December 30, 1988 |
This column's impressions of Bistro Romano, a two-month-old Italian restaurant in the NewMarket area, run hot and cold. Hot because a dinner visit yielded a hot appetizer and four entrees that were pleasing and attractively presented. Cold because the cold foods - Caesar salad, garlic bread and desserts - need immediate improvement. Garlic bread shouldn't be a cold food. That's part of the problem. Bistro Romano has much to recommend it; at the moment, the cold foods, uneven service and non-stop Christmas carols on the sound system aren't among them.
March 16, 2007
WHEN MEMBERS of the Chain Gang drove through New England a few weeks ago, it seemed like we passed 99 Restaurants about 99 times. Finding out the chain had migrated down to Philadelphia, we decided we had to check it out. Not being familiar with 99, the Gang found it to be similar to Applebees - big drinks, big All-American menu, big desserts, not too big a bill. At the location on Roosevelt Boulevard, we also found the service to be exceedingly friendly even when it was slow or forgetful.
September 3, 1993 |
He wants Caesar salad and shrimp scampi. She wants chicken soup with coconut milk and beef in a peanut curry sauce with steamed rice. Until Jow's Garden came along, this couple would have had to take separate tables at separate restaurants. Now they can dine together at this pretty University City restaurant, with its menu of Thai dishes, Italian dishes and dishes that are something in between. Jow's Garden is tucked inside the Garden Court Apartments, occupying a space that was formerly the Thai Garden.
January 19, 2000 |
Robert C. Atkins, the world-famous diet doctor, controversial author and advocate of complementary medicine, says he usually doesn't eat lunch. "I don't have time," he said, squirreled away at an inconspicuous table at Chianti's, a restaurant that specializes in northern Italian fare at 1043 2nd Ave., between 54th and 55th on Manhattan's East Side. But Atkins has made an exception on this cold, blustery Friday. It's an off day from his thrice-weekly, noon-to-1 p.m. local radio show, and Chianti's - nicely appointed with gilded-frame mirrors and green crushed-velour bench seats along the walls - is conveniently located between his Sutton Place apartment and his office.
August 20, 1997 |
Most neighborhood taverns are known mostly for their convenience and convivial crowd, not necessarily for the food, although some make a name for themselves with exceptional chicken wings or homemade pizza. Even though Devone's Family Tavern & Restaurant on Black Horse Pike in Williamstown is a local watering hole where "everyone knows your name," its main claim to fame is, surprisingly enough, the food. Devone's burgers are something of a local legend because of their size and price.
July 12, 1992 |
Over the years, I've met so many of the high-visibility Philadelphians involved with Rock Lobster that I doubted I'd get through a review meal at the new waterfront restaurant without being spotted by one of them. And I was absolutely right. Twice. At lunch, our food arrived via Neil Stein, the restaurant's idea man. At dinner, we were greeted by Marty Keenan, once a dealer in luxury cars, now a partner in this Delaware River waterfront enterprise. I'm convinced that both men know that what you give to the local restaurant critic gets reported and becomes the standard against which customers will measure you. Give more or better and it could backfire on you. Which leads me to think that the Rock Lobster Salad that a partner ordered from the restaurant's limited lunch menu could become one of its best-selling dishes.
August 25, 1989 |
Some weeks ago, you read here about the transformation of the Fairmount cafe known as Adrian into one called New Moon. The ownership, name and curtains changed; the food was as good as ever. Meanwhile, Adrian chef Roger Winther took the name and his skills two blocks down Aspen Street to another cozy cafe, one called Rembrandt's. The result is Adrian at Rembrandt, a very likeable restaurant very much like its competition. Not that it's perfect. Adrian at Rembrandt's ought to toss out those stained wine lists.
January 21, 1990 |
When gold was discovered at Sutter's Mill in 1848, California was sparsely populated and amenities were few. But one kind of greed breeds another, and by 1850, the nearby port of San Francisco had been transformed from a smallish village to a town of 25,000 inhabitants, where, according to historian Richard Hooker's Food and Drink in America, "there was a large array of restaurants, many of them foreign. " The San Francisco restaurant phenomenon continues unabated to this day. And the state's eager acceptance of anything and everything tasty makes it hard to define just what it is that makes California cuisine so different.
June 28, 1991 |
What a difference a decade makes. When the Gold Standard opened for business on 47th Street near Chester Avenue in 1979, a complete dinner in its cozy Victorian confines cost $12 to $14. There was no skimping, either. Dinner included an appetizer, soup, salad, entree, dessert and coffee. At that time, it was my favorite "date" restaurant. The Gold Standard moved to an ivy-covered building on the University of Pennsylvania campus in 1983 and rechristened itself the Palladium.
January 22, 2015 |
A resurrected seafood house on the site of Bookbinder's. A pub serving fried bologna and roast beef sandwiches. A 1980s theme restaurant bringing back the surf and turf. A vintage-styled dinette, slinging Western omelets. Suddenly, it seems that the newest local trend in food isn't about the future at all - it's about looking back. Just when you thought it was safe to hock your fondue pot on eBay, here comes all the food you haven't seen on menus for a couple of decades. The good news is that verbs and conjunctions might also return to menus as chefs forgo their molecular aspirations to get back to the basics.