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Erace Absolutely Hates Spiga; LaBan Loves Vernick

Erace doesn't find much to love at Spiga
Erace doesn't find much to love at Spiga
Photo: Eater Philly

Adam Erace is not one to mince words, and his feelings about the shiny-new Spiga are pretty obvious: it stinks. His favorite part of the meal was the finishing tiramisu cheesecake, and not much else. The review is filled with some seriously mean lines, and lots of them.

"Unfortunately, unbelievably, the pasta was not the worst thing I ate at Spiga. That dubious honor belongs to the coasters of cotechino arrayed over green lentils. Crowned with a fried egg, the composition echoed Modo Mio, while the texture of the sausage slices echoed Modo Alpo...the thick forcemeat rounds glowed virgin pink, no sign of caramelization anywhere. Remember the Play-Doh barbershop, how the "hair" would sprout from the holes in the character's head? That's what happened when I pressed my fork into the coarse-ground mush of the cotechino."

If there was ever a need for a "reset" button in the world of restaurants, it appears that Spiga would benefit from it the most. And, no one would be pushing it faster than Adam Erace.

Craig LaBan falls all over himself giving a hefty 3 bells to newcomer Vernick Food & Drink, which he says is one of the most exciting new restaurants in the city.

"The food, meanwhile, is serious but approachable, and clearly influenced by the Vongerichten signature - a refined simplicity with just a few striking elements on a plate informed by worldly flavors and perfect technique...Even more memorable was the perfectly steamed halibut, a brick of pristine white over the forest-brown collage of wild mushrooms in broth, a contrast so pure it was stunning."

These words were just part of a seriously long missive about how much Greg Vernick and his team rules at his debut restaurant on Walnut Street.

Brian Freedman opines about his utter geekdom in regards to a wine bar's wealth of options, and the excitement he feels before the first sip. But, not so much at Urban Enoteca.

"You know the moment at the end of a date, that nanosecond between the time you decide to go in for a kiss and the moment your lips actually touch for the first time? The excitement, the nerves, the unfettered potential? That's kind of how I get right before opening the list at a wine bar I've never been to...But reading the glass list at Urban Enoteca, off the lobby in the Latham Hotel, was the equivalent of making out with a dead fish."

Wow. Well, there's a lot of anger out there in critic land this week. Maybe next week we'll see a few more smiles.

THE BLOGS: Bridges, Burgers, and Beer visits Alla Spina for their Big Mac replica; 22nd and Philly visits the gluten-free goodness of Pure Tacos; Philly Phoodie heads to Fishtown institution Ida Mae's.

· All Week In Reviews Coverage [~EPHI~]

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