This week, Brian Freedman checked in with Midwestern supper-club import Ocean Prime for Philadelphia Weekly, and came up with a mostly-polite account of a restaurant whose prices far outpace the satisfaction quotient of the food. The calamari, however, inspired him to shed the tact just a little:
Calamari was a hillock of squid brightened with julienned vegetables—a moderately spicy, distractingly cloying preparation that brought to my mind some sort of cephalopod version of General Tso's chicken, sufficiently soggy that the once-crunchy crusts eventually began slipping from the rings and tentacles. My dining companion suggested it seemed more akin to something he'd expect to find on the menu at P.F. Chang's.
Still, Freedman gave the service high marks, and found the wine list solid and accommodating to a variety of budgets.
Meanwhile, City Paper's Adam Erace hit Manayunk's new Taqueria Feliz, and thankfully had the foresight to book a table in advance. Sounds like the neighborhood was clamoring for a good Mexican spot, and according to Erace, the newest Feliz delivers on its promise to deliver quality for a variety of personal tastes.
Judging from the masses packed into the dining room and little tequila bar up front, they've succeeded. What Cantina Los Caballitos is for South Philly, Taqueria Feliz is for Manayunk: a community clubhouse that's whatever you want it to be, whether the setting for an intrepid meal of crispy grasshopper tacos (no, thanks) and medium-rare, plancha-ed lamb hearts marinated in parsley, serrano chili and olive oil (yes, please) or just an acceptable place to take your in-laws who think Chili's has the best Mexican food around.
Highlights include the tacos and lamb barbacoa, but make sure not to forget the reservation.
Earlier this week:
· Trey Popp visits Pizzeria Vetri for Philadelphia mag, and has very little nice to say about the pizza. Plenty of other dishes get high marks, but Popp's assessment of the foundation of the restaurant has to smart a little. [Philly Mag]
· Phyllis Stein-Novack was also in the mood for pizza, giving three-out-of-four tips of the toque to Dave Magrogan's new Stella Rossa. [SPR]
· Craig LaBan awarded two bells to Little Nonna's, with some of Marcie Turney's renditions of red-sauce classics getting much higher marks than others. But he also says the roast pork "can hang with 9th Street's best," which is no faint praise. [Inquirer]
· All Reviews Coverage [-EPHI-]