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Suga Gets its First Review

Plus, Hungry Pigeon finds Jason Sheehan's pet peeve

SUGA - 1720 Sansom Street
SUGA - 1720 Sansom Street
Photo by Hillary Petrozziello

Phyllis Stein-Novack was reunited with Susanna Foo's cooking this week with her review of Suga, the new Center City Chinese restaurant by Foo and her son Gabriel. And despite being branded as "straightforward Chinese", Novack seemed to find a bit of French technique throughout her entire meal:

Chinese egg­plant ($10) is a dish I of­ten or­der in an Asi­an res­taur­ant. Few chefs have mastered this dish. Foo has, in­deed. Chinese egg­plants tend to be less bit­ter than their lar­ger, plump­er cous­ins. The egg­plants were cooked in a coconut curry sauce that beau­ti­fully en­hanced the fla­vor of the subtle egg­plant. The sauce was re­duced in the French fash­ion.

Sea­food salad ($18) was a sur­prise. A cool mound of mixed greens, in­clud­ing radishes and Napa cab­bage, was placed on the side of the plate. Slices of ripe avo­cado were placed near the greens. Warm shrimp, diver scal­lops, and cala­mari were along the oth­er side. This is a com­posed salad in the French style, and it won me over. The dress­ing on the greens was light and im­par­ted a slight ginger fla­vor. The sauce on the sea­food was also re­duced. Each piece of fish was spot on. I've been served rub­bery, over­cooked shell­fish in a num­ber of places. After sev­er­al at­tempts, I dis­covered it is dif­fi­cult to eat avo­cado with chop­sticks.

Hungry Pigeoncoming off a three-bell win from Craig LaBan, got its Philly Mag review this week. Bottom line, according to Philadelphia's critic Jason Sheehan, breakfast and lunch at the Pigeon is stellar, dinner is inconsistent — a vast difference from LaBan's review three weeks ago. Sheehan specifically didn't care for chef Scott Schroeder's heavy hand when it came to herb-ing up the goat stroganoff:

Until, on top of all this, the kitchen adds a literal pile of rough-cut dill and green herbs so thickly applied, it's like they were dumped on with both hands. It is a distractingly large amount of greenery, and, worse, the rustic, casual, un-fussy way it's chopped leaves the entire dish threaded with stems that are both unpleasant in texture and astringent in flavor and do nothing but get caught in my teeth. From bite to bite I hate the dish, then love it as I catch some resonance between sweetness, sourness and the creamy, warm richness of the sauce and want more.

To which Schroeder responded:

Thanks for the mostly nice review @phillymag (cc @foobooz)

A video posted by Scott Schroeder (@foodsyoucaneat) on

All in all, the review ended up amounting to two stars, "come if you're in the neighborhood", which, really, was what Hungry Pigeon was always hoping to be, an all-day cafe for the neighborhood.

Hungry Pigeon

743 South 4th Street, , PA 19147 (215) 278-2736 Visit Website


1720 Sansom St, Philadelphia, PA 19103 (215) 717-8968