Thursday, June 9, 2011


944 N 2nd St
Philadelphia, PA 19123
(215) 592-4550

One of the worst parts about leaving South Philly is being farther away from what is certainly one of my favorite places to eat in the city. I swear by the 3rd Street Dmitri's (can't stand the one on 22nd), so when I realized there was one now open on 2nd street in Northern Liberties, I figured it was worth a try - at least it is a BOYB, like the original.

There are a couple of things that set it apart from the original. First is the space. There is plenty of room to eat, without being squeezed next to a couple that is literally six inches from your table. There is so much space that there's even OUTDOOR seating. The second is . . . they take cards. Thank God. I love all of the little BYO's in town, but any place that doesn't take a card annoys the hell out of me. Don't get me wrong, I still frequent plenty of cash-only establishments, but having to estimate what my meal will cost, warning everyone joining me for dinner that it's cash only, and occasionally tailoring what I order based on how much cash I have on hand in order to have enough for a good tip, is just plain annoying in this day and age. I mean, I get the economics of it, but it's often a pain in the ass for customers. Third is that they have the same menu as the OG, plus some new items and everything is in the same price range.

What's (one of) the best part(s) about Dmitri's? The unlimited bread and grilled pita basket. The pita is the perfect delivery vessel for the various dips and sauces that come with most items. One difference here is that instead of a lightly seasoned red wine vinegar and oil dip, it is served with a complementary oil and chopped basil version that is far superior. It's like a basic pesto oil, that was ridiculously good with a glass of red wine.

Two other variations on the menu include the Mediterranean sampler, packed with hummus, baba, assorted olives, lentil salad, cucumbers in yogurt sauce, and pickled beets. It's basically what I was already going to order, but served together for a very reasonable $15. I was actually surprised at how plentiful the servings were.

Another new menu variation was the sizzling cheese. How the hell am I NOT going to order that one? I believe it's Haloumi, served with olive oil, and rosemary. Nothing more needed. This cheese is awesome. However it should be noted, that it's served in a slice approximately one half of a brick. It's definitely a good one to order with more than one (or 3) person(s), unless you are a true champion of eating. You can also take the rest to go, I promise it will still be delicious tomorrow, but it will be lacking the caramelized crisp in the crust. The cheese itself is like a brie, crossed with parm, with a sharp hint of salty feta. The rosemary was an aromatic, piny treat, and accented the robust flavor of the cheese nicely. It was a heavy, addictive, perfect base for the light seafood that was still to come.

The shrimp scampi (way better than the Pil Pil) is a must order. An oily, garlicy, smokey sauce accented by lemon and perfectly cooked shrimp is the best of all of the dipping options. I seriously could bath in this sauce. Fresh parsley adds some greens and a squirt of the lemon brings a touch of vibrant acidity to this simple dish.

The original offers scallops, but only as a meal. I have had the escarole and rice, and it's best left to those who are on a diet. I prefer the carb-centric dipping of bread in sauces. And the eating of proteins. The seared scallops are available here on their own, with a slightly sweet, salty and spicy crust. Where else will you get eight scallops for $12? I have often received four for $25 in ordering a scallop dish at nice restaurants. So what's the difference? They are cooked perfectly here.

The chocolate pot came recommended by the server, and upon clarification that they were not serving a hashish fondue, I splurged and ordered some dessert. It was a nice end to the meal, small enough that it wasn't too overwhelming (I had consumed about fifteen whole pitas by this point) and light enough that it didn't sink me like a stone.

The light, sweet chocolate was like pudding for adults; it finished off the meal and the wine quite nicely.

Luckily this Dmitri's has lived up to it's BYO predecessor, and I can safely forgo the wait (and trip) down South.


Anonymous said...

Dmitri's is one of my favorites...I'll have to try the new location soon since you say it lives up to South AND it's way closer to my digs. Their scallops are some of the best in the city and the hummus is damn good. You have to try the haloumi dish with figs at audrey claire sometime.

Jamie S. said...

I like the look of what you ordered, opa!

Mike W. said...

Wow, this place looks amazing. Definitely making a trip to Dmitri's in the near future.