Meh-rigold kitchen & Brauhaus Schmitz
A few weeks ago, I met up with the lovely buttertart and her hubster for two dinners in your fair city.
I was very excited about Marigold Kitchen, having seen several pictures of the food on their facebook page & having read the rave reviews on both CH and Yelp.
Well, there's something to be said about expectations. They influence pretty much any experience -- both good and bad.
Our meal at MK was way less "modernist" than I had expected it, for starters. I also thought that it was awkward to be served a few of the dishes family-style when the portions were meagre, to say the least (and I'm not a big eater per se).
One example would be the very first course, a "shrimp puff ceviche with avocado cloud" -- which basically was a few puffy shrimp chips and a glorified, very light guacamole. The amount of food in this case was ok, but it was just nothing special flavor or texturewise.
The "charcuterie plate with rillette, speck and mangalitsa" was served on a black slate. The portion was comically small (we were FOUR people, folks). Besides the pathetically tiny piles of charcuterie, there was a very good rillette, some sweet jam or chutney I didn't care for, and about a half a teaspoon-sized "pile" of braised mustard seeds. This might have been ok for a couple, but for four, this was a joke.
The liquid chestnut ravioli that followed was perhaps the most memorable dish of the evening, most of what came after that was just ok for me. The cheese plate was as minuscule as the charcuterie plate. Huh.
We never received the macarons after our dessert, which perhaps might have been b/c the waiter, who was giving off an increasingly strange vibe (we kept joking amongst us about what, exactly, he might be tripping on).
He asked us at some point -- we had glasses half full of wine and were still finishing our desserts - whether we would like a cab. I understood this to be a general question given where we were in our meal, but instead, he showed up very shortly thereafter to tell us the cab had arrived. WTF? So we were pretty much rushed out the door while the restaurant still had several tables with people.
Really not the kind of treatment I would expect for the price. Bummer. Won't be back.
Saturday at Brauhaus Schmitz was fun -- the draft list really is fantastic, and we thoroughly enjoyed the deep-fried pig tails appetizer. I've been thinking about those scrumptious mofos ever since.
The beet carpaccio was meh, the sauerkraut croquettes were very heavy and a very large portion, considering they were meant to be an app.
I went for the Wiener Schnitzel, which was tiny. In this rare instance I was relieved, as I was stuffed from the appetizers... but if you served that measly cutlet to any serious Austrian or German, they'd punch you in the face. Like, hard.
Besides that, it was under-fried, too thick & overall not very flavorful. Meh. The home fried potatoes were the highlight on my plate.
My man had the pork knuckle with sauerkraut and an herb dumpling. The knuckle was fab, but massive (of course!), so we all did our best to help him finish. The sauerkraut was great.
I'd definitely go back just for the beer list & pig tails alone, but if this is the best German food Philly has to offer, I'll stick to other cuisines next time around.
Uh-oh. This is now our second agreement after Zahav -- call the Philly phood police!!
The waiter was hilariously strange: he served every dish with a flourish and an explanation that inevitably ended with him saying "mmmmmkay?" I shouldn't make fun of it, I know, as it may just be his.... style?
But I was reminded of Mr. Mackey the entire time and that made it hard to focus on the food, lackluster as it was.
ETA: You know this means I will more closely follow your suggestions for Philly '-)
I also enjoyed the schnitzel, which I had with German potato salad that bore very little resemblance to any I had had before and was just passable -- I was eyeing lingua"s fried spuds and wishing I had ordered them) and sauerkraut. The aforementioned hubster had 2 kinds of sausage, which he liked a lot, with sauerkraut and red cabbage (going for the cruciferous vegetable eating award, it would seem). We sort of shared a really sweet custard/zabaglione with a pleasant crumble on top, which also bore no resemblance to any German dessert I had ever had, and was new to lingua as well. A pleasant meal (especially after the bachelor party left).
I have only enjoyed the restaurant in the middle of the afternoon.. when its quiet.The food is top notch for what it is. The foie gras liverwurst is very good, as is the flamenkuchen. And when they do specials, and special dinners the food can be very very good. It is the best german restaurant in the greater Philadelphia area, but frankly there is not much competition.
It is a shame that the US only knows Bavarian cuisine and thinks that's German food.. there is such a wide variety of food we never get to see in this country, yet every restaurant falls into the stereotype of beer and brats as being German food.