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LaBan Finds Tria Fitler Mostly Hits the Mark, Despite Some 'Growing Pains'

Plus, the critics take a look at Helm, Big Gay Ice Cream, Nom Wah, and brunch at Supper.

Tria/Official

This week in restaurant reviews, Inquirer critic Craig LaBan weighed in on Tria Fitler Square, the most ambitious Tria yet. The restaurant earned a pretty solid two bells, (in large part thanks to the group's proven expertise in wine, beer, and cheese), but could apparently use a little "fine-tuning" in its menu and presentation. Also, this happened, unfortunately:

water had condensed inside and trickled out of the exposed air duct drip . . . drip . . . drip right onto the platter of earthy Tomme Crayeuse and oozing Portuguese sheep's milk Zimbro I was enjoying at my corner seat

Unsavory ductwork mishaps aside, LaBan discovered a persistent issue with poorly washed dishes and witnessed one snippy noise-related service interaction while exploring a menu stocked with a number of hits and some misses. Seafood proved a good bet, including "supremely tender" grilled octopus, "fantastic" shellfish stew, and "addictive" poached calamari. Even a chicken breast managed to impress, but the pasta section was composed of "unmemorable" flops.

LaBan's meals took an upswing at the end, thanks to "excellent sweets," a fine and unique selection of dessert wines, and the enduringly "idyllic" Fitler Square setting.

Elsewhere:

· Philly Mag's Trey Popp dropped in on Helm BYOB, awarding two and a half stars (out of four) for the restaurant's ability to keep a vise-tight "lock on the culinary zeitgeist" while still reminding him of "how Philly BYOs felt 10 years ago."

· City Paper's Adam Erace took on the tough job of taste-testing ice cream to deliver a verdict on Big Gay Ice Cream. And though he "[doesn't] really eat soft serve" in general, he reports he's already downed six Bea Arthurs (in addition to all the other treats he tried), if that tells you anything.

· Philadelphia Weekly's Brian Freedman was back with a review of NYC dim sum import Nom Wah Tea Parlor, which he found to have "big potential" though execution errors kept it from quite reaching destination status. (Notably, though, he may be the only critic yet to look favorably upon the soup dumplings.)

· South Philly Review's Phyllis Stein-Novack hit Supper on South Street for brunch and, after a lengthy soliloquy of an intro, awarded a perfect four tips of the toque based largely on that restaurant's house-made bagels and smoked salmon platter.

Big Gay Ice Cream

518 Columbus Avenue, Manhattan, NY 10024 (646) 484-5838 Visit Website

Nom Wah Tea Parlor

218 N 13th St, Philadelphia, PA 19107

Tria Fitler Square

2227 Pine St, Philadelphia, PA 19103 (215) 309-2245 Visit Website

Supper

926 South St, Philadelphia, PA 19147 (215) 592-8180 Visit Website

Helm

1303 North 5th Street, , PA 19122 (215) 309-2211 Visit Website

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