Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Kabob and Grill

107 E. County Line Road
Ardmore, PA 19003
(484) 417-6672
Website

Indian food, in addition to being difficult to photograph, generally falls into two categories: good and great. I rarely have great Indian, but Kabob and Grill is up there. It's located right by Hymie's, and has a small bright storefront.


While it is BYOB, they offer a complimentary beer (Kingfisher) if you feel like it. I had both my Ballast Point Sculpin IPA AND a Kingfisher. When in Rome.


It is a bit more expensive than my usual targeted food spots, no matter the time of day, but for lunch they offer several killer deals around $10. I decided to try the Lamb Kadai (left) and the Chicken Tikka Masala (right).


The lamb is actually a Pakistani dish and came highly recommended by the server. The polite enthusiasm was fantastic, and it was just the right level of attention. Kadai, per the menu, features tender lamb cubes cooked with fresh onion,tomato and chief (chef) special spices. It came out like a lamb stew, and was delicious. Deep, rich flavor from the tomato and spice blend kept me coming back for more.


I mean, who's kidding, why would I put 3 only chunks on my plate? I like to start light. The lamb chunks truly were tender, and melted with each bite.


The Tikka Masala was another winner, with tender chicken in a creamy, spicy yogurt sauce. It boasted the standard orange tint, and the portion was spot on.


Look at this tender chicken. Delicious, flavorful and very clean.


An order of garlic naan came glistening with ghee and was crispy yet pliable. Exactly as it should be.


Look at the layers of flaky dough.


I also sampled the raita, a yogurt based sauce that I generally dip my naan in and can help cool down anything that brought too much heat. Luckily the mains here were well balanced with just enough heat to get the sweat started, but not enough to burn you. At lunch it is a steal, for dinner you will not be disappointed.


Monday, November 14, 2016

Pastificio

1528 Packer Avenue
Packer Park Shopping Center
Philadelphia, PA 19145
(215) 467-1111
Website

If there is a mecca for hoagies it's Philly. If there is an eden inside that fantasy world, it's South Philly. You can literally find a different sandwich every couple of blocks, all unique, and almost all delicious. Pastificio is located in a strip mall by Chickie and Pete's, and the sandwiches there could inspire pilgrimages.


One part pasta company, one part Italian market, one part sandwich church, they pack a lot into a narrow but long footprint.


They also sport their own wrappers, which is a nice touch.


The hoagies come on Abruzzi bakery rolls, which are perfectly crunchy and chewy, and rank among the best in the area (and obviously the world). Below are the namesake "Pastificio" on top, and the "Stu Gatz" below.


The Stu Gatz is a simple creation, packed with mortadella, sliced cured green olives, 4 cheese Italian blend (Asiago, Parmesan, American, Romano – packs lots of flavor for one kind of cheese), and sliced tomato. This sandwich is perfection. Salty and briny olives transform this from a fancy ham sandwich into something magical.


The tomato cuts the salt just a bit, and the pistachio flecked ham is rich enough to stand as the main meat.


I honestly could barely put this down to chew.


The proportions are spot on as well. Look at that perfectly thin-sliced meat to bread ratio.


The Pastificio is Italian hoagie holiness. Sopressata, capicola, and sharp provolone. My two favorite meats and favorite cheese (for hoagies). Everything was sliced razor thin (as it should be), and the typical Thuman's "The Deli Best" quality was apparent. Shredded lettuce, thinly sliced onion, tomato, banana peppers, and a shake of salt/pepper/oregano rounded out the party.


And, of course I got my usual oil AND "little bit of mayo."


Again, everything was in perfect balance, and this Italian was quickly devoured. But not before I savored every bite.


They also have a great selection of frozen pasta, sauces, and various meats. Come for lunch, take home dinner. This place deserves every cheesesteak.



Tuesday, November 1, 2016

&pizza

1430 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102
(215) 609-4758
Website

New to the Center City pizza scene is &pizza. Yes, &pizza. They are a D.C. area-based small pizza chain that has expanded into the Philadelphia market. I was recently invited to check out their grand opening, which was more like a well-lit night club than a pizza shop, but they were pulling out the stops for the preview night.


There was a "DJ". Actually, there were two. Dueling  DJ's?


A list of the most popular pizzas was available at the counter. Ordering is a Chipotle-like experience (I compare all fast-cas to them because they're still the reigning king), with a line of people ready to add your desired ingredients. OR you just pick a standard option.


The pizza itself is a long, narrow flatbread that goes through a conveyor belt. It is served on a long narrow tray, but also on a piece of paper between said tray and pizza (overkill). The staff paraded around with trays of almost every style pie.


My favorite was probably the "Pineapple Jack," with classic tomato, mozzarella, salami, pineapple, pickled red onion, Parmesan, and cherry bomb BBQ sauce. I am such a sucker for sweet, heat, and meat.


The "OG" was tomato sauce, mozz, cherry tomato, and basil. Pretty run of the mill but still tasty and well manicured.


An interesting twist was the "Farmers Daughter" — spicy tomato sauce, spinach, mozzarella, Italian sausage, egg, Parmesan and hot sauce. Yolk makes it fancy. This one was pretty good and probably took third place in my line-up.


The cringe-worthy offering named "Gnarlic" was better than it sounded. With garlic ricotta, mozzarella, grilled onion, pesto, garlic sauce, and Parm, it was the second place white pie to my preferred "Moonstruck." The mushroom truffle, garlic ricotta, mozzarella, mushroom, grilled onion, goat cheese, fig balsamic was a great combo, and my second favorite overall.


High ceilings and a black and white design made for a pleasing interior, more fancy than about any other pizza place I can remember.


They offer free pizza for a year if you get a tattoo with their logo on it. So that is an option for any of my poorer readers. I mean, it's almost worth considering. And an exercise in branding and advertising for anyone looking to commercialize America's favorite comfort food.



Thursday, October 27, 2016

Bonefish Grill

4889 West Chester Pike
Newtown Square, PA 19073
(610) 355-1784
Website

I was recently asked to check out the new menu at Bonefish Grill (on the house), so I decided to oblige. They have a seasonal rotation of menus and this one was well worth the trip. I will start off by saying that while they probably deserve 4 cheesesteaks, I have a hard time assigning that rating to a national chain...


I started with a Moscow Mule that was served with crystallized ginger. It had the ginger bite, and the candied ginger was an interesting touch.


They then brought out their house bread with herbed oil. This one hit the mark. I am usually not a chain restaurant person, but sometimes you have to love knowing just what you will get. I ate all of this bread, and then asked for more.



The most famous (arguably) appetizer is the "bang bang" shrimp. When I told friends I was going here, this was the unanimous "must try", They are lightly battered, fried, and served in a creamy spicy sauce. I found these quite addictive.


The creamy sauce did not make the crust into mush, maybe it was because I ate them in about four minutes. But I could see coming here to get a beer and at the same time CRUSH some of their bang bang shrimp.


Just enough sweet and spicy chili sauce to keep it interesting and they hide some romaine under there too, which makes me feel like I'm really just eating a salad. A healthy bowl of smothered and covered fried shrimp over ribbons of lettuce drenched in that incredible sauce.


Even though I had already eaten quite a bit of food, the entrees were now on their way.


Next up were the Blackened Baja Fish Tacos- Alaskan Cod with three warm tortillas, mango salsa, lime crema and shredded lettuce.


The cod itself was nicely blackened, I liked the sweet mango salasa and the lime crema. It was a lot of food but obviously I powered through. The tacos were pretty well balanced and had a good combination of flavor.


Fries were good but nothing out of the ordinary. Like I needed fries anyway...


The Chilean seabass topped with lump crab, truffle mac and cheese, and crab fried rice were my next victims. The fish was again, nicely cooked, with a crunchy crust, and the lemon and herb sauce went well with the flaky white meat.



The fish was cooked exceptionally well and despite the look of it, the lemon butter drizzle was quite light and rather delicious.


Crab fried rice was an interesting approach, and for an extra $4.50 it totally was worth the upgrade.


The truffle mac was another up-sale that I couldn't deny and you could probably get a day's worth of calories out of one order. I still ate the whole thing. Creamy and rich, this had just the right smack of truffle essence. It's definitely not for anyone watching their waistline. But I'm not watching mine.


I was pleasantly surprised at the food, as I didn't have any expectations coming in. Everything worked well, and was hot an timely. For a chain experience at this price point, I don't think I have had better and if my parents want to take me back, I would not argue. At all.