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Jason Sheehan Finds His Happy Place at Double Knot

Plus, Craig Laban likes Bar Hygge despite the din and Phyllis Stein-Novack gives a thumb's up to A Mano

Photo: Double Knot
Photo: Double Knot

Foobooz editor Jason Sheehan is a hilarious writer. His irreverence, illustration of detail and self-depreciation has been known to spark some legit lols. His wit (and a rare hyperbolic enthusiasm) goes into full effect in his review of Michael Schulson's Double Knot, where Sheehan basically chronicles a day in the life of the Gayborhood restaurant that has more personalities than Sibyl. So with what does he emerge when he dips below ground to dine at Double Knot's basement dining room and its ground-floor coffee shop/noodle house? Near perfection, especially when it comes to the dumplings

For $7, you can get a bowl of what might be the best dumplings you've ever had.

And yes, I know that's saying a lot, but I'm 95 percent serious here.

The edamame dumplings are phenomenal. They're these beautifully squishy, almost translucent bundles, each about the size of a ping-pong ball, stuffed with smooshed edamame, worked until it's roughly the consistency of mashed potato, then touched with just a whisper of truffle. Any more and they'd be awful. Any less and they'd just be dumplings full of bean goo. But the kitchen hits a very small bull's-eye here with the filling, and it does so consistently.

The dumplings come in a bowl. They're topped with pea shoots (you can just throw those away, like I do) and served swimming in a shallow puddle of golden sake broth that's as clear as consommé and, all alone, so delicious that you're going to want to pick up the bowl and drink it once the dumplings are gone (which I also do). They're singularly amazing, and I'm mentioning them here because later, I'm going to be saying a whole lot of hyperbolically enthusiastic things about a lot of different dishes, but I want you to remember these dumplings. They are amazing. You should go to Double Knot right now and get three orders, eat them all, and then order a fourth.

The contrarian reviewer is probably still recovering over a glass of gin after shooting such unmitigated positivity all over Double Knot. But he can't help himself. From the food to the service, he can't find anything to criticize.

When I was in for breakfast the first time, Double Knot had only been open a couple of weeks, and everything was running smoothly. At the counter, they were moving customers with admirable speed. On the floor, everyone seemed cool and relaxed. Because I'm a terrible klutz sometimes, I spilled my first cup of tea, and was descended on by two different servers who fell out of the sky like Stukas with rags and napkins and a replacement cup.

When I go back for lunch, it's like everyone is running on rails. If I spilled something this time (which I don't, because I'm not that bad), they'd catch it before a drop hit the floor.

Up at 17th and Fairmount, Craig LaBan gives the Bar Hygge brewpub, child of Earth Bread + Brewery's Tom Baker and Peggy Zwervertwo bells. Overall, he likes the food and the service and loves most of the beers but recommends a few minor food prep tweaks, lower prices for a few dishes and mostly some better sound-proofing.

I'm not sure how much "hygge"-friendly conversation gets crimped by the ear-bombing 98-decibel roar. It rattles off the concrete floors and the glass cafe windows and the wall of woven barrel staves - despite the nearly 20 sound boards co-owner Tom Baker made and installed on the ceiling himself.

If diners find the Danish "Bar Hygge" impossible to correctly pronounce, anyone who's taken Spanish 1 should be able to pull off "A Mano," Townsend Wentz' Italian BYOB in Fairmount. Writing for the South Philly Review, Phyllis Stein-Novack enjoys the food and commends the service.aby ar­tichokes are in sea­son. Mil­lon fried them to a splen­did crispy state and used them as an ac­cent for the skate wing. I make skate at home. I al­ways dust it with seasoned flour be­fore it hits the hot pan of olive oil and but­ter. This ver­sion ($28) was pan seared with salt and pep­per. I found it too salty, so I asked for the pre­par­a­tion of a second or­der. It was nicely seasoned this time and topped with tiny bits of sweet red pep­pers and caper ber­ries. All it re­quired was a squeeze of fresh lem­on juice.

Ser­vice was ex­cel­lent. Serv­ers and as­sist­ant serv­ers clear and serve and keep a per­fect pace for a fine meal.

I par­tic­u­larly liked the menu. There are 17 items that com­prise an­ti­pasti, primi and secondi. Three sides are also avail­able.

Bar Hygge

1720 Fairmount Avenue, , PA 19130 (215) 765-2274 Visit Website

A Mano

2244 Fairmount Avenue, , PA 19130 (215) 236-1114 Visit Website

Double Knot

120 South 13th Street, , PA 19107 (215) 631-3868 Visit Website