The Other Critics

Two Ringy-Dingies For Sbraga; Pure Fare Doesn’t Do Much For Health Food’s ‘Crunchy Bland’ Stereotype

• Craig LaBan waited almost an eternity to be blown away at Sbraga, but finds that in spite of the Top Chef champ’s “thoughtful concepts and good ingredients,” service missteps ultimately “chip away at this restaurant’s ambitions.” He knocks the much-hyped foie gras soup down a couple of pegs, stating that although “very good, indeed,” the foie is the soup’s “indulgent thickener rather than a featured flavor.” The “appealing populist flair” of Sbraga’s meatloaf, and the “luxurious” roux-thickened Diplomat served with the butter-poached lobster tail earn high marks, the re-imagined “crab and artichoke dip” he writes were “too skimpy and ho-hum.” In the end though, it’s the “ham-handed service” that gives LaBan reason to award Sbraga just two ringy-dingies. [Inquirer]

• Adam Erace writes that Pure Fare doesn’t do much to help with health food’s “crunchy and bland” stereotype. A mushroom soup suffered from “little depth of flavor,” and a romaine-heavy Mexican chicken salad “lacked personality.” But the sandwiches, he writes, are “where it’s at here.” Bittersweet chocolate cookies “made with garbanzo bean flour, avocado and dark cocoa,” were “probably the best gluten-free baked good [he has] ever had.” [Courier-Post]

• Two Eat Philly checks out Opa, where the service was “virtually flawless,” and the spinach croquettes are “nothing short of superb.” Fried kalamari provided a “great textural experience” and souvlakia skewers came with “a nice chargrilled appearance.” A spice-rubbed chicken entree seemed over-priced at $17.” [Two Eat Philly]

Two Ringy-Dingies For Sbraga; Pure Fare Doesn’t Do Much For Health