Butcher and Singer

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FACTS:  Located in Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia    

WHAT I ORDERED:

Caesar Salad

Stuffed Hash Browns

Green Beans Amandine

Dry Aged Porterhouse (for two)

MY ANALYSIS:  

Because of an insatiable steak craving, along with an excuse to try Butcher and Singer, the bar was set pretty high from the get-go. However, from the grand scale and history of the building to the outstanding food and waitstaff, it was clear that we’d made the right decision.

We started out with a Caesar salad.  And, given how terrific the dressing was, not one shred of lettuce was spared.

Deviating from our usual sides, creamed spinach and mashed potatoes, we decided to try the stuffed hash browns and green beans amandine.  Stuffed with sour cream and served as one large hash brown, this dish is a must.  I thoroughly enjoyed the green beans amandine as well.  Crunchy, buttery, and flavorful, a welcome change.

Of course, the dry aged porterhouse did not disappoint either.  It was served medium rare and cooked to perfection; we couldn’t have asked for a more juicy or delectable steak

I highly recommend this restaurant for any occasion.

QUICK TIDBIT:  Be sure to check out all of Stephen Starr’s restaurants:  http://www.starr-restaurant.com/

Kanella

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FACTS:  Located in Washington Square West, Philadelphia    

WHAT I ORDERED:

Organic Pork and Sieftali Kebab:  Housemade Cyprus Sausage with Berkshire Pork Kebab in Pita, with Greek Chips and a Choice of Tahini or Pickle   

MY ANALYSIS:  

After walking past this popular neighborhood restaurant numerous times, we finally stopped by for brunch.  And wanting to take full advantage of the beautiful fall day, we opted for sidewalk seating.

Avoiding any/all breakfast items, I ordered a pita stuffed with pork and sausage and served with fries, a small salad, and tahini sauce.  I thoroughly enjoyed each and every bite.  The meat was tender and savory, the tahini sauce was fantastic, and the salad dressing was out of this world (reason enough alone to return).

So, if you like Greek food and are looking for a brunch menu that offers more than just eggs and pancakes, I highly recommend this place.  Furthermore, I really look forward to coming back for dinner sometime.

QUICK TIDBIT:  BYOB

Kisso

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FACTS: Located in Old City, Philadelphia  

WHAT I ORDERED:

Salad: Seaweed Salad

Maki Sushi A La Carte: Yellow Tail w/ Scallion and Shrimp Tempura Maki  

MY ANALYSIS:  

For starters, I really loved Kisso’s Soho’esque storefront, along with its simplistic interior design and orange color scheme.  The sense of familiarity and calmness that I immediately felt was exactly what the doctor ordered after a hectic work week.

Never straying too far from my “norm,” I began with a seaweed salad, which I found to be healthy, fresh, and authentic.  As for my two sushi rolls, they were also extremely fresh and very delicious.

In summation, I highly recommend this place and look forward to returning.

QUICK TIDBIT: BYOB

Vetri

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FACTS: Located in Washington Square West, Philadelphia  

WHAT I ORDERED:

Tasting Menu

MY ANALYSIS:  

Since it was noted as being Mario Batali’s favorite Italian restaurant on the east coast, it was mandatory that we dine here.

Set in a townhouse, the design is both classic and traditional, and I found the ambience to be warm, sophisticated, and cozy.  And, as expected, each and every dish was beautifully prepared/presented, and the service was impeccable.  Furthermore, my fiancé and I were served two completely different tasting menus, allowing us to try a multitude of items.

Tonight, I thoughtfully eliminated any/all note taking. However, I hope that you enjoy the pictures.

I highly recommend this restaurant for special occasions.

QUICK TIDBIT: Be sure to check out the tasting menu:  http://vetriristorante.com/

Flying Fishbone

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FACTS: Located in the fishing village of Savaneta, Aruba

WHAT I ORDERED:

Lobster Bisque:  Rich and Tasty Lobster Bisque Finished with Cognac and Lobster Chunks

Halibut:  Halibut Fillet with Sun-dried Tomato Risotto, Spinach, and Champagne Sauce

Baked Alaska:  Strawberry Ice Cream, Banana Ice Cream, and Sponge Cake Covered with Meringue; Flambeed at Your Table with Sambuca

MY ANALYSIS:  

You will be hard pressed to find a dining experience any closer to the beach than this one.  In fact, our table was set directly in the sand/water, allowing our feet to wade in the warm Caribbean water all through dinner.

I started out with a bowl of lobster bisque.  While the broth itself was rich and creamy, I didn’t care for the overall flavoring.  That being said, I’ve definitely had better elsewhere.  For my main course, I order the halibut, which turned out to be much too “fishy” for my liking, causing me to question its overall freshness.  Not surprisingly, the medley of sides that accompanied this dish was equally disappointing.

We topped off the evening by ordering Baked Alaska.  This. too, was average at best.  However, the “fiery” presentation was as enjoyable as ever.

Based on my meal, I would not recommend this place.  But, if ambience is what you’re seeking (a high priority), I would definitely recommend this place, based on the chic white décor/ocean-front setting.

QUICK TIDBIT: For fresh fish, head over to Zee Rover instead (see posting).

Zee Rover

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FACTS: Located in the fishing village of Savaneta, Aruba

WHAT I ORDERED:

Red Snapper and Shrimp

MY ANALYSIS:  

Zee Rover is a no-frills restaurant that serves fresh local seafood right off the boat.  Cleaned on premises and fried to perfection, the food provides an experience not to be missed!  Of course, having dockside seating doesn’t hurt either.

We came here for lunch and ordered a basket of red snapper and shrimp to share between the two of us.  Fried, salted, and ready within minutes, it was hands-down, the best (and cheapest) seafood we’d eaten during our entire trip.  In fact, it was the best fried fish we’d eaten anywhere.  The fish itself was moist and flavorful, and the shrimp, served head attached, were large and meaty.  While the meal itself was simple, it was truly, and simply put, the best.

I highly recommend this place.

QUICK TIDBIT: Cash Only

Madame Janette

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FACTS: Located in Palm Beach, Aruba

WHAT I ORDERED:

The Old Butcher Lamb Rack:  Overnight marinated in a secret marinade, invented by our chef’s father and grilled to perfection, served with lamb glace, and two sides (MJ’s creamy mashed potatoes and creamed spinach)

“Crepes Janette”:  Filled with caramelized Bacardi Spice Bananas and topped with Nutella Ice cream & toasted Almonds

MY ANALYSIS:  

Madame Janette is one of the most popular restaurants in all of Aruba and, with locals and tourists alike, it not only lives up to its hype, but its popularity is completely well deserved.

Tonight, I decided to skip any/all appetizers and start off with one of their signature dishes instead: The Old Butcher Lamb Rack.  Not only was this dish generous in size, but it was cooked to perfection, as well.  Served medium rare, this succulent rack of lamb was rich in flavor, along with being extremely juicy.  As for my two sides, which were a nice compliment to my already amazing main course, I selected the mashed potatoes and the creamed spinach.

For dessert, we shared an order of “Crepes Janette,” which was packed full of Caribbean and European goodness.  I couldn’t have asked for a more fabulous way to end the evening.

In addition to the superb food, I found the ambience to be equally lovely.  From the natural and zen-like outdoor space (decorated in white Christmas lights) to the energy of the crowded room, I felt an immediate sense of familiarity and peace.

I thoroughly enjoyed this restaurant and think that you will too.

QUICK TIDBIT: Be sure to check out their fantastic menu:  http://www.madamejanette.info/joomla2/