Nicholas - Holiday Walk Around Wine TastingTis the season! On Friday, November 22, 2019, 7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m., Restaurant Nicholas will host a walk-around tasting featuring 16 “must have” wines for the holidays. Nicholas chose these wines with holiday entertaining in mind, showcasing crowd-pleasing varietals that complement holidays meals and cocktail events.

Light passed hors d’oeuvres will also be served to complement the tasting.

Domaine Gasnier Cravantine NV: The Cravantine is a distinctive sparkling wine made from carefully grown Cabernet Franc grapes. The bubbles are the result of traditional, labor-intensive méthode champenoise. Appealing strawberry and mineral scents are encased in a firm structure with a dry and spicy quality on the plate. Great aperitif for the holiday season.

Diego Bolognani Pinot Grigio 2018: Winemaker and proprietor Diego Bolognani’s wine has a beautiful balance of white flowers, nuts, citrus, and stony notes, with purity of fruit and a long, refined finish. Perfect choice for a holiday party white.

Domaine Reverdy-Cadet Sancerre Blanc 2018: The 2018 has a green-tinged straw color with intense citrus and anise on the nose, plus a strong chalk tone. Great vibrancy to the flavors of lime, pink grapefruit and blood orange. The finish is long and stony.

Benoni Chardonnay Petit Grains San Luis Obispo 2018: The 2018 Petit Grains offers the perfect combo of green apple, hazelnut and mineral freshness. Just a dynamite bottle of American Chard, priced to drink every day.

Weingut Ratzenberger Riesling Kabinett Feinherb Bacharacher 2017: This is a fruity Rhein Riesling of sumptuous fruit flavors – tangerine, peaches, rub red grapefruit – stern acidity, and classic mineral and spicy flavors. Pair with roasted turkey, sausages and salmon. Drink now – 2026.

Gianni Doglia Barberad’Asti 2018: Gianni Doglia naturally farms a tiny estate in the picturesque hamlet of Castagnole Lanze. His Barbera is the product of 50-year-old vines, vinified without oak to preserve its incredible fruit. This is a food-friendly red wine that can double just as well all on its own. Great choice for a house red.

Domaine Eric Desvignes Givry Rouge 2017: The 2017 Givry Rouge is the produce of 45-year-old vines rooted in rocky, steep hillside vineyards. Vinified entirely in oak, this is a juicy, crunchy Pinot Noir with a marvelous mineral finish that makes it absolutely perfect at any table. Pair with grilled salmon, roasted poultry and mushroom dishes.

Trousse Chemise Pinot Noir Hyland Vineyard 2018: Winemaker Anne Sery’s 2018 Hyland Pinot is bright with a freshly crushed fruit quality. This wine would do well in a proper cellar. But if you can’t resist the fruit, pair it with roasted salmon or poultry.

Fattoria Zerbina Sangiovese Superiore Romagna Ceregio 2017: Christina Geminiani’s 29-hectare estate is farmed without the use of chemicals on a classic mix of iron-rich clay and limestone. Her pizza wine, Ceregio, is a brilliant ruby color with racy, black cherry fruit flavors. Firm acidity makes the wine long on the palate and just about perfect with any type of simple cuisine.

Corzano e Paterno IGT Sangiovese Il Tre Borri 2016: The mid-palate is concentrated, loaded with vibrant wild-berry fruitiness and lush, supple mouthfeel. The finish is long with fine-grained tannins. Be sure to decant and drink in a big glass because there is a unique layer of refinement that gradually comes with air. Think Tignanello at half the price! The perfect gift for the discriminating Italian wine collector.

Cerbaia Brunello di Montalcino 214: Winemaker Elena Pellagrini’s 2014 Brunello is fine and aromatic and builds with air. The wine is dark, powerfully concentrated, yet finished fresh and stony, making it perfect for the table at the present moment and a great candidate for long aging. Perfect complement to a holiday dinner of prime rib.

Stolpman Syrah Estate Ballard Canyon 2017: “The 2017 Syrah Estate Grown is absolutely gorgeous. Fresh, floral and wonderfully perfumed, the Estate expresses all the best vintage had to offer. Sweet floral, spice and dried herbs are beautifully laced into a core of dark Syrah. Not only is the Estate a terrific example of the year, it also captures the interplay of rich fruit and more savory notes that is so typical of the best Ballard Canyon Syrahs. The 2017 is simply compelling. That’s all there is to it.” – 93 Points, Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media.

Xavier Châteauneuf du Pape Cuvée Anonyme 2016: “… Full-bodied, it manages to be ripe, silky and concentrated, while remaining crisp on the lengthy finish. Tasted twice with consistent notes.” – 95 Points, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate.

Fabre-Montmayou Cabernet Franc Reserva 2017: “… Combining oaked and unoaked portions, the 2017 is a bright, perfumed, appealingly textured red with subtle wood spice and an undertone of green herbs.” – Tim Atkins Master of Wine, The 2019 Argentina Report.

Sueno Profundo Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2017: This Napa Valley cuvée comes from two early-ripening vineyards on the south eastern side of the valley. Well-drained soil is key here, roots dig deep in poor soil, bringing terrific minerality and freshness to the grapes. The result is a kock-out $35.00 Cabernet loaded with fresh, juicy black fruit. Perfect with grilled beef or cheese. 500 cases produced.

The price of the holiday walk-around wine tasting is $75.00 per person, $50.00 of which goes toward the first wine purchase.

To reserve your place, please call (732) 345-9977 (phone reservations only).

Cheers!

TAD

{ 0 comments }

Vickers Restaurant - InteriorOn Thursday, November 14, 2019, 7:00 p.m., Vickers Restaurant, 192 East Welsh Pool Road, Exton, Pennsylvania, will host a special five-course dinner of domestic game paired with spicy and earthy wines from both domestic and international producers.

First Course – Hunter’s Stew: Braised Venison, Root Vegetables, Barley; Wine Pairing: Gruet “Cuvée 89” Brut

Second Course – Fettuccini: Rabbit and Rosemary; Wine Pairing: Roth Estate Chardonnay

Third Course – Confit of Duck: Drunken Pears, Bitter Lettuce; Wine Pairing: Browne Family Heritage Pinot Noir

Fourth Course – Bison Rossin: Bacon Wrapped Bison, Morel Mushrooms, Pâté aux Fois Gras, Medoc Sauce; Wine Pairing: Foley Johnson Cabernet Sauvignon

Dessert Course – Chocolate Chess Pie: Chantilly Cream; Wine Pairing: Red Tail Ridge Good Karma Riesling

The price of the wild game dinner is $120.00 per person (plus tax & gratuity). For more information, or to make a reservation, please call Vickers at (610) 363-7998.

Bon Appétit!

TAD

{ 0 comments }

Brandywine Prime Hosts Autumn Wine Dinner

by artfuldiner on November 9, 2019

in Uncategorized

Brandywine Prime - Dining Room 2On Friday, November 15, 2019, 7:00 p.m., Brandywine Prime in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, will host a special four-course autumn wine dinner…

Autumn Wine Dinner Menu…

Hors d’Oeuvres: Celery Blue Cheese Filled Wing… Bloody Mary Oysters… Wagyu Spring Roll, Foie Gras and Maitake

First Course: Tuna Tartare, White Soy Aioli, Avocado, Black Olive

Second Course: Sage Walnut Porchetta, Pommery Mustard Crema

Third Course: Sous Vide Prime Ribeye Cap, Creamed Spinach – Veal Cheek Ravioli Parmesan Relish

Fourth Course: Fried Honeycrisp Apple Pie, Vanilla Ice Cream, Sprinkled Cinnamon

 

Paired Adult Beverages…

Upon Arrival: Cava Rosé, Portell Brut NV Spain… Jai Alai IPA… Rosemary’s Rye-Bulleit Rye, Rosemary Simple Syrup, Lemon Bitters, Splash of Apple Cider

First Course: Riesling Spatlese Trocken, Zeltinger Sonnenuhr, Selbach-Oster, 2018, Germany

Second Course: Ciampoleto Rosso Di Montalcino, 2017, Italy

Third Course: Petite Verdot, Grinon, 2013, Valdepusa, Spain

The price of the autumn wine dinner is $70.00 per person (plus tax & gratuity). For more information, or to make a reservation, please call (610) 388-8088.

Bon Appétit!

TAD

{ 0 comments }

Pizzeria Orso

400 South Maple Avenue

Falls Church, Virginia

(703) 226-3460

www.pizzeriaorso.com

Orso - InteriorDuring a recent visit with friends, I discovered what suburban Washington, DC, foodies already seem to know: When in search of genuine Neapolitan pizza, Pizzeria Orso is the place to go. And, make no mistake about it, pie-making operations here are serious business. Orso is one of only two pizzerias in the area boasting Vera Pizza Napoletana (VPN) certification. This is a designation granted by the Italian government to pizzerias that meet “the strict requirements that respect the tradition of the art of Neapolitan pizza making.”

Orso - PizzaAnd in keeping with that tradition, Orso uses dough made from Caputo 00 flour. The finest European winter wheat ground to a fine powder, this super-soft flour is easy to work with and produces the ideal balance of tender mouthfeel and pleasant chew… everything you want in a luscious pizza crust. This ultra-fine flour is imported from Italy, as are the San Marzano tomatoes, fresh burrata cheese, and Parma ham.

Pizza is obviously the name of the game here, from the simplicities of Marinara DOC (tomato sauce, fresh oregano, garlic, no cheese) and Margherita DOC (tomato sauce, bufala mozzarella, basil), to the excesses of Toscana (tomato sauce, mozzarella ham, salami, sausage, pepperoni) and Capriccioso (tomato sauce, mozzarella, artichokes, crimini mushrooms, ham, olives, basil)…

Orso - Brussels Spouts in Cauliflower PureeBut Orso’s kitchen also serves up several interesting appetizers that you aren’t likely to encounter at your average pizzeria. Like the Brussels Chips, for instance, sprout leaves shocked in an ice bath, flash-fried, and dusted with grana cheese. Then there’s the Oven-Roasted Olives served with homemade sourdough bread and Whole Roasted Cauliflower sided by a zippy salsa verde. My nod, however, and the table favorite among the adults of our party, goes to the outrageously delicious Roasted Brussels Sprouts on Cauliflower Purée (pictured). The spouts themselves are perfectly prepared – firm to the bite – with the purée kicking in some dynamite hits to the taste buds. Worth the price of admission.

Orso - BranzinoAmong the entrées, the Branzino (pictured), a special of the evening, was a positive gem. The moist, flaky filet was served up on a wooden plank simply adorned with lemon & capers and accompanied by a beautiful assortment of roasted fresh vegetables… On the other hand, the Eggplant Parmesan, a menu mainstay, was a generic effort at best.

As a general rule, in my opinion, the appetizers are infinitely more interesting and better executed than the regular entrées. Stick with the starters and the pizza and you can’t go wrong. Orso also boasts an extensive list of domestic brews, a full bar, and serviceable selection of wines by the glass and bottle.

Note: I recently learned that Chef Will Artley has left Pizzeria Orso. According to an issued statement, Executive Chef Bertrand Chemel of sister restaurant 2941, also located in Falls Church, will now oversee both restaurants.

 Bon Appétit!

TAD

{ 0 comments }

Nicholas in Main Dining RoomFrom Tuesday, November 12 – Saturday, November 16, 2019, 5:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m., Restaurant Nicholas in Red Bank, New Jersey, will be celebrating their 20th anniversary with a very special tasting menu featuring the original dishes from their first menu at the original price.

20th Anniversary Menu…

 First Course: Venison Carpaccio, Jicama, Mission Fig, Parmigiano Reggiano

Second Course: Parisienne Gnocchi, Sugar Snap Peas, Artichoke Butter Sauce

Third Course: Panko Crust Atlantic Halibut, Cauliflower Purée, Lemon Caper Sauce

Fourth Course: Cinnamon Braised Suckling Pig, Quince Purée, Winter Greens (Retired 2005)

Fifth Course: Warm Valhrona Chocolate Cake, Tahitian Vanilla Ice Cream

The price of the 20th anniversary menu is $75.00 per person (plus beverages, tax & gratuity). For more information, or to make reservations, please call (732) 345-9977.

A wonderful milestone for a marvelous restaurant… I plan to attend this one myself. 😊 Hope to see you there.

 Bon Appétit!

TAD

{ 0 comments }

The Wines of Zenato

by artfuldiner on October 18, 2019

in Artful Diner Mini Review, Breaking News, Opinion, Wine

Zenato WineryFounded by Sergio Zenato and his wife, Carla, in 1960, Zenato is an important and highly-regarded producer in the Veneto region of northeast Italy. It is located in San Benedetto di Lugana, 15 miles west of Verona on the shore of Lake Garda. The Zenato Winery was originally based on the production of quality wines from an indigenous varietal, Trebbiano di Lugana.

Beginning in the 1990s, Sergio extended his oenological vision, purchasing land and making wines in Valpolicella at the Costalunga estate in Sant’Abrogio. Here, Corvina and Rondinella grapes are cultivated, the two varieties at the base of the famous Amarone della Valpolicella. The winery’s flagship wine is Ripassa, a Valpolicella Superiore DOC created in a unique method: The best selection of Valpolicella wine is “passed over” the still-warm marcs (the solid remains of grapes after pressing) and used to make Amarone wine. This ancient method was rediscovered in the ‘90s by Sergio Zenato and produces an intense wine rich in body, color, and aroma.

Over the course of time, responsibility for the winery has been passed to Sergio and Carla’s children, who continue to maintain and expand upon their father’s vision. Daughter Nadia currently is in charge of the marking and promotional activity for the company, while son Alberto oversees all aspects of production, from the growing of the vines to the completion of the bottling process.

Although particularly known for its above-mentioned Amarone della Valpolicella, the winery also produces a range of other wines, from Pinot Grigio and Soave to varietal Corvina wines. The winery has also recently introduced a Bardolino red and Bardolino Chiaretto (rosé).

The two wines from this producer that you are likely to run into are noted below…

Zenato Winery - Pinot GrigioZenato 2018 Pinot Grigio (Delle Venezie): This wine is a perfect introduction to Pinot Grigio. It is delicately scented, soft on the palate, and offers up classic citrus and floral notes in a balanced elegant style. It is light-bodied with a refreshing, tangy acidity and a smooth dry finish.

This is a wine that is best enjoyed while it is young when you can fully appreciate its zesty fruitiness. It is also versatile and food friendly, matching well with hors d’oeuvres, garden salads, and grilled sole or tilapia.

The best part, however, is undoubtedly the price, which averages around $11.00 a bottle. I’ve seen it as high as $15.00 and as low as $10.00, so it pays to do a little research both on and offline.

Zenato Winery - Alanera RossoZenato 2013 Alanera Rosso Veronese: The 2013 Alanera is a blend of 55% Corvina, 25% Rondinella, 10% Corvinone, 5% Merlot, and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. The word “Alanera,” Italian for Crow, refers to the black skin of the Corvina grape.

This wine is produced in appassimento style. This is a wineprocessing technique in which harvested grapes go through a drying process prior to fermentation. This process is used traditionally in Italian wine regions to make the popular Amarone, Recioto, Valpolicella Ripasso, and Sforzato wines. Appassimento influences the flavor and concentrates sugars in dried grapes. This results in flavor and mouthfeel alterations in the wines that utilize these grapes. As the sugar concentrates, through water evaporation, wines produced from dried grapes may result in higher alcohol content. Flavors also become richer and bolder, adding complexity to still wines.

These characteristics are clearly demonstrated in the 2013 Alanera, which is a delightfully full-bodied wine with elegant and velvety tannins, a vibrant acidity, and a smooth and harmonious finish. Recently receiving a 91-point rating from wine writer James Suckling, the 2013 is an exceptional wine at an exceptional price. It normally retails at the $18.00 mark, but I’ve seen it on sale in State Stores for as low as $14.99. Definitely worth seeking out.

 Cheers!

TAD

{ 0 comments }

Pluckemin Inn Hosts Two October Wine Events

by artfuldiner on October 12, 2019

in Uncategorized

plukemin2During the month of October, the Pluckemin Inn, 359 Route 202-206, Bedminster, New Jersey, will be hosting two major wine events…

The first event is the Domaine Drouhin Oregon Wine Tasting on Tuesday, October 15th, 2019, 6:00 p.m.- 8:00 p.m. This walk-around wine tasting will give guests the opportunity to meet Ashley Bell, Director of Education and Sales for Domaine Drouhin Oregon. The tasting will be conducted in a casual format rather than a seated dinner, so guests may come and go as they please. There will also be an ample selection of hors d’oeuvres served through the evening and the Tavern will be open following the tasting as well.

The cost of the tasting is $75.00 per person (plus tax & gratuity) and will include hors d’oeuvres and one tasting pour of each of the wines. Additional wine may be ordered by the glass for those interested.

The lineup of wines will include RoseRock Chardonnay 2016… RoseRock Pinot Noir 2015… Domaine Drouhin Oregon “Arthur” Chardonnay 2016… Oregon Pinot Noir 2016… and Pinot Noir “Laurene” 2015. The wines tasted will also be available for purchase.

For more information, or to make a reservation, please call (908) 658-9292.

 

The second event is the Veuve Clicquot Champagne Dinner on Thursday, October 17, 2019,  7:00 p.m. The menu and Champagne pairings are noted immediately below…

Amuse: Barnegat Oyster, Herb Mignonette, Caviar; Champagne Pairing: Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label en Jeroboam

First Course: Maine Lobster Salad, Cauliflower, Hazelnuts, Watercress, Radish; Champagne Pairings: Veuve Clicquot 2008… Veuve Clicquot Blanc 2004 en Magnum

Second Course: Ricotta Gnocchi, Tomato, Pancetta, Parmigiano, Pesto Trapanese; Champagne Pairing: Veuve Clicquot Rosé 2008

Third Course: Griggstown Guinea Hen, Leeks, Brussels Sprouts, Black Truffle, Maitake; Champagne Pairings: Veuve Clicquot La Grand Dame 2006… Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame 2008

Cheese Cremeux de Bourgogne… VeuveClicquot La Grande Dame Rosé 2008

The cost of the Veuve Clicquot Champagne dinner is $175.00 per person (plus tax & gratuity). For more information, or to make reservations, please call (908) 658-9292.

Bon Appétit!

TAD

{ 0 comments }

Best Foodie Cities in America

by artfuldiner on October 11, 2019

in Breaking News, Wining and Dining

With World Food Day just around the corner on October 16th, and restaurant prices rising 3.2% between July 2018 and July 2019, WalletHub, the personal-finance website, thought this might be the perfect time to release its report on 2019’s Best Foodie Cities in America.

To determine the best and cheapest local foodie scenes, WalletHub compared more than 180 of the largest U.S. cities across 30 key metrics. The data set ranges from affordability and accessibility of high-quality restaurants to food festivals per capita to craft breweries and wineries per capita.

The Top 20 Foodie Cities in America are listed below…

1.Portland, OR

2.New York, NY

3.Miami, FL

4.San Francisco, CA

5.Los Angeles, CA

6.Las Vegas, NV

7.San Diego, CA

8.Seattle, WA

9.Chicago, IL

10.Austin, TX

11.Orlando, FL

12.Sacramento, CA

13.Tampa, FL

14.Atlanta, GA

15.Denver, CO

16.Charleston, SC

17.Washington, DC

18.Honolulu, HI

19.Philadelphia, PA

20.Oakland, CA

Philly finished in the top 20, not a bad showing. To view the full report, and the rankings of all 182 cities included within it, please click on https://wallethub.com/edu/best-foodie-cities/7522/.

 Bon Appétit!

TAD

{ 0 comments }

The Wines of Louis Latour

by artfuldiner on October 10, 2019

in Artful Diner Mini Review, Opinion, Wine

Louis Latour - WineryMaison Louis Latour is an important négociant-éléveur (A French wine merchant who buys grapes and vinifies them, or buys wines and blends them, bottles the result under his own label and ships them.) of red and white wines in Burgundy, France. Currently operated by the seventh Louis Latour, Louis-Fabrice Latour, the company has remained family-run since its foundation in 1797 and has built a reputation for tradition and innovation. This Domaine has the largest Grand Cru property (literally “great growth,” or the top tier of vineyards and their wines) in the Cote d’Or with a total of 28.63 hectares (71.58 acres).

Members of the Latour family have grown grapes since the 17th century in Aloxe-Corton. Over the years, they gained a 125-acre Domaine and built the Corton Grancey winery in 1834. This was built over five levels in order to make wines via gravity flow, and was the first of is kind in France. While majority of Louis Latour’s vineyard holdings are in Aloxe-Corton, the company also makes wines in several other grand cru and premier cru vineyards, including Le Montrachet and Romanée-Saint-Vivant.

The large range of wines produced at Louis Latour is made based on the terroir of each region and vineyard plot. The red wines are fermented in French oak vats before spending up to 12 months in barrel; while the Chardonnay ferments in stainless steel before getting transferred to oak barriques. In 1979, Louis Latour acquired holdings in the Ardèche River region in south-central France to produce Viognier and Chardonnay at a more accessible price point. The same was done with Pinot Noir in the Var region in southeast France.

Louis Latour is distributed to numerous countries throughout the world, and is one of the most easily recognized producers of Burgundy.

Louis Latour - CortonCorton-Charlemagne, a Grand Cru from the hill of Corton in the Côte de Beaune, is one Louis Latour’s flagship wines. This vineyard is extremely close to the famous “Clos Charlemagne,” which was the property of the Emperor Charlemagne until 775. The word “Corton” is a contraction of “Curtis Othonis,” which means “domain of Othon,” an emperor descended from Charlemagne.

Interestingly enough, it was the gravest crisis ever faced by a Burgundian vineyard that caused the birth of this wine…. The limestone rich soil at the top of the hillside had been ignored before the 7th generation of Louis Latour decided to plant Chardonnay instead of the Aligoté that had been killed by the Phylloxera, a deadly pest. The Latour family currently owns 25 acres of Corton-Charlemagne, which has since become one of most famous white wines of Burgundy.

Louis Latour - Chav MontChevalier Montrachet “Les Demoiselles” is another entry in Latour’s stable of Grand Cru wines. The name “Montrachet” is a derivation of the names “Mont Rachaz” (1252, “Mont Rachat” (1380), “the Montrachat” (1473). In old French “la râche” means “bald”; etymologically speaking, therefore, “Montrachet” means “bald mountain” because of its lack of vegetation. In the middle ages, the Lord of Puligny passed down a vineyard to his eldest son, the “Chevalier” (Knight), who left France to fight in the crusades, hence the name of the appellation “Chevalier-Montrachet.”

The terroir of “Chevalier-Montrachet” is of notable exception to the “bald” designation because its rich brown soils – usually reserved for the planting of Pinot Noir – have transformed Chardonnay into one of the greatest dry white wines in the world. The vineyard carries the name “Les Demoiselles” in homage to the daughters of an early 19th-century Beaune General, Adèle and Julie Voillot, the owners of the vineyard who both died without marrying.

The aforementioned Grand Cru wines, as you would expect, carry some pretty hefty price tags. Fortunately, Maison Louis Latour also offers a number of entry level wines of excellent quality…

Louis Latour -Pouilly Fuisse2017 Louis Latour Pouilly-Fuissé – Latour’s 2017 Pouilly-Fuissé stands out as one of the Winery’s best efforts in the Mâconnais, a wine region located in the south of the Burgundy. The district is best known as a source of good value white wine made from the Chardonnay grape, with Pouilly-Fuissé being a particularly sought-after wine.

The 2017 is an excellent vintage. Wine critic Wilfred Wong of Wine.com bestowed 91 points and noted the wine as “flavorful and lasting.” It’s quite fragrant with a core of fruit and spices on the palate. It’s light, lithe and easy to drink. Wonderful as an aperitif or with a variety of foods. The price isn’t bad either. Currently on sale at $24.99 in Pennsylvania State Stores; as low as $17.99 online.

Louis Latour - Pinot Noir2017 Louis Latour Bourgogne Pinot Noir – Latour’s 2017 Bourgogne Pinot Noir is an interesting wine. I wasn’t too thrilled with it at first… but it tends to grow on you. Light-bodied with fresh raspberries much in evidence on the palate, it goes down nice and easy and is even better with a touch of chill. Food friendly to a fault, this is a wine that is eminently quaffable during any season of the year.

But the best part is undoubtedly the price point. Currently on sale in Pennsylvania for $19.99, I’ve seen it going online for a mere $14.99… And that’s a bargain, indeed.

 Cheers!

TAD

{ 0 comments }

Zorba’s Taverna

2230 Fairmount Avenue

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

(215) 978-5990

Zorba's - ExteriorIf you happen to be paying a call at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and are in search of a good, reasonably priced restaurant in the immediate area, Zorba’s Taverna should fill the bill quite nicely. First reviewed in July 2014, this father-son BYOB is located in the shadow of Eastern Penitentiary with a handy paid parking facility just across the street. The diminutive eatery boasts two colorful dining rooms, an open kitchen, and some very, very good Greek cuisine.

Zorba's - Spring Salad SmallAs I mentioned in the first review, when it comes to the appetizers, all the usual suspects – stuffed grape leaves, potato purée, batter-dipped fried squid, baked feta and tomatoes – are present and accounted for. The so-called Greek Salad, however, is the acid test; and it was spectacular… as was the dressing, just the right combination of vinegar, herbs, and other seasonings. More recently, however, my dining partner and I decided to share the Spring Salad (pictured), a combo of romaine lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, olives, and feta cheese – which we actually preferred to the traditional Greek salad. But, once again, it was the addictive Greek vinaigrette dressing that stole the show.

The first time around, my dining partner opted for the Shrimp Poseidon, crustaceans grilled over charcoal simply adorned with olive oil & lemon and garnished with wilted greens, tomato & cucumber. I, on the other hand, took the vegetarian route with a dish I have always enjoyed, the Imam Baldi. The presentation consists of eggplant stuffed with sautéed onions and tomatoes cooked in olive oil and topped with tomato sauce, herbs, and feta cheese.

Zorba's - Fisherman FeastIn actuality, these were our second choices… The first choice for both of us was the Fisherman’s Feast for two (pictured), which just happened to be unavailable on that particular evening. However, we did finally manage to order it during our most recent visit… and it was certainly worth waiting for. This extraordinary dish contains salmon, tilapia, rainbow trout filets, and two shrimps roasted over charcoal, as well as potatoes, rice, and a delicious array of slow-roasted vegetables teamed with tomatoes, garlic, oregano, lemon, and olive oil. A feast, indeed. An absolute must for seafood lovers.

Zorba's - BaklavaDessert-wise, Baklava (pictured) is still the name of the game. I have sampled many renditions of this iconic Greek sweet ending over the years, and Zorba’s version is benchmark in every respect.

 Bon Appétit!

TAD

{ 0 comments }