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Aug 18, 2011 12:10 PM

A Chef friend is coming to town, need recommendations!

An old friend of mine is coming to town who used to be a sous chef at the Inn at Little Washington which for those of you who don't know is a VERY highly acclaimed restaurant. He now works for a food distribution company on the west coast and is in the city next week. He asked me for some ideas for him to eat at as he has never really visited Philadelphia.

He's basically going to be interested into anything new and inventive and eclectic. Right off the bat there are a number of BYO's that pop into my head like Bibou, Little Fish, Cuchon, Koo Zee Doo, ect. Unfortunently I just found out Bibou is closed until September on vacation though.

I'm wondering if anyone else has any reccomendations. The flare of some sweet Steven Starr-esque flourecent lighting wont impress him, this should be all about the food.

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  1. Zahav and Kanella are the only glaring omissions, maybe Osteria as well. I'd scratch Cochon off the list. How long (how many dinners) is his visit?

    1 Reply
    1. re: Buckethead

      I have an unanswered email out to him about how many diners. I was also thinking about Zahav, I forget that Kanella is so good as I live next door and eat there a lot. My only thoughs on Kanella is that the really "cool" stuff tends to come in the form of specials and its hit or miss what they are going be running at any given time. Theres plenty of great places I can send him which I know he'll love, but I'd really like the philly food scene to blow him away and I think the really interesting food will do that. Kanella, while amazing, is generally (and I I'm trying to say this carefully) simple greek/cypriot food done incredible well.

    2. i recommend zahav- how about amada?

      id def check out monsu if youre looking for some interesting food- im sure modo mio will get mentioned as well (ive never been so i cant comment)

      and i think kanella is much better for brunch than dinner

      1 Reply
      1. re: InSearchOfTacos


        I recently brought my sister and her husband to Koo Zee Doo. They are from the NYC area and annoyingly snobby about their food. They were quite impressed with the restaurant. The specials can be quite good but unfortunately, they had sold out of the rabbit special the night we had dinner. It's such a fresh change from the "typical" Portuguese restaurants.

        I like Amada but I wouldn't bring your friend there. I think a lot of restaurants have been doing chi-chi tapas dishes so I don't think it would be anything different for him.

        I'm also a fan of Little Fish since it's a cute little restuarant. The seafood dishes are delicious and pricey but I wouldn't think that they are inventive.

        Too bad about Bibou being on vacation.

      2. I would bet on the recs of Zahav, and Osteria both winning awards and praises of the James Beard Society. Your chef friend would understand and appreciate those distinctions. Kanella has had excellent WOM and could provide an interesting experience.

        1. If available for brunch Sunday, LaCroix does a super brunch with all wines 50% off, almost as good as BYOB.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Delucacheesemonger

            LaCroix is amazing. Brunch there is my all-time favorite.

            I think Osteria would be a good choice. Innovative menu with great execution.

            We had a wonderful meal lately at Meritage. I think she's a very good chef. (I forget her name.)
            Checkout the menu.

            Yes, Bibou would have been great. We think Fish is excellent, too.

            Good chef at Le Virtu - not your typical Italian menu.

          2. I am surprised no one has mentioned Talula's Garden yet, which would certainly be at the top of my list.

            6 Replies
            1. re: RocketJSquirrel

              New, inventive, eclectic? Adsum. Or Distrito. Or Pub & Kitchen.

              1. re: Cheesesteak

                AdSum has a new chef, (formerly at Hop Angel ... ) and they have simplified the menu significantly. I would cross it off the list.

              2. re: RocketJSquirrel

                The chef left Talula's a couple weeks ago, I haven't seen a report yet from anyone who's been since then.

                1. re: Buckethead

                  'Bon App├ętit's latest list of "The Best New Restaurants" give a #6 nod to Talula's Garden. Believe it or not, it certainly is a distinction worth noting.

                  1. re: Bacchus101

                    But they praised the chef who is no longer there.

                    1. re: Philly Ray

                      And LaBan said there was room for improvement, thus opening the door for his departure. Personally, I'd wait for the storm at Talulah's to pass and send him to a place that is running well, like Zahav or Osteria. I mean the guy from Zahav didn't win that James Beard award for his Starr-y-esque decor.

                      And make sure this guy visits Reading Terminal Market.