The Philly Mag and Inquirer reviews this time around are all about folks making moves. For Alan Krawitz, Mike Sultan, and Carolyn Nguyen at Revolution Taco, the move is that of coming inside. The food truck entrepreneurs of Say Cheese, Street Food Philly, and Taco Mondo have teamed up on Revolution Taco, their first brick-and-mortar location. Philly Mag's Jason Sheehan praised their global taco concept saying, "I'm a fan of Revolution. I like it almost as much for what it's trying to do as what it's accomplishing," and what it's accomplishing is a casual, turn-and-burn spot with a menu of potentially risky mash-up of global flavors.
Sheehan singled out the smoked chicken taco with salsa verde and goat cheese as a risk that is paying off. The Tongue-and-Cheek taco also took high marks:
"smoked beef cheek and fried tongue (the snack that licks you back), house-made kimchi to bring the funk, pickled jalapeños for heat, crispy shallots and ginger cabbage slaw. It's got that Korean street-taco feelâoffal for the adventurous, a balance of heat and sweet and crisp and fatty."
And he even praised a roasted duck taco with plum sauce and pickled oyster mushroomsâall wrapped in a scallion pancake instead of a tortillaâas a exciting concept, even when the execution is inconsistent.
"the scallion pancake needs to be better to make the thing truly sing. The duck needs to taste more like the ones hanging in the window at Ting Wong, less like something you'd find on the plate at some East Passyunk gastropub."
It's clear that he's being a little more forgiving with Revolution than he might otherwise, citing the shifting expertise that it takes to succeed at the brick-and-mortar game instead of the food truck game, and clearly wishing these entrepreneurs making a go at making the shift the best with a two starâgo if you're in the neighborhoodârating.
Over at the Inquirer, the folks making moves are Hamad and Sona Hahsy, and their restaurant, Sansom Kabob House, which now resides on South Street. No matter where the Hahsy family sets up shop it seems that Craig LaBan will follow:
"But what makes the new Sansom Kabob House such a keeper are the same qualities that endeared me to its former, more humble space: the personal pride and familial warmth that feels genuine both in the kitchen and dining room....[and] a repertoire of traditional Afghan standards at fair prices (under $18 a dinner entree), done with a homespun approach that highlights the rustic simplicity of the cuisine. "
Of particular note? Fresh, lemony hummus, meat kabobs, and ashak; scallion dumplings with lamb gravy, mint, and yogurt. Even the restaurant's bread got a shout-out.
"[B]y its whole wheat nature and groove-lined surface, this bread is meant to be the stuff of sturdy sustenance, capable of surviving rough times and arduous journeys...Hamad's path from the war-torn mountains of Pakistan to kabob shop ownership in Philadelphia was certainly that. How fitting, then, that the family naan recipe - and the Sansom Kabob House as a whole - is better than ever on South Street."
Along with two affectionate bells from LaBan.