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Craig LaBan Awards Two Bells to Bing Bing's Creative Take on Dim Sum

Plus, the critics pay visits to Palladino's, V Street, Bonchon, and a Turkish newcomer to South Street.

The "hip and creatively nontraditional" dim sum at ever-buzzy Bing Bing nabbed two bells over the weekend from Inquirer critic Craig LaBan, whose fun could not be dampened even by "the 97-decibel roar."

While LaBan has nice things to say about the much fretted-over soup dumplings and some other more straightforward dishes, he determines that the restaurant's greatest strengths lie in riffs like bing bread with clams and ideas even more surprising:

Puchowitz's most successful dishes were those that roamed farther off-road into his own creativity, like the panfried cloud puff bao buns stuffed with intensely smoked, Sichuan-spiced pastrami, sauerkraut, and sweet onions, with Russian dressing on the side. Or the fluffy white "Pac-Man" buns sandwiched around crispy squares of Reading Terminal scrapple, so creamy inside their deep-fried crusts beneath a tiny sunny-side-up quail egg.

Cocktails were "fun and intriguing," service was impressive, and ultimately, there was plenty to make up for missteps like a "mushy" cauliflower dumpling filling and too-dense turnip cakes.

Elsewhere:

· Philly Mag's Trey Popp visited Palladino's — and if he was perhaps not completely sold on every aspect of the experience, he did find a number of bright spots, declaring the focaccia di Recco "instantly one of the most soulful pleasures in Philadelphia dining." Final verdict: 2.5 stars (out of five).

· City Paper's Adam Erace dropped in on quiet South Street newcomer Isot, a Turkish BYOB featuring some hits, some misses, lots of sparkle, and "some damn fine baklava."

· Philadelphia Weekly's Brian Freedman weighed in on the KFC and the K-pop at Bonchon, which "seems to have all the right moves," even if you move beyond the wings.

· South Philly Review's Phyllis Stein-Novack hit vegan cocktail bar V Street, and though she wasn't swayed by the creative cocktail menu to venture beyond the standard-order martini, Manhattan, and wines by the glass, she was moved to give the newcomer her highest possible rating: four tips of the toque.

V Street

124-126 South 19th Street, , PA 19103 (215) 278-7943 Visit Website

Bing Bing Dim Sum

1648 East Passyunk Avenue, , PA 19148 (215) 279-7702 Visit Website

Palladino's

1934 E Passyunk Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19148 (267) 928-4339

Bonchon Chicken

1020 Cherry St, Philadelphia, PA 19107 (267) 639-6686 Visit Website

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