after dinner sneeze

a lot of g says, t says

can’t get over serpico …

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t says:  Ok, ok, ok.  My name is t and I have a problem.  The problem is that I just can’t stop going to Serpico.  It really is ridiculous – the moment I know I have a free day, I check out Serpico’s schedule to see if I can make it.  It’s no surprise then that when a was looking for a location for his bday celebration, I had no choice but to recommended Serpico.  And, after a and v went by themselves to do some reconaissance, we knew we had to go back altogether as a party of 6 with a’s parents.  And, unsurprisingly, Serpico totally, absolutely, 100% killed it.  Let the barrage of photos begin:

the scallops and the lobster terrine "special" - both of these were solid appetizers ...

among our first courses included the above pictured the scallops and the lobster terrine “special”.  We find the scallops to be one of the more unique appetizers at Serpico – that buttermilk sauce spiked with oil is tres addictive (I totally caught a eating it by the spoonful).   a joins: And the lobster terrine was hoarded by v, so it musta been good … and the [unpictured ] sunchoke salad is not yo’ mama’s salad and worth a place at your table …

... but both of them could not match the fluke - which everyone agreed was the most superior of the fish-y appetizers.  (and i'll quote g again: "i love it when someone knows what to do with cucumber ..."

t says: But I think we all agree that out of all the appetizers, none could not match the raw fluke crudo.  g comes from nowhere: I’ll say it again – I  love it when someone knows what to do with cucumber.  a agrees: Yea – it’s my new flavor of the month.  t says: So if you have to have just one appetizer, we cannot speak more highly about any than the fluke crudo – it just hits all the right notes …

this was the first time that g and i had the duck leg served banh mi style, and I have to say that is absolutely brilliant, right on down to the pickled veggies in that white cup thingee.  Seriously, a perfect lunch would be just one of these bad boys.

t says: This appetizer was also quite sock-rocking.  This banh-mi-style duck leg has been written about before by lots of other blogs … and they’re all right – it’s fabulous, from perfect duck to the sweet hoisin and spicy sriracha and right on down to the pickled veggies in that white cup thingee. Seriously, a perfect lunch would be just one of these bad boys.

this wins for most startling in appearance, as the duck liver mousse was scraped onto the plate like a puddle of paint.  it had a wonderful balance of being both light and rich - the liver-enthusiasts among us approved!

this wins for most startling in appearance, as the duck liver mousse was scraped onto the plate like a puddle of paint. on the palate, it had a wonderful balance of being both light and rich, which I quite liked.  a would have preferred something with a  bit more richness, however, so I guess the liver-enthusiasts among us are split!

g got the steak ... big surpise ...

g got the steak, which we’ve had before and continues to impress (she ate the whole thing!) …

a got the fish ... big surprise

a got the fish … big surprise there … a defends: Hey – that swordfish special was delicate and the best “steak” fish dish I’ve had in a while.  It was somehow served like a soup without being one – but that broth was something to be savored.

but neither of them held a candle to my pork shoulder

t steals the mic and runs to his soapbox: But I have to say that there was no other dish better than my pork shoulder special.  Seriously.  You know that scene in Ratatouille where the snobby food critic eats the ratatatouille and is transported to his childhood kitchen table … bringing a tear to his eye and shattering his mean, abrasive shell.  Well this was similar (except my abrasive shell is still intact), as it reminded me so much of the kimchi jige that mom and grandmom used to make for j and me.  But it wasn’t “just like mom used to make it”, rather, each element was done-up all fancy- and modern-like while still hitting all of those same classic flavors.  A far cry from the overcooked pieces of pork [or spam] in my childhood kimchi jige (not that I had any problem with those – that’s just how it was made!), Serpico’s featured this huge pile of super-tender pork shoulder with lots of pieces of crisped skin strewn about, all atop shallow pool of intensely piggy broth.  I’m not sure why his pig tastes more like pig than anyone else’s, but it does!  Then add on kimchi (in that white cup in the upper left) that somehow tastes exactly like grandma’s (it was weird – I’m very picky with kimchi – it has to be freshly crisp, with only minimum sweetness if any, moderately spicy, and only a hint of that sour funk that fermented vegetables get … and I swear that the server said it was cauliflower kimchi?!?) and that triangle of singed riced (thus adding some texture and yummy burnt flavors) and I could not be happier.  I don’t think I said more than two words from the time my plate hit the table to the last bite I put in my mouth.  It was probably the best thing I ate all year … maybe longer!  Did anyone else like it?  I have no idea – I forget if I even bothered to share it with anyone.  Would anyone else like it? Probably not as much as me.  And while I’m sad that I’ll probably never be able to have it again (it was a “special”), part of me knows that it’d probably never hit me the same way again, as now I’d be expecting it – the surprise made it truly special.  So I guess this dish will just have to haunt my memories, akin to that single bottle of wine you had that one time from a certain producer from a certain vintage that you’ll never see again: you let the remorse fade away and count yourself lucky to have even had the chance to taste it in the first place …

the birthday boy's cake

the birthday boy’s cake was delicious …

apple cake!

… but a just couldn’t get enough of the apple cake – it’s his favorite sweet dish in the city.  I, too, thought it was great.  Maybe not as good as some of the sweets I’ve had at Talula’s Garden … but I guess we’ll just have to “agree to disagree”.

a ends:  Overall, this place has brought food to Philly unlike anything else. The service is so amazingly nice and sweet and unobtrusive.  As for the food, when people ask what type of cuisine they serve, I have no answer and I like that.  Serpico (the guy) is imaginative without being fake; novel without feeling forced. We’re lucky to have him and Starr deserves some thanks too; this is his Morimoto 2.0. And for the love of everything holy, please keep it corkage free.
P.S. Our wine was amazing and interesting as usual. Stars of the night were our first two bottles, Illumination SB 2012 and R. López de Heredia Reserva Rioja 2001!  The white with beautiful florality & depth, and the red aged to harmonious fruit-earth perfection.  Thanks t!
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Written by afterdinnersneeze

10 December 2013 at 7:17pm

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