Good Taste: Blast from braciole past

Braciole with gnocchi at Mr. Joe's Cafe. DAVID M WARREN / Staff
Braciole with gnocchi at Mr. Joe's Cafe. DAVID M WARREN / Staff
Posted: March 21, 2013

Mr. Joe's Cafe is one of those timeless corner luncheonettes that feels like an institution though it's barely seven years old.

That's because there's real history here, where Vince Termini's father, Joseph, founded the famous bakery in 1921 - thus the name and bakery memorabilia on the wall.

With the cannoli palace long since moved across the street, Vince's "retirement project" is a homey lunch-only homage to his red-gravy South Philly youth.

He re-creates the flavors his Nonna and Mamma taught him, like "scripelle" chicken soup brimming with shaved crepe rolls stuffed with pecorino, or the side of string beans and potatoes.

My favorite? The soulful flank steak braciole, rolled around bread crumbs and parmesan, then braised in marinara. Try it over the pillowy ricotta gnocchi, and you'll understand why Vince's old South Philly High crew from the 1950s keeps coming back every Wednesday for lunch.

Braciole with gnocchi, $17, Mr. Joe's Cafe, 1514 S. 8th St., 215-334-1414.

- Craig LaBan

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