after dinner sneeze

a lot of g says, t says

Lightning Round 3: C19, Salento, Gardenia

with one comment

t says: We visited a few places recently – one before our SF trip and one afterwards. There were some highs and lows:

Gardenia:

We visited for brunch one morning on a whim. It’s hidden in the Art Alliance building off of Rittenhouse Square. Props: The food was quite tasty and the selection of jams were great. Best of all was the picturesque setting of sitting in a quiet little garden patio – this place would be great for a chill outdoor event. It’s just SO peaceful! Slops: Unfortunately, there were a few undercooked areas in my lemon-blueberry-ricotta pancakes. They were so close to being exemplary lemon-blueberry-ricotta pancakes, too! Verdict: If I had to stay in Rittenhouse for brunch, I’d take this place over Parc’s overwhelmingly energetic/frenetic atmosphere anytime.
EDIT:  Parc’s brunch is still energentic/frenetic, but we’ve since learned to block out the people around us …

Salento:

There’s this small BYO near that wannabe Apple store on Walnut (Springboard Media). A newspaper clipping in their window boasts “gnocchi on heaven’s door”. We were bored and hungry so we gave it a whirl. Props: There’s never more than one table occupied. My orechiette and braised duck wasn’t half bad. Slops: There’s never more than one table occupied. My orechiette and braised duck wasn’t half good. g had the pasta and shrimp in tomato sauce and is pretty sure she could replicate the dish at home, if not make it better (Italians and their tomato gravies …). Verdict: Sorry Salento – I’ll now never know if the gnocchi was delicious because La Viola gives a similar quantity at a similar price-point for better quality (and neither will usurp Melograno for our local Italian eatery) .

Cicheterria 19:

This new place just off of Rittenhouse has a pretty small sign to look for. Boasting Venetian small plates, everything on the menu online sounds so good. So, the moment we saw gift certificates on sale at restaurant.com, we bought a $50 gift certificate for $4 (or was it $2?). Props: The space is very nice. The table-tops are cool, the stools are contoured, and the lighting is soothing. The server had a very authentic accent. The wine list has some lesser-known Italian varietals (i.e. not just a bunch of chianti sangiovese and other mainstream grapes – but it does have those, too, if you’d like). The Italian meatball was quite good (even g admitted to liking it … and, as mentioned above, she’s Italian), kp enjoyed the tiramisu, which had a nice contrast in texture between the lady fingers and decadent mascarpone, and the panna cotta, even though a bit sloppily presented, was creamy and the perfect consistency (*wink wink*). Slops: Seasoning was all over the place: the salt baked branzino was too salty while the potato-leek soup and french fries didn’t have enough. Scallops were inconsistent (over-cooked in some places, perfect in others), squid ink polenta was kind of bland (even for polenta!), and the arugula-egg-bacon-fig-gorgonzola salad didn’t quite sing harmony (it was a disjointed muddle of weak flavors … which was surprising). And we never got our baccala small plate despite ordering it and bringing it to their attention … Verdict: I’d go again for wine, meatballs, and dessert. It’s a shame that you need to order an entree for a restaurant.com gift certificate to work.

EDIT:  Philadelphia Weekly went to C19 and had a similar experience!

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Written by afterdinnersneeze

5 October 2010 at 11:15pm

One Response

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  1. v says: We went to Gardenia during restaurant week and loved it. It’s actually one of the only places we’ve enjoyed during restaurant week. The setting is great, the food was excellent, and the ambiance was comfortable. We ordered the drink specials available that day, one being a lemonade drink, which were all tasty. We agree that the dips were good, and the cheese plate was well crafted. Overall, a great experience.

    v

    6 October 2010 at 4:40pm


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