Emmanuelle

emmanuellephilly

Emmanuelle is a new spot in the Piazza in NoLibs, but bonus: it’s in the BACK (away from the noise and bustle of the front section of the Piazza).  It is a really cool little place, and we kind of hope it doesn’t get discovered because the quiet atmosphere and friendly staff make this place one of our current favorites.

The Drinks

THEY HAVE A PHO FLAVORED COCKTAIL RIGHT NOW! ’nuff said.

But seriously: Emmanuelle’s menu is intriguing, fun, and challenging in the best way.  Split into “The Entire Civilized History of the World” (classic cocktails) and “New Shit that has Come to Light” (original cocktails), the menu has a wide variety of drinks with a flavor profile for every palette.   At this point, I have sampled most of what I find interesting on the menu and I can safely say that I don’t see myself becoming disinterested with these flavors.  The complexity is really attractive to me – as a lover of flavorful, well-made foods, the obvious next step in my culinary advances is to become more adventurous in the drinks department.

Which brings me back to the Phở cocktail – you’ve probably read our posts showing my love of Asian noodles (here, and here), but I just wasn’t convinced about a cocktail with that flavor profile (not because I was unconvinced that it would be well-crafted, but because I genuinely don’t like “spicy” drinks most of the time). The bartender assured me that is was more “savory” than spicy (despite a float of Sriracha), and I am really glad I went for it.  Do you love Phở? Well, prepare to spend a lot of money at Emmanuelle while this is on the menu because it’s INSANE-ly tasty.  Seriously, go try it.  Right now.

Josh will probably also want to give a shout-out, since their house rye is Rittenhouse.  This place really was made for us.

Menu

The Snacks

They have a small sampling of bar snacks, which are just enough to help you fill your stomach with something other than alcohol. (But really, why would you want to?) We have tried their mixed nuts, which came in an adorable cut glass mason jar (catering to my love of cute, hipster-popularized vintage memorabilia) and were salty and herbaceous, a perfect complement to my cocktails.

The Design

I had a mentor in school who described his design style as “Modern Victorian.”  While this place is a pretty over-the-top interpretation of that, there’s not really a better way to describe it.  Emmanuelle is named for a French soft-core porn film (yeah, really) and the interior reflects that.  It is a darkly-lit, jewel-toned, and eclectically-styled interior with fun custom art pieces, damask wallpaper, and mirrored ceiling soffits. It’s really much classier than my words are making it sound – I promise.  Even Josh liked it, and it helped me to finally convince him the “eclectic” interiors really are a good idea, and that the Victorians knew where it was at (their over-stuffed rooms probably looked baller in lamp-light, while in our standard brightly-lit spaces they would feel overwhelming). My preferred mark of a well designed restaurant interior is that it matches the product, and Emmanuelle’s interior does that perfectly.

The Overall Experience

The bartender made a point to introduce herself at our first visit, a group of girls sitting next to us involved us in a conversation, and the barback got a bottle of gin down from the top shelf for our friend to look at because the bottle was recently redesigned.  The people here are super great, and even though we are probably not “cool” enough for Emmanuelle, we never feel like we aren’t welcome.

The Receipt

Cocktails of this quality should cost more than what they do at Emmanuelle – only $10 – $12 per drink (on the menu).  It still may not be an every-night-of-the-week place, but it’s definitely doable often.

Our Ratings

Drinks: 5/5 — (Remember how we tried to give Franklin Mortgage a 6/5? We can petition to do that again, right?)

Food: 5/5

Design: 5/5

Service: 5/5

Budget: 4/5

Overall Experience: 5/5

Will We Visit Again

We already have, and plan to do so again.

Advertisements

Tapestry

Tapestry is a neighborhood joint in the South Street area.  It’s literally the kind of place where you could bring your kids (there were multiple families there for dinner).  It’s cozy, relatively inexpensive, and offers approachable food.

The Drinks

The reason we originally wanted to try this place was the super classic cocktail menu.  We were not disappointed by the well mixed drinks and the extensive beer list.

Josh: Manhattan w/Rittenhouse rye; luxuardo cherry garnish.

Not on the official cocktail menu, but obviously something every bar should be able to produce well. I was very happy to order this with my preferred whiskey which is hard to fine. If you are looking for a more interesting take, try the Bensonhurst. Its a Manhatten with dry vermouth instead of sweet and they sub in an italian bitters over the more common angostura.

Hotel Nacional: el dorado 5 year rum, marie brizzard apry, pineapple juice, lime juice

This was a delicious, tropical drink that was really balanced for being a tropical drink. I’d definitely have to attest that to a strong pour of the rum in it and the apricot liquor making it more rounded out than the likes of a hurricane.

Holly: Abbey of the Christ Monk’s Ale

I wasn’t feeling like a cocktail (strange…I know) so I went with a beer I hadn’t tried before.  it was crisp, refreshing, but relatively forgettable.

Cocktail Menu

Bottle List

The Food

Appetizer: Chicken Wings

Okay, so these were normal chicken wings.  I probably don’t have to review them.  Yummy, like all junk food is yummy.

Holly: Cubano Panini

Sadly, this was just okay.  Somehow it just wasn’t as chrunchy-chewey-cheesy-flavorful as a Cuban sandwich should be.  The pickles were also sweet-ish.  I think my biggest problem wasn’t really that it tasted pretty plain, but that it had no texture.   Note: The last time I went to Tapestry, I had Fish and Chips, and it was delicious–perfectly cooked, crispy, and really tasty.  They obviously know how to make food, the cubano just wasn’t as satisfying as i would have hoped.

Josh:  Burger

This is actually our second time here and I got the burger the first time and I got it again this time out as well (Lame, I know, but sometimes you just want a burger, amirite?) and equally enjoyed it. It was cooked to order just right (medium rare) and their smoked bacon addition outside the ordinary. Fries were good.

Dinner Menu

The Design

Tapestry is styled to look somewhat like an old bistro.  There’s lots of wood, penny tile floors, and large chalk boards with the specials.  The most interesting design feature are the velvet draperies in all of the many windows, which give diners some privacy and give the restaurant a reason to sport its moniker.  It’s definitely not the prettiest place, but it isn’t like they’re trying that hard.  Tapestry is just a neighborhood joint that is trying to put out decent accessible food, so a decent accessible design is completely fitting.

The Service

Despite not having a hostess in any real way, we were acknowledged as soon as we walked in the door and sat right away. Our service was prompt and basically everyone in the place was very on the ball.

The Receipt

Drinks range from 9-11 each and prices on the beer list were harder to nail down, but all seemed appropriate for the bottles. The food is good value, they offer a nice solid menu with variety of charcuterie, cheese, desserts and a daily mac and cheese that change up and could be anything when you arrive.

Our Ratings

Drinks: 5/5

Food: 4/5

Design: 3/5

Service: 4/5

Budget: 4/5

Overall Experience: 4/5

Will We Visit Again:

Most definitely. The food is a step above normal gastro pubs, though it doesn’t break any molds. However, the selection of beers in bottle, number of beers on tap (around 20) and the large and impressive cocktail menu of genuine classics mixed well make this a new favorite stop of ours.

Restaurant Website

Lemon Hill

Remember our difficulty in choosing a place when we ended up at Supper?  Well, we finally made it to our original destination, Lemon Hill!  Lemon Hill is the new venture by the proprietors of Franklin Mortgage and Investment and Supper in the Fairmount neighborhood of the city.  Fairmount is (in)famous for bar hopping and generally cheap eats, so this adorable palette-challenging spot is a great addition to the area.

The Drinks

Franklin Mortgage is (obviously) responsible for the tasty cocktail offered at Lemon Hill, which was the original reason that we wanted to try the place out.  We were not disappointed (so not disappointed, in fact, that we each partook in two drinks).

Holly:Clover Club

The clover club is a twist on the Pink Lady, which is one of may favorite drinks.  I liked the sweet and sour flavors, and the smoothness that egg whites add to a drink is always appealing to me.  This drink tasted a bit summer-y to me, due to the fruitiness of the raspberry syrup.  Super tasty, and a great starter drink.

Holly: Fairmount Project

My second beverage was a play on an Aviation, which is known for the inclusion of maraschino syrup.  The Fairmount Project is more complex than the clover club, and was a great complement to dinner.  I really enjoyed how sour it was–like an adult sour candy.

Josh: Blues Explosion:

I’m not one for Tennessee whiskey on most days (actually everyday), but the ingredients caught my eye. Fresh grapefruit juice with maple syrup & Angostura bitters made for an exception when I would otherwise order something with bourbon or rye.

Current Drinks Menu

The Food

Appetizers

Holly: Smoked Tomato Soup with Bleu Cheese Popovers

How could I say no?  This soup was smooth, rich, and creamy. The popovers were adorable little semi-fried blobs of bleu cheese that slowly melted into the soup, adding a touch of funk that made the whole thing that much more interesting.  I really enjoyed this (and it inspired me to start adding bleu cheese to tomato soup all the time!)

Josh: Hot Spiced Pecans

These were more than I ever hoped they could be. I like pecan pie, and that’s about it for me and pecans; but smoked nuts with bacon sounded interesting and a nice snack to have with the first drink while waiting on our food. These were the perfect blend of smokey and salty and the cuts of thick bacon and red cherry peppers went great with the flavors.

Dinner

Holly: Roasted Mushroom French Dip

I was feeling like I hadn’t eaten nearly enough vegetables that day, and I love how the earthy flavor of mushrooms in a sandwich act like a protein.  Goat cheese was a great addition as well, because like the popovers, the slight funkiness was a great addition to the mushrooms.  This sandwich was fun to eat, also, because like a classic french dip, it came with a small bowl of jus for dipping.  Who doesn’t like to play with their food a little bit?

Josh: Fish Special of the Day: Scallops with charred escarole, potatoes, and “salsa” verde

I wasn’t sure what I was going to get and made one of those last second menu decisions. I was worried I’d have regrets and that the patty melt (Need to go back and try) would be infinitely better. My doubts were assuaged by some of the best cooked scallops I’ve ever had.

Dessert: Mississippi Mud Pie

There was a much more exciting option on the menu (key lime pie if I remember), but they were out of it at the time. I went with the Mississippi Mud Pie out of a sense of needing to have some kind of desert to gauge the restaurant on for the review. It was well made, but there wasn’t anything that was standout about it.

Current Dinner Menu

The Design

Lemon Hill is barely designed at all. It almost feels like walking into someone’s classy Philly row home (which it basically is).  The exposed brick wall may be a little overdone in restaurants around here, but at least this one is original to the building, and it serves a purpose by separating the bar from the quieter dinner area.The copper-y tin ceiling (which is probably actually a acoustic panel tile) is a beautiful element in this pretty bare-bones space.   If it is acoustical tile, it was a smart choice for a restaurant that invites cozy dinners with friends or a date: many restaurants forget that although hard surfaces usually look pretty great, they are horrible at dimming the sound that will inevitably be a problem.  My one real complaint is that the faux finish on the wall was pretty ugly, and I would have much preferred simple paint (or at least losing the textured “sandy” grit that they used).  Overall, Lemon Hill felt warm and homey, just like the food.

The Service

The staff was kind and helpful. At the beginning we did have that long wait when you aren’t ready to order so they really give you a lot of time to order. This was annoying but also understandable to a degree.

The Receipt

Closer to the 20 dollar side of a 10-20 dollar range for meals, I definitely felt we got good values. The cocktails lived up to my expectations and the prices along the lines of being just below Franklin Mortgage prices with a taste level that was equally just below it.

Our Ratings

Drinks: 5/5

Food: 5/5

Design: 3/5

Service: 5/5

Budget: 4/5

Overall Experience: 5/5

Will We Visit Again?

Definitely.  How could we not?  We love Supper.  We Love the Franklin.  This is the best of both worlds, and pretty close to where we live, as well!

Restaurant Website

Supper

This evening’s adventure was strife with indecision.  We started out wanting to try the new spot by the owners of Franklin Mortgage and Supper, but Lemon Hill had just opened and was predictably packed.  Then we tried Osteria, but we can never get a table there because we don’t plan ahead.

The next logical step was to try Supper, since they were the partner in the Lemon Hill enterprise.  Supper is located on arguably the only “classy” block of South st, just across from the Whole Foods. It shares its block with places like Percy St. BBQ and Brauhaus Schmidt (both to be reviewed here in the future).

The Drinks

Supper makes all the snacks that Franklin Mortagage and Investment Co. serves, and in fair trade Supper’s cocktail menu is designed by the expert staff from the Franklin Mortgage. It was a short list, but all six cocktails featured read as good and interesting combinations.

Ride the Lightning: (Plymouth gin, lime juice, simple syrup and créme yvette)

As always these days, I went immediately for the Gin cocktail (I also couldn’t resist the name, as Joshua used to always do some stupid pose and yell “Ride the Lighting” as if he were some kind of super hero). Ride the Lightning is basically a gin daiquiri by flavor with the added kick from the violet flavored crème yvette (which also makes this a completely girly pink drink). It was a simple yet totally delicious drink.  So delicious, that I had two.

Ace of Spades:(Laird’s BIB, punt e mes, averno amaro, rothman & garnished with a winter orchard cherry)

This was basically a fancy manhattan, made by subbing out the whiskey for Laird’s Bottled in Bond Apple brandy.  It was very drinkable and not too sweet. I found it a good combination to the rich food I had for dinner.  Would have had 2 or another drink but I was DD that night.

Cocktail Menu

The Food

Appetizer: Smoked Chicken Wings

These were really, really awesome and interesting. The skin with the rub was perfectly crunchy. The rub itself? Blown away by the root beer flavor they’d managed to get onto the chicken wings.  ROOT BEER FLAVORED CHICKEN WINGS, PEOPLE.  Why is there not a line out the door for these things?

Holly: Duck and Waffles:

I have had duck at another restaurant before and I wasn’t happy with the gamey-ness, but how could I pass up this classy play on chicken and waffles?  And boy am I glad I was brave and ordered this.  Remember my reaction to the pork chop at R2L? This was that to the tenth power.  The duck was juicy and sweet (and the gamey flavor was properly balanced with other flavors).  The sage and pecan waffle was savory and sweet, and it perfectly counterpoised the juicy meat of the duck leg.  The whole thing was finished with maple jus (which makes the Vermonter in me very happy).  I am always a fan of breakfast for dinner, and this was probably the classiest breakfast I’ve ever had.

Josh:  Supper Burger

There were far more interesting opportunities on the menu (like Holly’s duck and waffles), but I wasn’t feeling any of them and decided to be boring and go with their burger. Well, this burger might as well as have been called Super Burger. This thing was huge and cooked perfectly to my specifications (medium rare), topped with a really good cheddar, and it also featured overnight tomatoes and some pork charcuterie that was basically charcuterie bacon. All of this was on a nice potato roll. The differences in texture between everything was just awesome. It came with some fries that were good, but nothing special and a little on the salty side (luckily it also came with some nice mustard to dip into).

Dinner Menu

The Design

Supper cannot be described as anything other than a pretty restaurant.  The features are all beautifully proportioned: from the patina’d metal on the façade, to the oversized drum shades on the hanging lights, to the soft palette of coral, cream, and wood tones.  Although many of the industrial elements of the space are untouched, they are counterpointed by natural looking wood structure, floral fabrics, and soft lighting.  I’m not a huge fan of open kitchens, but this one isn’t ostentatious or showy. When you walk into Supper, you get an idea from the interior that you are going to have a quiet, classy, and enjoyable evening.  Any interior that can perfectly convey the experience of a restaurant is a successful one, in my opinion.  My only complaint is that the double build-up on granite on the bar was poorly detailed, and I’m sure the result was not what the designer intended (this nit-pick brought to you by a designer who works in the stone industry).  Overall, I felt comfortable in Supper, which is exactly how a luxury restaurant should feel.

The Service

The service at Supper is top-notch and starts from the moment you enter the door and are greeted by the hostess. Our waiter was pretty much the definition of professional. Not pushy, very prompt and nice he expertly served us. We all got a personal greeting from the chef as well which was appreciated as well.

The Receipt

Supper is not inexpensive, but with expertly prepare food, cocktails, service, and interiors, I would not expect a cheap meal (nor would I want one).  We probably spent close to $150 for the two of us, and in a classy establishment like Supper, that is to be expected and welcomed.

Our Ratings

Drinks: 4/5

Food: 5/5

Design: 5/5

Service: 5/5

Budget: 3/5

Overall Experience: 5/5

Will We Visit Again:

Most probably. It’s definitely not a place to go to every week, but the atmosphere and food begs a second glance.  Many of their items come directly from a farm that is operated by the restaurateur, so the food changes with the seasons. I would be intrigued to see what kind of menu changes come with the seasons.

Restaurant Website

The Prohibition Taproom

This post will be different than the standard format simply because we’ve gone almost a half-dozen times to prohibition since we found it. This is more of an overview of the food and the place rather than the snapshot-specific views we usually do.

The Drinks
One of my main reasons for us to check out Prohibition (I regularly look for new places on the net) is that they have this thing called the old man drink of the day (OMDD). The OMDD changes daily and is always a hard liquor cocktail made with house spirits and is something that your grandfather likely drank. In addition to having a full bar and mixing the OMDD they have a decent amount of taps (10ish) rotating with local and imports. In addition to the taps, they have a decent bottle list covering the major styles and there should be something for everyone on that list.

The Food

Prohibition offers the kind of food you’d expect from a standard bar with some attempts at referencing America’s industrial past. The burgers are great and the Shepard’s pie is made with cuts of beef rather than the ground beef you find at most places. There are some interesting twists as well. If you are there just for drinks or want an appetizer with your drink before your food comes then you must order the fried green beans. They are lightly fried in the same batter they use for fish and chips and are still crisp. They make a great salt snack to  share since they come out in a big bowl.

Be sure to look out for the grilled cheese sandwich of the day on the board. They mix it up just like the OMDDAdditionally they also do different deserts like pumpkin bread pudding (the most recent time I went) that are really well made and always interesting.

The Design

“Prohibition is…not a pretty place” – Holly. Prohibition looks like a dive bar, but is well kept and has some slight style with fixtures and features that make it look like a combination of a turn of the century saloon and turn of the century factory space.  It might not be much to look at but all of the furniture and the bar layout works well and definitely encourages a focus on the people you go with rather than whats around you.

The Overall Experience

Prohibition sports good service, and a nice, if bare bones atmosphere and is a great place to go when you just want to hit up a regular bar for a beer and a burger. Basic old school bars like prohibition are hard to find (most basic bars are sports bars, “Irish” pubs, or a mix of both) and we were glad to find it. It’s a place you can go with no expectation and still have an enjoyable and relaxing night.

The Receipt

Burgers and other sandwich or salad meals run around 10 bucks. Dinner entrees are all under 20. The beer and cocktails are equally affordable.

Our Ratings

Drinks: 3/5

Food: 4/5

Design: 2/5

Service: 4/5

Budget: 5/5

Overall Experience: 4/5

Will We Visit Again

Definitely. We’ve already been twice.  It’s an easy location to park at, the food is decent and affordable, and the allure of a different old man drink each visit is somewhat irresistible!

Restaurant Website