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NYC Hound Coming this weekend- Questions about Matyson and Little Fish and others

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  • roze Mar 7, 2012 06:51 AM

Hi Everyone- I've been scouring the boards for weeks now and feel pretty good about my chocies for this weekend but I was hoping for a few last minute suggestions/questions answered.

First off we have reservations tomorrow night at Matyson. Is the 5 course prix fix for dinner as well as lunch? I had trouble finding that info. If so it's beets this week- anyone been to try it out?

Friday I was just planning to go to Reading Terminal and then drink/eat my way around Philly until my friends are done looking at flowers. I love good beers and your brew pubs look so amazing it's a little overwhelming. I was thinking I should stop by McGillin's since I've never been. Any other suggestions near there in case McGillin's is crazy? Do you think Dog bar would be crazy packed on a Friday afternoon?

Dinner Friday night is at Barbuzzo where I already plan to get the budino and maybe the sheeps milk ricotta (although I wonder if it will compare to Eataly or Locanda Verde here). No plans after that as of now.

Saturday I have reservations at Kanella. I can't tell you how excited we New Yorkers are about the menu and a BYOB brunch! I have no idea what we should do after brunch that day. We are going to try to hit up Little Fish for dinner that night. Is there any sort of shopping, bar crawl you could suggest for us to do with our day? I was also wondering how pricey Little Fish is as well. I'm wondering if we should swap it out for mussels and beers at Eulogy Belgian.

Then I was thinking a burger and cocktail at Village Whiskey before leaving Sunday. I love the one at Minetta Tavern here and I heard this is similar. Do you think there would be a wait for four ladies around noon on Sunday?

I guess that's it- thanks for any and all help!

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  1. Re Matyson. Tasting Menu is dinner only. They have a lunch menu that includes some of their signature dishes. I have not had the beets, but have had several tasting menus there this year and have yet to be disappointed.

    Good Dog will be crowded,, ,almost all bars will be crowded on Friday afternoon, especially since the weather will be nice. Other places in the area to consider include Oyster Bar, and Nodding Head (brew pub).Fish has moved to 13th and has a nice bar that may not be crowded before the dinner crowd gets there.

    Little Fish prices. You are looking at 25-35 for entree, plus 10-12 for apps. Desserts there are ok but I almost always just get coffee. So you are looking at ~50-60 per person without alcohol. Food is quite good. Last time I was there I had a really nice piece of sturgeon with home made choucroute.

    Village Whiskey is good.. will it be crowded on a Sunday afternoon? Good weather.. I would say definitely. If they put the tables outside you might have a chance in grabbing a seat faster.

    Have a wonderful time and please report back. Its always great to hear other peoples' impressions of Philadelphia.

    2 Replies
    1. re: cwdonald

      I'm a huge reading terminal market fan (like pretty much everyone), but during the flower show it can be cra-zee crowded. not saying not to go, just that i'd have a 'plan b.'

      1. re: Bob Loblaw

        I think us Market regulars should be given complimentary cattle prods to use for the week. At 11 AM today the Market was no worse than a typical Saturday crowd-wise but there was something about the Flower Show clientele that was there, like walking three abreast and then suddenly stopping without any clue that there are people behind them. Oh well...

    2. Matyson tasting menu is dinner only.

      McGillin's is maybe worth one beer if you want to say you were there because of the history. Otherwise, this place has little appeal IMO. Good Dog won't be crowded before 4 or 5pm. The beer list there is pretty good, and sometimes they have special stuff of tap/cask, but if your goal is a great beer in Center City, Jose Pistola's, Varga Bar, Monk's and Farmer's Cabinet have much better draft lists.

      IIRC entrees at Little Fish are somewhere in the $22-28 range but of course you are saving money on alcohol. If you want something cheaper, I'd suggest Royal Tavern in the same general neighborhood over Eulogy. The beer list is much more extensive at Eulogy, but the food is way better (including the mussels) and also cheaper at Royal, and they always have good stuff on draft.

      As for shopping, not sure what you like but higher-end shopping is on Walnut St between Broad and 20th St, though that would take you in the wrong direction from Kanella towards Little Fish. There are vintage shops and boutiques on N. 3rd St, between Market and Race. You could also head down to East Passyunk Avenue, which has some interesting boutiques, and also a great beer bar--the POPE (Pub on Passyunk East)--along with other good bars and restaurants. In general some good places to drink beer in the general area between-ish Kanella and Little Fish are the previously mentioned Farmer's Cabinet, Varga Bar and Royal Tavern, and also Brauhas Schmitz and Tapestry. Southwark around there is fantastic for cocktails but I'm not sure what time they open. All the historical stuff is in that general area too so you could mosey by Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, and colonial-era buildings as part of this process.

      5 Replies
      1. re: barryg

        A word of caution....Reading Terminal will be a mob scene on Friday so go earlier if possible. And get pancakes at the Dutch Eating Place and/or the roast pork sandwich at DiNic's. The Market's still worthy of a visit though...just watch out for the older folks walking three abreast clogging the aisles and then stopping suddenly.

        I like the brunch at Kanella. It's a bit on the salty side if you ask me but the Tachinosalata platter and the roast lamb sandwich are both very good. People seem to like the English breakfast entree but I've never tried it.

        I liked the charcuterie platter (and of course the budino) at Barbuzzo but was much less enamored with their soggy crust pizza.

        1. re: bluehensfan

          The shakshouka at Kanella is good, too.

          1. re: bluehensfan

            I've had the pizza at Barbuzzo a number of times and the crust has never been soggy. My experiences there have all been stellar.

            1. re: bluehensfan

              I've always enjoyed Kanella. I have to agree about Barbuzzo... I like it, don't love it... Zavino, next door, is my choice for pizza and fresh pasta... great staff and value as well.

            2. re: barryg

              EDIT: Oops, I answered without seeing that you have already visited Philadelphia but the site is not letting me delete my reply below this sentence....

              I agree that McGillin's has little appeal, I second Monk's and Farmers' Cabinet, and I add Eulogy.

              Regarding shopping, Rittenhouse Square has the nicer shops (though a lot of them you already have in NYC, such as a Barney's Co-Op, Lush, Kiehl's, etc.). The Anthropologie has a great sale section in the basement and Bluemercury has niche beauty items. The Old City area, as barryg mentioned, has indie and vintage shops like Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction.*

              Have you thought about visiting one of the local sites or museums like Eastern State Penitentiary, the Phila Art Museum, or the Mutter Museum? FYI, if you plan to go the the Art Museum to see their Van Gogh exhibit, it's best to reserve those tickets ahead of time, as they can sell out quickly.

              *note: if you would like a souvenir, Art in the Age created lovely liqueurs called Root, Rhuby, and Snap that can be found at local wine/spirits stores. (I'm not affil.)

            3. Thanks for all the replies everyone. I'm getting a little anxious about Barbuzzo. If we go for just chacuterie and cheese followed by budino is that acceptable? I would rather fill my belly with a burger from Dog Bar before if the pizza is mediocre.

              Farmers Cabinet looks amazing!!! I can't believe I didn't see this place before. I'm such a jazz lover and the wine and cocktails will be a great break for some in the group (well okay one peron) who doesn't drink beer. I am very excited about that place. Can I make reservations just for drinks during the night?

              The Tachinosalata was exactly what I planned on getting and it looks like we'll go to Matyson for sure.

              I still have to do a little more research but you guys have been great! Thanks for all the help! And is it crazy if I leave Philly without a Cheesesteak? Maybe I can pick one up late night near the Palomar Hotel to soak up all the alcohol? I just think all of this other food looks so much more exciting!

              8 Replies
              1. re: roze

                I wouldn't hesitate to go to Barbuzzo, just skip the pizza. There are plenty of other delicious things on the menu. Almost all of them are more interesting than a burger from Good Dog (which I love). Is there some reason you just want to get charcuterie and cheese? It seems like a waste of a dinner unless the place cures their own charcuterie and makes/ages their own cheese. Otherwise you're getting something you could (usually) just buy in a decent cheese shop and eat at home. I don't think Barbuzzo does either, I could be wrong.

                Leaving Philly without a cheesesteak is perfectly fine, most of them suck anyway. If you had your eye on the Good Dog burger I'd save that for late night eats. The burger at Village Whiskey is better (not by a landslide).

                1. re: roze

                  i've been to barbuzzo several times and i think the pizza is really good. there was only once where i thought the crust was soggy. all of the other times it's been stellar. the pizzas aren't that big; you could probably split one just to try it and get the many other things on barbuzzo's menu to fill you up.

                  1. re: roze

                    As i said, I've had several stellar experiences at Barbuzzo. If you aren't a vegetarian, the pig popcorn, meatballs, and pasta with pork ragu are all terrific. That particular pasta dish is probably one of the best things I've eaten in a restaurant this year. As I said, I've always enjoyed the pizza there, but it is easy enough to skip and still have a great meal.

                    1. re: Hungryin theBurbs

                      Skip the cheesesteak and just get the roast pork with provolone and broccoli rabe at DiNic's at Reading Terminal. I can't think of any late night cheesesteak places near the Palomar off the top of my head that are any good, but then again most aren't in town. Go to Pat's if yo.u must do the tourist thing. It's more about the atmosphere than the product. Think Magnolia's cupcakes and you get the idea.

                      Not to muddy the waters, but nobody seems to mention Jamonera? Haven't been there so can't comment on the food, but nobody's mentioned it so I am throwing it out as an alternative to Barbuzzo.

                      1. re: bluehensfan

                        I like Jamonera about as much as Barbuzzo (a lot) but the OP seemed to indicate that they already have a reservation at Barbuzzo and since we're talking about dinner two days from now, on a Friday night, Jamonera may not be an option anyway.

                        1. re: Buckethead

                          Wow- Thanks Everyone- you guys are great. I'm sticking with Barbuzzo and probably will order one pizza along with that pig popcorn and meatballs. I may even ask to make the pizza exta crispy. This might help in case of soggy crust?

                          I've also picked a few places in case Reading Terminal is a bust. If it's anything like the Union Square Market here on Saturday's I have a feeling I'll be outta there in a second. Thanks for the heads up. I see they open at 8:00 Am on Sunday. If Saturday's boozing and eating doesn't kill me I think I'll swing by in the morning and grab some Roast Pork to take home.

                          I can't wait to check out all your bars and resturants- I'll report back for sure. Thanks Philly hounds!

                          1. re: roze

                            If you can make Reading Terminal at 8 AM on Saturday when it opens you should be fine for at least a half an hour crowd wise. The problem is if you go on Sunday, some of the Amish merchants may not be open on Sunday. But with the Flower Show in town, I'm not certain about this.

                            1. re: bluehensfan

                              So much I don't know about the Philly do's and don'ts :) Thanks!!