Hi J Andrew
I dined at Amis for Friends & Family night and can say it is definitely worth the trip. Highlights: pork liver terrine with mostarda, fried lamb's tongue with salsa rosa, seppia (cross between octopus and squid) with fennel and grapefruit, bucatini with pork jowl, mascarpone semifreddo.
Great wine list, too... we had a Sardinian red (can't remember obscure grape varietal) that was a stunner.
re: Bob Loblaw
They did the same thing when Smoking Betty's was opening as well as other places. Vetri et al used non-Union labor for the construction of the place. Just some typical Philly Union shit; they are like a more organized versions of the Foie Gras protesters, ignore them and enjoy the food.
Just got back from dinner there. Everything was incredible. Drank a bottle of Barbera D'Alba that was fantastic. Ate the salumi platter (a sampling of the salumi, melt-in-your-mouth coppa, and pork liver terrine), endive and celery salad (varied from bitter to salty, but I liked the salty-anchovy dressing), crispy sweetbreads, grateen (sp?) baccala, and two pastas: the bucatini w/pork jowls and the gnocchi with oxtails. Favorites were the baccala (a creamy dip tasting of salty fish), the pork liver terrine, and the gnocchi.
We ordered MORE than enough, could have done much less to keep the cost down, but everything was incredible.
For dessert we split the ricotta and espresso budino, which was a nice, light pudding that was a good complement to the rest of our wine.
Service was good, polished for a week of being opened!
I just made a reservation for the night-before-Valentine's-Day for me and the SO. Seemed a perfect choice as we'd just had a wonderful vacation trip to Rome this past fall and absolutely loved the food.
So, what are the must-have dishes? I've been reading so-so reports on the desserts, so wondering how we should plan to order to maximize the best stuff. The gnocchi with oxtail ragu sounds a must, as do the artichokes as I nearly ate them every night while in Rome...
Also, I see on their website that they're going to offer corkage for bringing-your-own...since we have a very nice home collection of wines from Italy from our trips there, was wondering if anyone knew what the fee is off-hand to decide whether to bring-along or not...
Got to try it on Thursday before a play. Wonderful. Fritto misto to die for, superb terrine, canneloni and gnocchi. Wine list extremely good, and service generally quite good. They were (not too agressively, but still palpably) trying to turn over the tables.
One little sour note. Table next to us knew a staff member and asked to have her come over and talk to them. This girls got between the tables so her butt was basically in my face (about 10 inches away) for a 2-3 minute conversation. She was a kid, and probably had no idea, but they ought to know better.
I walk by everyday and it seems like it's a place where, given the right time, a single diner could walk in and chill over a glass of vino and a few plates and not feel as if he/she is taking up valuable real estate meant for parties of 2 or more. Is this the case? I know it has the bar area, what are your thoughts?
I think you could easily do that in the bar area. We only sat at the bar for a few minutes until our table was ready, but it was comfortable enough (good bar stools, with backs) that we could have eaten there. There also seemed to be a couple high-top tables in the bar area, but I'm not sure if those require a reservation.
Went to Amis Wednesday night. Really enjoyed everything. We discussed it could be a great place to stop in for a drink and snack onn the way home. Loved the sweetbreads, lamb tongue, arancini, pasta with pecorino and pepper and salumi platter. Do not skip the artichokes! The house red wine (in 500ml carafes) was also a nice blend to go with the many different tastes we tried (and $20!) . Service was up to the Vetri/Benjamin standards (and Jeff Benjamin and Jeff Michaud were in the house as well as chef Spence) Will have to try to get past the small plates and try more pastas and entrees.
Had a very nice meal meal at Amis tonight. My photos are all up here:
We got 4 small plates to start, and the highlight was the Marinated Sardines. Really took us back to Italy as the flavor was so perfect. Artichokes were a bit disappointing compared to the amazing ones we'd enjoyed just a few months ago in the Jewish Ghetto in Rome--these were smaller and a bit greasy, not as wonderfully light and crispy as the "real" Roman version. Coppa with honey was delicious and the bruschetta w/tuna and white bean was very authentic in flavor, though seemed more Tuscan than Roman.
Had two pastas.The veal cannelloni with porcini sauce was out of this world rich with earthy mushroom goodness. The "Priest Stranglers" with clam sauce was a very hearty, filling bowl--not a lot of whole clams in it, but the broth was rich with clam flavor and had a nice spicy kick to it. Shared the mixed seafood grill which was perfectly prepared, though the polenta was a bit heavy and eh.
Didn't think I had room for dessert but we ordered two and both were out of this world. Highly recommend both the waffle with nutella and ice cream, and the amaretto semifreddo. They also knew how to make a perfect cafe corretto, my favorite after-dinner drink.
Service was great - not rushed, all dishes came out well-timed, server was helpful in answering questions about the wine list and in choosing a nice variety of dishes. Wine list definitely gets props from me as we had a lovely Puglian red for $37 which went well with our various dishes, not too heavy but very, very smooth.
Bill was $170 before tip. A well-spent indulgence for the weekend and I am feeling suitably stuffed right now.