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Jul 24, 2009 07:42 PM

Philly - so far

Hi all!

I'm in Philly right now and I just wanted to give a few brief reviews of the places I've been to so far (thanks for all of your help).

Matyson - I had their tasting menu (theme: summer produce) and it was very good. I had corn bisque with blueberries (very light), lobster and avocado salad, swordfish with pesto sauce, lamb chops and a jersey peach shortcake. These were all pretty small dishes, but I left feeling very satisfied, not full - a pleasant feeling. I don't think any dish other than the dessert made me go "wow", but then - I'm not sure they were supposed to. The dishes were not spectacular, but rather simple - with fantastic ingredients. I loved my meal and would definitely go back.

Bibou - wow, wow. This was one of the best meals I've ever had. Charlotte is a doll. LOL my cab dropped me off a block away and I sort of got lost. I called her on my cell phone twice, after the 2nd time, she had to stand outside the restaurant and wave me in. What a sweet, warm person she is. I had a wonderful cucumber soup to start (with some smoked salmon) - it was cool, refreshing, tangy and light. Then as an entree, I had rabbit patties (they aren't called patties, but I forgot the french word for them - they were stuffed with cauliflower) with some greens, creamy polenta and wild plums. Yum .... I had the chocolate cake for dessert. The chef stopped by and told me that the recipe for the peach pie came from the sous-chef's grandmother and the cake from Charlotte's grandmotjher (which I already knew). Dueling grandmas, lol. Pierre was so sweet - I didn't realize he'd worked for Daniel Boulud. Charlotte told me that they actually own the retaurant (they aren't just renting it) ,so they are in this for the long haul. Man, did i love Bibou - you were all so right about it.

Osteria - well, I just got back from dinner and what a bummer. It's not their fault but I was deflated as soon as I saw the pastas. I don't eat carbonara (too rich), mushrooms, goat cheese, pork necks, etc......There were literally no pastas that I could eat - and given that I'd heard how good their pasta was and given that I would kill for pasta, I was disappointed to say the least. I didn't feel like having any of the main courses - nothing called out to me and I was too bummed about the pasta, so I just ended up ordering the Lombardo pizza. I don't get why so many think it's a transcendent pie. It was good, but I got tired of it after a couple of slices. The crust was great, but my overall thought was that this was a pie that looked like any old pizzeria could have turned out. (the tomato sauce was nothing special). I ended up getting a half portion of pasta with tomato sauce (and I appreciate the chef doing that for me) because I was starving after eating only 3 slices. The saving grace of the meal was the polenta budino with hazlenut, that was good.

I had Capogiro today - big mistake getting a large. The fiore de latte, dark chocolate and straciatella were terrifict, but I barely ate any of it - it was soooo rich.

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  1. Great reviews, Betsy. I especially appreciate the one of Bibou, which I haven't tried yet. Please keep 'em coming!

    4 Replies
    1. re: Elaine

      Thanks! I'm going to Little Fish tonight....hopefully I will have better luck than at Osteria

      1. re: Betsypaige

        Ah! I was just there for the first time last nite - will be waiting to hear what you think!

        1. re: Elaine

          I really liked it - the place is tiny, lol - my room at the B&B is bigger! I had the seat immediately by the stoves, which was cool because I could see the action.

          I ordered the mussels with coconut milk, lemongrass and curry sauce. I only sometimes eat mussels (if I am out with my family and my father orders a bunch - and usually it's with red sauce), but I had to get these - I love all those flavors. It was delish - with a nice kick. For an entree, I had the mahi mahi with merguez sausage, red peppers and fingerling potatoes........yummy. I love panna cotta, so I had the vanilla panna cotta for dessert. I liked it very much, but I could only eat half of it. The thing is, I'm finding now that maybe I can only have vanilla in small doses. Recently at a restaurant near home, I I had a vanilla panna cotta and it was good......but it seemed overly sweet. As much as I love panna cotta, i'm not sure I would get it again in a vanilla preparation.

          The waitstaff were all young girls - very sweet. I liked this place a lot.

          What did you think?

          1. re: Betsypaige

            Loved Little Fish. I had the scallop appetizer and my entree was the mahi mahi. The food was well-prepared and the staff were sweet, as you mentioned. I'm a big fan of panna cotta and prefer the traditional type, not the pudding they serve, but I still ate the whole thing. One thing I didn't like is that at such a tiny place with an open kitchen, it was a little smoky despite the huge ventilator. I hate leaving restaurants smelling of everything they were cooking. I'll brave it for this place, tho, because it's so good.

    2. I love Osteria and think that your review was fair. If you can't engage what a restaurant does (i.e. pastas of pork neck, chicken liver, etc) then at least express that fact (it as you did) and continue on with your review. I wish others would do that more often.

      Thanks again

      2 Replies
      1. re: Chinon00

        Oh, you're welcome. I was so disappointed, too. I don't blame the restaurant for using fresh ingredients (that happen to be popular, lol) that I don't particularly like - and it seems to me the chef probably does change the menu quite often. So, I want to be fair to Osteria - the pastas are probably spectacular.