Nan Zhou Hand Drawn Noodle House

Nan Zhou is a neighborhood joint in Philly’s China Town.  It’s a quaint place, but the food is ohmagoarshuhmazing.  Try it.  You wont be disappointed.

The Food

Appetizer: Coconut Curry Chicken Dumplings

Holly called this “whitey-bait” and I don’t know how I feel about it. It is true that coconut curry chicken as a dumpling filler is in no way a traditional filling, but at the same time it was a perfectly cooked dumpling. They asked me if I wanted steamed or fried (and I laugh in my head at the thought of steaming anything) and they were perfectly cooked and crisp.

The Soups!

What a bowl of soup. Despite the temptation of rice flake noodles, we both went with the eponymous hand drawn noodles which were aces. The broth was really flavorful and satisfying without being overly fatty.  Hooked up with chili oil and soy sauce, we spent 15 minutes just slurping noodles in foodie silence.

Culturally challenged beware: it may be extremely hard to eat with the utensils given (Chinese soup spoon and chopsticks. Josh is a noob with chopsticks. Holly rocked it). Also know that there will be bones in the duck, and the beef tendon is really gelatinous and chewy.  This is part of the enjoyment of the food!

The Design

This is probably one of the best examples of classic Asian restaurants trying to look “designed.”  Basically, it was the same wooden chairs and cheesy Asian “art” on the walls, combined with what seems like a ubiquitous love for neon thanks to the blue lighting accents in the ceiling.  But really, the design doesn’t matter here.  I don’t give a damn about ambiance when it take 5 minutes for my food to arrive and I’m too busy eating to notice that the place isn’t pretty anyway.

The Overall Experience

You know a place is going to be great when it’s hoppin’ at 2pm, and the only people there are ethnically and culturally the “proper” eaters of the food being served.  We were the only white folks there, until when we were about to leave and a strange middle-aged dude came in and tried to sound like he knew what was up as he ordered half the menu. (One of the servers was eating her lunch, and he asked her what it was, to which she replied “wonton soup” although clearly there was some kind of nasty-bits meat in it, possibly some kind of testicle.  I think she made the right choice in telling him to order something boring).

The Receipt

Very, very affordable. Dumpling were $6 for eight medium to large sized dumpling and our giant soup bowls were $8 a piece as well. If you want a good, affordable lunch in China Town this is definitely a place we would recommend.

Our Ratings

Drinks: n/a

Food: 5/5

Design: 1/5

Service: 3/5

Budget: 5/5

Overall Experience: 5/5

Will We Visit Again: Yes. Couldn’t keep us away if you tried.

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