This week, City Paper's Adam Erace chimes in on High Street on Market, and opens his recap by invoking imagery of chef Eli Kulp as god, if that tells you anything:
On the first day, Kulp created bread. Miniature caramelized-onion bialys, to be exact, riding comets of cream cheese suffused with the essence of grass.
However, once Erace moves past the bread program, it's not all smooth sailing. A retelling of an early visit recalls a "dining room with all the energy of a spelling bee" and uneven food. While "the umami epic of 'dry-aged' beets" was crowned "the best beet dish in town," several other plates were surprisingly dull, and "[Sam] Kincaid's savory-skewing desserts [...] felt like a punishment for my grand expectations." But wait:
A month later, I ate at a different restaurant. This High Street seemed more focused, leaner and more confident, and the jammed dining room reverberated with electricity on what should have been a sleepy weeknight service.
The second time around, Kulp churned out "hit after hit," surprising the table with everything from broccoli rabe cocktails to wild Sichuan peppercorns foraged from nearby West Chester (and really, just try to imagine the things that might fall on that spectrum). At the meal's close pastry chef Kincaid more than redeemed herself with her pitch-perfect use of persimmons. Ultimately, Erace declares it one of his best meals of 2013.
Phyllis Stein-Novack packed up Edward and a bottle of Chianti and hit Bufad for this week's South Philly Review. She gave top marks to the "good time rock'n'roll" soundtrack and the scamorza, and enjoyed the antipasti despite the fact "the cauliflower made [her] lips pucker as someone was too heavy-handed with the vinegar."
The final verdict: three tips of the toque, which is a pretty impressive after the description of the fruitti di mare pizza, which is one of the most quietly horrifying things we've read in a while:
Mid-size shrimp, rings of calamari and bits of clams were bland, damp and cool.
Added to that, the sauce was watery and the crust "dreadfully soggy." Luckily, a solid (and not sodden) mushroom pizza saved the day.
· Meanwhile, the Philly Gay News gave Miles Table a shot, and came away pleased with the harvest soup, which blends butternut squash with carrot and fennel for added interest. There was also plenty of praise for the falafel burger's "perfect consistency" and a white pizza that "held back on the garlic-y over-seasoning we've come to expect with white pizzas."