after dinner sneeze

a lot of g says, t says

amis, it’s been too long!

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t says:  We were lucky enough to have come into an gift certificate for a Vetri restaurant (except not Vetri), so g and I had to figure out which restaurant to go to.  We love Osteria, but it is kinda-sorta-out-of-the-way.  Alla Spina had great food, but we were in more of a date-y mood.  We knew what had to be done: Amis.

April 2014, Friday Dinner, Party of 2.  As documented in one of the rare phenomena of adsz (an entire post written by g!), we did like the food overall at Amis, but not so much as to make it back … at all … over the past 4 years.  Yikes!  Well, we were about to see how much has changed since then:

First off, lets just say that the server was fantastic.  He didn’t over-sell us on food, he memorized our order to perfection, and checked in with us frequently to make sure we were happy with everything.  Also, as we had brought our own wine, he was very courteous with refilling our glasses, making for a very happy, buzz-filled evening.  He gets thumbs-up all the way.

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crudo: special of the evening was a crudo of some sort of bass that was superbly executed.  minimally treated with salt, pepper, olive oil, and a few garnishes, the fish really sang through.  probably some of the best crudo i’ve had from an Italian restaurant!

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sal’s meatballs were fascintating.  the meatballs, in combination with a tomato-potato sauce (well, less “sauce” and more “stewed tomato and potato”) came across more like a breakfast dish than anything else.  if i closed my eyes and savored the moment, it did taste more like home fries, stewed tomato, and a piece of Italian beef-pork meatloaf.  it’s not a bad thing at all, as the meatballs were moist and homely, just unexpected.

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We ate other foods, too, but the pictures were all darker than this one.  As we had hinted at before, the atmosphere in Amis can be very date-y, which is great, as it has those darker woods, dim lights, etc.  Be that as it may, it is incredibly loud in there – even at the octogenarian time slot at which we ate (~6pm), the evening din was more like a cacophony … which was peculiar because indeed the restaurant was full older patrons.  Fortunately, g and i were up to the challenge and easily matched the volume of our surroundings.  But back to the food: the escarole salad hit g in all the right places – how can you say no to fresh greens, fruit, and cheese?  As far as the pastas, we went for the cacio e pepe (above) and the spinach-and-meat lasagna.  The lasagna was good and homey – g dug the spinach aspect.  But to be honest, i’ve seen g’s mom (and g!) throw together a better lasagna, with a firmer noodle and more flavorful meat (g sometimes likes to brown the whole meatball first, and then break it up for the lasagna).  As for the cacio e pepe, it was very cacio, and not very pepe.  I preferred melograno’s cacio e pepe, which has a nicely salty cheese and a pronounced pepper bite.  But, what I will say is that Amis’s noodles were perfectly al dente and the sauce’s texture was luxuriously rich due to the cheese.  Nevertheless … I felt like maybe they could do better … (more to come below).  But you know what they could not do better with is the Brussels sprouts.  Those bad boys were fried.  Not pan-fried – they were fried-fried.  And they. were. incredible.  Now of course, Brussels sprouts were supposed to have gone out of style about 2 years ago (along with pork belly, to make way for kale, which has already come and gone) … but you just can’t keep a good sprout down.

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what dinner would be complete without dessert?  Here is the nutella covered waffle with some ice cream.  Bam – now that is a dessert.  A perfectly crisp waffle, luscious nutella, and a creamy ice cream.  Is it a $10 dessert?  No way.  But it sure is a great one.

While I did complain about Amis’s pastas some, g and I were plenty enough impressed with the food as a whole that we had a wonderful time.  Amis’s service and pacing were spot on (oh, and did I mention that their bread was off the hook?) so it’s probably one of the best date nights out we’ve had in a while.  The damages ended up being comparable to eating at Talula’s Garden, but of course … if you’ve got a totally bawler gift card in your wallet, every bite tastes better, every sip tastes sweeter.  Three cheers to the gifters!  Oh – and there was the morning after, too:

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g and I had some leftovers: the cacio e pepe and the fried sprouts.  this got me thinking: why not have a dish with both?  you could still get a rich cheesey pasta, mixed with a hit of pepper (I added more), and the sweetness of fried sprouts?  it probably isn’t “traditional” or whatever, but you bet your bunsen burner that it was a dynamite leftovers lunch.

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Written by afterdinnersneeze

4 May 2014 at 12:55pm

Posted in in Philadelphia, Restaurant Reviews

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