and I am still not sure exactly where it is located.

    The other place I have always been curious about on that stretch of Girard Ave is Millie's Roast Beef. It's a tiny place up by the 95 on ramp. It looks interesting, but I've never had the time to stop and try it. Any reviews out there?

    4 Replies
    1. re: DDR4040

      sketch is on the opposite side (north side) of the street from ekta, about 1.25 blocks east. it is bright pink and yellow, you can't miss it. they have their very small menus taped to the windows for external confirmation.

      i have not been to millie's, but if anyone has some experience with the sustainable fish market otolith, i would love to hear it too!

      1. re: mazza3

        I figured it was probably the pink and yellow store, but the only thing you can see from the street is the tiny ATM sign in the window. At the very least you would think the owners could go to Kinkos and get a "Burgers and Shakes" banner to tape in that big window.

        1. re: DDR4040

          i think that the owners might be on the hippie side of humanity and would probably not even think of using kinko's. :) maybe a suggestion to have someone draw a big sign of the word sketch? it would keep in line with the theme of the place....

      2. re: DDR4040

        I just had a roast beef sandwich from Millie's. Decent beef, good rabe, weak cheese (for a cheese advertised as sharp). On the small side, but overall a good sandwich.

        It might have been a very good sandwich, except that a) I ordered roast pork, not roast beef,.b) I was the only person in the joint, c) they maintained enough attention to detail to try to sell me everything else in the store, plus charge me for the addition of raw onions to my sandwich (in all fairness, rabe was only 50 cents), and d) I went out of my way to go there, drive my car back to South Philly, and ride my bike back home before discovering the screw-up

        I want this place to succeed, and I wouldn't dissuade anybody from going - the sandwich was far above anything similar that you'd get in any of the pizza joints around there. But they need to spend a little less time on the up-sell and a little more time on getting the order right

      3. i was trying to decide between one or the other today and i chose ekta.

        they were very friendly there, and i recognized a couple familiar faces from tiffin, but this is no tiffin. which is odd because it's tiffin's former chef's joint. menu is similar but not the same. i ordered one thing tiffin didn't offer (samosa chat) and one thing it did (paneer tikka masala). rounded this out with a mango lassi and a basil naan. the samosa chat, very sorry to say as it's one of my all-time favorite indian dishes and something i've always wished tiffin would carry, was just not good at all. you know that weird burny flavor when tomatoes get stuck to the bottom of a saucepan and burn? it tasted like that, and oil. mango lassi was a lil sour, like the mangoes weren't at their peak. the paneer tikka masala was the exact same recipe as far as i could tell, minus about half of the paneer. tiffin's is $1.50 more expensive but there is a lot more cheese in that dish. rice was the same, and good. my basil naan used dried basil from a shake-can, and the bread was denser than i tend to like. i did like that the free accompanyment was a dessert, kheer. very yummy with lots of little cardamom blasts. the chef/owner took a lot of cues from tiffin (right down to the packaging, bags, labels, staff, delivery men in suits, and even the street - girard) but where it matters they don't live up. in my humble opinion. :)

        3 Replies
        1. re: rabidog

          i agree that tiffin still gets my nod, but it sounds like our food was prepared very differently. either i got lucky or you got unlucky, but the place is new, so we'll see what happens in a few months. i still think it is great that you can walk down the street in fishtown and smell indian. tis awesome. and you should definitely try the masaladar dish...that stinks about the burnt tomato flavor, i know exaclty what that feels like and me no likey.

          1. re: mazza3

            probably me getting unlucky. based on the reviews between here & yelp, the people are raving. however i try to take the yelp reviews with a grain of salt, being an all-around review board and not everyone is looking at food quality alone. many will take ambiances and prices and quality of service equally into account, which is why first and foremost i'll always be a chowhounder!! :)

            1. re: rabidog

              yeah, i couldn't care less when people say that the servers are rude. there's always a way to handle any kind of person, including rude people, to get exactly what you want. you gotta work it! and mos def, food above all else!

        2. I tried Ekta a couple weeks ago and while it was better than a lot of Indian places I've been to, it was definitely no Tiffin. With Tiffin only 4 blocks away, I doubt I'll feel the need to go back to Ekta. If I lived in the neighborhood I would probably hit them up for takeout now and again though.

          Oh, one thing I haven't seen mentioned: the seating area is practically non-existent, there are two four-tops. On my visit, one of them was occupied by the delivery guy and his newspaper. So if you want to check it out, be prepared to get your order to go in case the table is occupied.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Buckethead

            ^ not to mention it's hot as hell in that dining room, if you can call it that much!!

            i think i forgot to review sketch which i ate at just before i left for a 3-week road trip / chow tour of the country! (as an aside, i found my favorite meals in maine and oregon, and had my least favorite meals in louisiana) anyway, i was talked into the asian-style seitan at sketch which was good but i dunno if it worked in a burger format for me. fortunately i have plans to eat here with a friend before heading out to a fringe fest even tomorrow evening, and i plan on trying the veggie burger. add me to the list of people who think this place reeeeeeeeeally needs to scrap the cheese balls for some real fries, though!
            decor is super-cute and will make you want to linger, with walls you can chalk on. i'll report back after the veggie burger! so happy to be back in philly. :)

          2. As a lover of burgers I was a little skeptical but their burgers are really good. I only wish they would offer a "special sauce" type sauce because the west coast burger love in me really misses it. I also two very good shakes there, a black and white and a chocolate, just to see the difference. I too wish they served fries. My favorite burger in the neighborhood currently is the one at JB's though.