Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Branzino Restorante Italiano (Philadelphia) 01/2011

There is a cluster of Italian restaurants within a small block or two of this area (17th St. between Locust and Spruce Street). and they were very full even at 9.30 pm on this Saturday, in the middle of restaurant week (RW). Described as fine dining and heaped with praise by a lot of patrons, we had mixed feelings. On the down side it is very crowded, very noisy, there is one unisex toilet downstairs, for which it was often hard to get a seat (no reservations just queue up) and the food was patchy. On the plus side it was extremely friendly, service was well paced, inexpensive, it was RW, with a reasonable menu and it's BYO wine with no corkage fee. An amateurish mural of a Mediterranean seaside scene overlooks diners.

We started with cultured Prince Edward mussels simmered in a garlic tomato sauce. The sauce was rather acidic but it hardly mattered as the mussels, although small, were full bodied and tasted fine. A second appetizer, grilled calamari,
was gently seasoned with a light balsamic and vinaigrette dressing, and remarkably tender. A main course of mushroom risotto was a coarse dish, the rice much too dry and over salted for my taste. Green and white fettucine sauteed with crab meat, shrimp, cherry tomato sun dried tomato, white wine and garlic
had too much in it for the crab to be properly appreciated. There was plenty of it but it just got lost in the strong flavours of the other ingredients. A badly conceived dish. The pasta itself was excellent. Two desserts were also very good. A light Cheese cake
and a fine chocolate mousse cake finished quite a good meal but there is nothing Italian about that!.
Score 13.25/20



Charlotte said...

I am following you I want to see all of the food that you make.....right now I wish I had some cake.....

Elliot and Sandra said...

Hi Charlotte,
We just finished dinner. At home, you might say, in Lititz PA. In Australia Sandra was featured as the Kitchen Gafget Godess but here we had one pot and one pan and a knife.
We made a bean and barley vegetable soup, (parsnip, turnip,celery carrot, onion, pearl barley,chicken broth and seasoning) followed by pan fried cod with fried onion. Washington wine while Federer demolishes his colleague on TV.
I've stopped taking pic;s of dishes like soup or mussels unless there is something special about them but hope to make them more interesting, perhaps with some detailed close ups.We're always happy to get comments so feel free.