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Aug 8, 2010 08:53 AM

Ian Moroney still rockin it at Pumpkin

I know this has been around for quite a few years, but I revisited last night after a long interim and I want to say it's still a top byob in Philly. I don't know why I waited so long to get back to Pumpkin. Always was one of my favorites. This was the first time for my husband, and I was hoping it was as good as I remembered. It was better, and he loved it. Happily, they haven't changed the atmosphere, which is intimate and pretty. Still have those great old wood windows on the walls. Our server was very friendly and professionaL. Stemware much nicer than the average byob.

All this wouldn't mean much if the food wasn't good. I started with a brandade. Nice presentation in a ramekin. Delicious creamy cod and artichoke topped with a farm egg. He had a beet salad with blue cheese and toasted walnuts. Both very tasty. We had brought along a nice 1998 bordeaux and the strip steaks au poivre we both ordered went very well. They came with pureed broccoli and pom pom mushrooms. Have to find these mushrooms somewhere. Extremely tender steak and perfectly seasoned. Very nice presentation. No room for desserts. Will definitely return sooner. Nice to see they are keeping up their standards. They change their menu often and feature local, fresh foods.

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  1. Completely agree with JanR.

    We do business with Pumpkin Market on a regular basis. But Thursday night was my first time at the restaurant.

    Whoa, I was really impressed. I found the dining room stylish and comfortable. Our server was warm and attentive and informed. The menu, with a focus on local, excellent quality ingredients, was both concise and intriguing.

    There was a green gazpacho with peekytoe crab. Mmm chilly and bright with cucumber, pea, cilantro, avocado and other green ingredients. Against the vegetable puree, the crab bits' briny sweetness sang.

    The beet salad was also just right for a toasty summer night. It had a cool puddle of beet gastrique and a wedge of Jasper Hill Blue. It was a little bit like my holiday beet salad!

    Chef sent us an order of squid stemperata. I didn't know that word at all. Apparently it means stamped, referring to olives which are split. This dish was sort of like an antipasti salad with eggplant, basil, fennel and thinly sliced squid rings. It too was an excellent seasonal and cool dish for a hot night.

    Next we had grilled quail. These were grilled to amazing perfection and seasoned just as deftly. I'm now embarrassed by how I hoarded and savored these birds. At the same time we had the watermelon salad with lime granita. This too was an outstanding dish. Pefectly in sync with the season and composed with local melons. The ice was packing perfect citrus zing. The melon sweetness and texture with the cilantro herbiness were astonishingly captivating and refreshing.

    The lil lady had steak tartare. She lorded over it such that I didn't sample enough to comment.

    We had haddock and swordfish. Both sweet, fresh and cooked to juicy just-done-ness. The summer vegetables with the sword and the 'corn chowder' with the haddock again show chef right on the money with best local stuff and a meticulously seasonal menu.

    Finally the panna cotta with granola and berries and a frosty glass of basil ice cream ended the meal on a light, bright and tasty summery note.

    Thanks Ian and Chris. Really fine cooking with an emphasis on local, fresh and the chef in the kitchen! As enjoyable and inventive as the best of the BYO's (Fond, BlackFish etc.)

    A few pics here:

    1. Would love to get there more, more than once over 2-3 years ago even though for ages I just lived a couple blocks away.

      I just always had the worst luck trying to get a reservation there. I wish they used OpenTable.

      2 Replies
      1. re: sockii

        That has always been my problem too. Got in last Saturday by calling that morning. They may have had a cancellation, or maybe things are slower in summer.

        1. re: JanR

          Must be a slow summer for them. Went on a Friday night a few weeks ago and the place was EMPTY. Literally only 3 or 4 tables were occupied. The meal was fabulous, as usual. Four people in our party so we got to sample much of the menu! Love that place.