This week, Craig LaBan, and probably all of Queen Village, sighed with relief. Returning to Southwark, newly re-opened under new ownership, LaBan discovered much of the cocktail-centric tavern's old character to be preserved.
So when the couple bought Southwark last fall, after returning from a year working at a resort in Mexico, they had to embrace the considerable task of caretaking someone else's legacy before forging their own. Mostly, they have succeeded.
He says the cocktails are still excellent (though a little more convoluted) thanks to balance in drinks like the "Oaxacan that melds mescal smoke with the raisiny tang of Pedro Ximénez sherry and a bittersweet finish of chocolate bitters." As for food, other than some overkill and lack of finesse, he says it, "shows as much ambition as ever toward of-the-moment ingredients and handcrafted flavors."
Over in Collingswood, Danya Henninger writes for the Courier-Post that Alex Boonphaya's latest outpost of Circles has come a long way since her first dismaying visit.
Happily — thankfully, thrillingly! — when I returned for a recent meal things were back on track, even better than I remembered.
Dishes were cooked and seasoned better and the FOH staff, though still somewhat clumsy, had calmed down a bit. A bowl of panang curry was one of the best Thai dishes she's ever eaten. Of the desserts she concludes,
Their consistency was a microcosm of Circles’ positive progress — and a good portent for its future.