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monsu dinner

went for dinner last night- it was really a lovely experience! our party of six arrived at eight thirty- we didnt have any problems making reservations for a thursday night but weekends book up quickly

started with an amuse of some sort of caponata on a piece of housemade semolina bread. good, but not exciting and not an indication, imo, of the excellent food to come.

more semolina bread was also brought out with small bowls of ricotta flecked with orange zest in olive oil. this was a really nice touch and very good- the ricotta on its own would have been delicious and im sure we would have eaten it all, but the orange zest was a bit different and enjoyable. not exactly innovative, but good nonetheless

as an appetizer, i shared the special salad with avocado, blood orange, fava beans and an olive oil vinaigrette. light and refreshing, but i sampled the mussels, and they were fantastic. plump, the broth was flavorful and the baguette on the side was spread with something (i didnt taste the baguette itself). when i come again, ill get the mussels. the calves tongue apparently tasted like roast beef so if youre looking something exciting, id pass. monsu also prepares half portions of the pasta, which is a great appetizer idea.

for the main course, i ordered the special pasta- bucatini with sardines, raisins, pinenuts and breadcrumbs. this was awesome and different, which i think played a big role in which i loved it so much. not too salty despite the sardines (absence of cheese), not saucy, pasta cooked perfectly. and if sardines bother you, whole pieces were not present in this dish.

the tagglierini (sp?) pasta was also delicious- this is a broad noodle- i only had a biteful and it was very nice. also not too saucy. gnocchi was eaten very quickly and was reported to be great

the desserts all sounded great- i opted for the special, which was basically a ball of rice pudding coated in a crust of almonds and cinnamon. there was creme anglaise and blueberries as well. very satisfying end to a meal. not a heavy dessert but the portion is big. they recommend sharing a dessert between two meal. we also got the cannoli and chocolate nutella torte (which was tiny so i imagine it is very dense)

overall an awesome meal and i look forward to going back. all the pastas were between $13 and $15- very reasonable for the quality of food. not sure id enjoy it as much on the weekend, when im sure its packed, but ill make an effort to come back here on a weeknight. my new favorite philly italian.

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  1. Thanks for the detailed review. Monsu gets high customer ratings on other food sites. Any other CHs been there? Thoughts?

    3 Replies
    1. re: Bacchus101

      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/761943

      1. re: Buckethead

        Tks, Bh...Overlooked that one!

      2. re: Bacchus101

        we went about a month ago and found it good to great. standout dish was a lasagna that incorporated chocolate and raisins. really outstanding.

      3. Went on Saturday. Great meal.
        Standouts were mussels, Roasted Fennel, Eggplant Parm, and we got some complimentary Sambuca!

        5 Replies
        1. re: BelgianBeerMistress

          i went back for brunch saturday and got the eggplant parm after seeing your post- it was delicious!

          we were at the italian market festival and stopped in to monsu around 12 30 or 1- it was EMPTY- i was shocked- please start going for brunch so they continue serving it

          1. re: BelgianBeerMistress

            Was going to try for lunch on my return from Europe, Eggplant Parm put it at the top of the list.

            1. re: Delucacheesemonger

              i was actually kinda embarassed to have gotten the eggplant parm since there were so many other more interesting things on the menu that i wanted to try (lasagna), but im glad i got it bc it was awesome. i was told the eggplant was fried first and then the whole thing was baked- so i was expecting it to come out in a baked dish. but nope it was on a plate- the sauce was so bright. i really enjoyed it. and it didnt feel heavy

              the espresso drinks are nothing exciting- i wouldnt order it again here- would rather save space for dessert :)

              1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                Get there this week if you can. Laban is reviewing it on Sunday and if it is a good one all hell will break loose.

                1. re: Philly Ray

                  thanks for the heads up!

            2. I had plans to go tomorrow, but I have to cancel because I'm not feeling well this week. :( Can't wait to try it!