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Monsu-A report

Just back from the soft opening of Monsu, Peter McAndrews new endeavor. If you like Modo Mio you will like this, perhaps a bit more. The spot in the old Paesano space at 9th and Christian , NW corner is a little larger than Modo mio and seems a lot more quiet. Food is Modo Mio familiar, lots of agrodolce with vinegar, raisins, and nuts in many dishes. Some staff was there tonight and Maher will be the manager and he is quite competent. Will be open for both lunch and dinner. The nicest thing is there is now another very 'friendly' restaurant in the Philadelphia area. Only small negative is parking is a smidge more difficult here than on Girard Ave.

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  1. Thanks for the report. Was Peter at Monsu? I have reservations for Modo Mio on Feb 4... do you think I should try to get into Monsu instead? Do you think focus will be off at Modo Mio?

    1 Reply
    1. re: barryg

      Peter will be returning to Modo Mio soon, chef Damien will take over at Monsu. Peter with his whole family was there tonight. l think Modo will still be main focus for Peter.

    2. Yes, Monsu is EXCELLENT! Fantastico! Similar to Modo Mio (which is still worth going to, by the way!), but different enough to make each a beloved spot on my top to-go-to-for-dinner list. Plus, the waitstaff is very attentive and friendly. I'd say you're good with either place, but Monsu's not taking any reservations (at this point, anyway). That might change.

      Enjoy!

      7 Replies
      1. re: jayaymeye

        I hope the no reservations policy changes. As much as I would love to go to Monsu, that could be a problem for me.

        1. re: JanR

          someone posted on the post about Paesano's re-opening at the old Bebe's that they are taking reservations for Monsu at Mdo Mio

          1. re: Bigley9

            Went last night-made the reservation through Modo Mio. Worth the parking issues! Still love Modo Mio.. but I can see coming here for awhile. The portions were large...not turista menu sized. We had 2 antipasta -split a pasta- 2 secondi- split a dessert and it was too much food for us...I had to bring 3/4 of my secondi home. We'd definitely order less next time...which I'm hoping is soon!

            1. re: pat j

              What was the pricing ?

              1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                The pricing is similar to Modo--Antipasti around $8, primi/pasta around $12 (but large sized plates!) and all entrees under $20. Like I said, the plates are much larger than Modo--I got pasta and a contorno and was quite full.

                1. re: jayaymeye

                  They will also give you a half portion of any of the pastas for half price...it's a really good deal even if you decide the dish isn't very good, which is what happened with one of the 3 half pastas we chose.

                  What's with the paper napkins???

          2. re: JanR

            Yep. Now have reservations. Phone #: 215 440 0495 Excellent meal!

        2. Thanks mr cheesemonger, do you know when the official opening is? Parking isn't going to be an issue for me!

          1 Reply
          1. re: lost squirrel

            tonight

          2. Can't wait to try it! Congrats to Peter and Maher!

            1. Monsu goes to the head of the class!! I was there this evening, only the restaurant's third night. Everything was superb, service included. My wife and I are fairly picky, so we were delighted when the bread was great, and served with an outstanding eggpland tapenade. This was followed by two brilliant appetizers, Gamberi and Grilled Scamorza that truly sang. The Mpanada with salmon was truly inspired, as were the mussels with italian sausage, the broth had such a deep flavor, it was a serious letdown when it was all gone. $70 tip included, for two people. I would love to keep it a secret, but I want it to stay in business so I can try all their dishes. BRAVI !!!!!

              7 Replies
              1. re: jrodescu

                Agreed, that eggplant gimme was fab

                1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                  Does anyone know if they have started accepting reservations, or is it still a no reservations deal?

                  1. re: JanR

                    Yes, reservations. See number above to make one! :)

                    1. re: jayaymeye

                      I made reservations to go out to eat in March and I could not easily get a weekend reservation. The person on the phone already said it was booked up in early March. That seemed kind of sketchy since this place is so new... Maybe they are holding reservations spaces for people?

                      1. re: phillyjules

                        Jerry Blavat and his crew.

                        1. re: barryg

                          @ barryg: Haha. Exactly.

                          I'd actually say that Modo has such a loyal following that people are probably just getting word/getting around to making reservations. Knowing them well, I doubt they're "holding" reservation spaces.

                          Worth the wait, though, really. Too, they'll really be on the ball/have everything rolling by then. Enjoy!

                          1. re: jayaymeye

                            A few days ago, I made a reservation for next Saturday. I don't understand the comment about being booked up in early March but I know you can get in before then.

              2. Raisins in an entree...no thanks.

                1 Reply
                1. re: ChompnSip

                  If you are not a fan of dried fruit with meat , you will probably not be happy here. Many courses have dried cranberries, peaches, and many nuts/.Works great for me, but certainly understand many not desiring this.

                2. Wow! All of you who posted rave reviews for Monsu are right. Excellent. Went last night and - while we will still go to Modo Mio - we want to go back here a lot. Different and much roomier too (which makes the noise level lower). They were crowded last night but didn't rush us and the service was very good. Full review here:

                  http://legoutfriand.com/blog/?p=324

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: JanR

                    Tried for Sat nite res for 2/12. They were full but were able to get in Sun- 2/13. When we got there, restaurant was half full but they wanted to put us by the door. I asked for a table back by the Christian Street side and it was a big effort. Hostess/waitress, Kelly, said she had to check "the balance." Finally seated away from the door. We got the explanation about Modo Mio and Paesano's and told her we had been to Modo Mio a number of times. In fact, the last time we were there, Jerry Blavat was at the next table. We ordered appetizers and an entree. Had to ask for bread, which is excellent and doesn't need anything, though it's not the same bread as Modo. Found out about the eggplant tapenade as we were going out. That wasn't offered. My wife had the chicken liver and salmon and I had the octopus and swordfish. Everything was excellent. The lack of noise compared to Modo was a bonus. If you know where to park, that's not a problem. A great experience.

                    1. re: JanR

                      Jan, is that your blog?

                    2. I tried it this week. I had a couple dishes that were good ideas with poor execution, a couple I just didn't care for, and a couple very good dishes. The two appetizers, stuffed sardines and arancia, were tepid and mushy, they had obviously been assembled/fried long before we ordered them and they really suffered for it, the breading on the arancia and the "stuffing" of the sardines were both totally flaccid. I liked the flavors but it was hard to get past the texture. Ugh. We split the lasagna and it was way out of balance in favor of sweetness, it was like a meaty dessert. It's too bad, too, because the lasagna noodles were very good. Totally overwhelmed by the rest of the dish though.

                      Our entrees were much better, I really liked the "lamb in the style of the horse", and it was perfectly cooked. Dessert was beignets of some sort, pretty forgettable. The service was friendly but really slow considering how many servers there were. One reason may be the thimble-size water glasses they use, I noticed they were spending an inordinate amount of time filling up people's water.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Buckethead

                        Sorry to hear you didn't like the lasagna! It was my favorite thing when i went last weekend. It was a little sweet and SUPER rich with that fried egg hanging on top, but it hit the spot for me.

                        You are spot on with the water glass comment and really, they need another server or something-- there's the three people in there doing everything and I noticed that table to table things were inconsistent in terms of how bread was served, etc.

                        As for dessert--- I split with my boyfriend the tiniest piece of chocolate nutella tart (i mean it was a sliver) but it was a perfect amount. It was so rich (and I always have room for chocolate desserts) that the portion was spot on.

                      2. Laban gave Monsu two bells today in what seems to me to be a fair review. Anxious to go back.

                        1. We were here Sunday evening. The food was excellent, and the service was friendly and attentive.
                          Two people loved the stuffed sardine special appetizer - a different preparation from the one on the menu. The tongue appetizer was for me, and I wasn't disappointed.
                          All of our entrees were pleasing - duck leg, goat (tasted like lamb), osso buco, fish.
                          And the dessert was perfect! I don't remember the name of it, but it was a delicious rice pudding in a large ball. A big hit!
                          The noise level was high; that is the only drawback for us. But we'll still return.