Reading this review I couldn't help but think that Craig LaBan isn't completely impartial. The review had a number of negative comments yet he gave them three bells. What gives?
He referred to the noise level as a negative but softened it with this comment:
"The raucous noise level remained Amis' biggest flaw, but it's also perhaps a measure of a clientele cutting loose in Vetri's most casual space to date"
Couldn't that be said of any restaurant who's noise level he has referred to as "ear splitting"?
Note he didn't give the decibel reading. This has also happened in past reviews of Starr restaurants.
Chows please weigh in.....
I wish they'd update the Amis website. I'm a vegetarian and am not totally sure if there is much I can eat there (I've been fine at Osteria and Vetri and in general management seems very accomodating to special diets) as the website is still mentioning the expected opening in Winter 2010. I agree with what other reviewers said about LaBan's fondness for certain restauranteurs, though I would definitely say that any Garces, Starr, etc. restaurants that get bad reviews should be ashamed of themselves since I have to agree that the staff there MUST know who LaBan is and that the restaurant must be fundamentally bad if they aren't serving him of all people a stellar meal.
re: Laura D.
I just came from Amis. Went there with a friend and my sister--celebrating her bday. I had read all the reviews about the small plates and how overpriced it was, and, of course, that LaBan was partial to Vetri/Starr/Garces places. Was holding my breath, expecting to be disappointed.
We all loved it. Started with several antipasti dishes: the buffalo mozz., artichokes, meatballs and stuffed clams (and friend who's an olive fanatic, ordered those as well). Enjoyed it all but especially liked the meatballs and clams. Then it was on to pasta and we couldn't resist. All ordered the bucatini a'matricana. We'd fallen in love with that dish in Rome and this one held its own. It was a completely appropriate serving--possibly a bit too big but we devoured every bite.
Next up was secondi. Our waitress suggested we order two but we couldn't narrow it down so ordered three: the turkey millanase, the fennel sausage and the mixed seafood grill (scallops, shrimp, squid, swordfish and skate). All were great but I especially adored the simplicity of the seafood. All was prepared beautifully.
Dessert was the waffles w/nutella and semifredo and the almond semifredo. Despite being stuffed, we scarfed down each bite, moaning all the way.
I highly recommend the place and would return in a heartbeat. Not only was the food great but the service was also terrific. The waitress was helpful but not overbearing, our water glasses never went empty and our dishes were cleared promptly but never once did we feel rushed. Don't listen to the naysayers . . . GO!
I really don't get what the noise issue is with Amis...when I went (on a Saturday night) it was not an issue for us at all...maybe some just don't like the rock soundtrack, period? There are far noisier places I can think of in Philly.
Overall I personally loved Amis on my one visit so far (except for the artichokes, which disappointed compared to the ones I've enjoyed in Rome) and can't wait to go back as soon as the budget will allow.