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Dec 15, 2011 07:22 AM


Checked out Stateside on E. Passyunk last night. This place is incredible. Chef is George Sabatino, the opening chef de cuisine of Barbuzzo, and the food here is as good or better than there. I was with a group and tried many dishes. Everything was fantastic but some standouts were the maple glazed pork belly with crispy cheddar grits and apple, the steamed clams with house made andouille, and the braised beef cheeks. Oh and the bacon caramel served with the bleu cheese. And especially the apple donut with bacon for dessert. Can't forget the fried house made goat cheese either... really everything was excellent.

The place is tiny, go now before it's hard to get a reservation.

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  1. Nice. That sounds incredible. Do they take reservations? Can you still get away with walking in?

    1 Reply
    1. re: urbanfabric

      They do take reservations. You could try walking in, and the bar is a decent size. Last night (Wednesday) there were a few free tables around 7:30-8, but they quickly filled up. The bar got very crowded (for the small space), too. There was a Christmas bar crawl on E. Passyunk Ave so that was definitely part of the reason, but the manager told us they have been getting increasingly busy since they opened, only three weeks ago I think.

    2. I tried this place over the weekend and wasn't quite as impressed as barryg was but it was really good and I'd recommend going. A few dishes were fantastic but I wouldn't put it quite on the same level as Barbuzzo (though I haven't been to Barbuzzo since Stateside opened so I don't know if my last meal at Barbuzzo was while Sabatino was still there). I was there with a decent sized group so I got to try a bunch of dishes. I agree that the pork belly was one standout dish. Our beef cheeks were underseasoned and a little bland, and the texture was overly gelatinous, I wasn't a big fan of that one. Much better was a special that night, the "crispy pig face", which was a bit like a head cheese croquette but the texture of the filling was much smoother than head cheese, the server described the preparation as a 6-day process so I imagine a lot of that time went towards softening the texture of the skin, ears, and whatever else was in there. Some other excellent dishes included the clams, the rabbit rillette (the pear jam really added something to that one), and the two veggies we had, the broccolini and the brussels sprouts.

      Dessert was also uniformly good, the bacon donut dessert was definitely our favorite (really the bacon flavor is very subtle and perfectly done) but we had one of everything on the dessert menu and they were all above-average restaurant desserts.

      I'm not one to complain about noise normally but if I had to pick my least favorite thing about the place it would have nothing to do with the food and everything to do with the noise level, which is ridiculous. I had a lot of trouble hearing the person across the table from me even when we were both leaning in, not to mention the server. Some padding on the ceiling would be nice.

      Overall though, Stateside is a great addition to the Passyunk Ave. restaurant scene, I think it's up there with Fond and Le Virtu making E Passyunk a legit dining destination neighborhood. I look forward to going back during the week when it's maybe a little quieter.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Buckethead

        I stopped in here for drinks after dinner at Fond on Saturday night. I'm excited to go back and try the food, but I have to say, the cocktails were underwhelming. They were good, but the bartenders were reluctant to suggest anything off the menu (of maybe 8-10 drinks). When I said I liked gin, one passed me off to the other bartender and she suggested a negroni (I'm not a fan) and something else off the menu that ended up being way too floral for my taste (bluecoat, blah).

        What I really liked is that while you sit at the bar, you can look out over Passyunk Ave. Most places turn it around so the bartenders are looking out and you're looking at the bar.

        1. re: urbanfabric

          I didn't like the cocktail I had off the menu, either, and nothing else even sounded appealing to me. I ended up getting a pretty good Manhattan but I agree that they need to work on the cocktail program. A legit cocktail bar on the Avenue would be very welcome, Sticks & Stones has new owners who are going for a "noir" theme, maybe they will do it?

      2. I had another very good meal at Stateside over the weekend. One good dish that was new since my last visit was the smoked mackerel croquettes.

        However, the reason I'm posting is that they have apparently adopted a ridiculous scheme to rake in a few extra bucks: serve the dishes that require bread (pate, rillette, etc.) with far too few pieces of toast to spread the dish on, then charge $1 for more bread. I don't remember it being on the menu the first time I was there but this time I couldn't help but notice "Extra bread $1" on the menu. That wouldn't be such a terrible problem if it weren't for the fact that (for example) the liver mousse was served with a scant two thin toasted baguette slices. I asked for more for both that and the rabbit rillette. I meant to check the bill to see if we were charged for it but by the time it came I forgot to look, so I can't swear that we were actually charged but it was on the menu.

        Anyway, if you go, keep an eye on the bill.

        6 Replies
        1. re: Buckethead

          Hell, if they were still open in the evening, you could buy a whole baguette at Artisan Boulanger for $1.50. Show up with your own bread next time and see what they say, lol.

          1. re: Philly Ray

            Gives a whole new meaning to BYOB...
            Major shortage of bread is common at these small plate restaurants. Considering how cheap bread is, you'd think a restaurateur would just make people happy by providing ample bread... I remember Amada and Tinto always being really stingy with the bread too and I always needed to order more--a lot more. I don't remember if they charged for the extra. On the other side of the coin, Parc and Dandelion load you up with basketfuls of their awesome bread, gratis.

            Buckethead, how much bread was in the extra portion?

            1. re: barryg

              If I remember correctly they gave us about 6-8 more slices to split between the two dishes we had that came with bread originally (the liver mousse and the rillette).

              Also, there were four of us at the table, so for each of us to get a taste of the liver mousse, we would have had to split the toasts in half and share. It seems really bush league for a place like this to nickel and dime its patrons on toasted baguette slices.

            2. re: Philly Ray

              Good thinking, Ray. That would be a subtle hint, they might get the message. Love it!

              1. re: Bacchus101

                well, they've had a year and a half to get the hint (though didn't ArtBoul close during that time?)

              2. re: Philly Ray

                A bread story for you from Paris. My fav cotes de boeuf resto in the world L'Ami Louis serves wonderful cold foie gras, with the foie gras comes burning hot toast, about 6 large slices. It is a lot of foie gras. The neat thing is they replace the toast with new toast every 4-5 minutes until the foie gras is finished.

            3. We ate there tonight. I was thrilled with the meal. We were there early. Probably around 5:30, so it was still empty. After a rocky start of waiting way too long to place a drink order, everything was excellent. There wasn't a miss in any of the dishes we ordered. My favorite was day boat scallops with chorizo and fava beans. But the house made goat cheese with figs and strawberries was a close second. We had many dishes and three desserts and we really enjoyed them all. The service--after the slow start--was also excellent. I'm already dreaming about going back.

              1. Has anyone been to Stateside since Sabatino left?

                2 Replies
                1. re: Buckethead

                  I was there last night...

                  Really enjoyed the cocktails: Jack Rose, Sazerac, barrel-aged Manhattan, and we were the first to try some sort of applejack fizz that the new bartender (ex-Hop Sing) just dreamed up.

                  Also loved the few dishes we tried: Penn Cove oysters, bison tartare, foie gras torchon, octopus.

                  The menu is now all small plates, so we treated it as apps, and then went over to Noord for the Konijn in het Zuur (rabbit leg confit) to finish off the evening.

                  Chef Elijah came out for a while to chat and Joncarl from Noord paid a visit while we were there. There's a great vibe between the chefs/restaurants on that square.

                  Stateside is not nearly as crowded as during the Sabatino era, but definitely worth a visit.

                  1. re: Buckethead

                    I was there on Saturday night for drinks and a snack. Had an Old Cuban, a refreshing rum/champagne cocktail. Ordered sweet potato gnocchi which were heavenly.