An ambitious restaurant in Philadelphia? We’ve got plenty of those. But in Mayfair? In the Great Northeast? In Philadelphia’s traditional go-to zone for gloppy pizza, deep fried buffalo wings and dubious “casual dining” chain restaurants? Si. Craig LaBan visited the new Rylei, a romantic BYOB on Frankford Avenue, and found plenty of potential:
” Two perfectly cooked double-cut New Zealand lamb chops posed alongside a Mediterranean saute of roasted tomatoes, eggplant and peppers studded with pine nuts and raisins. A tender loin of pork, pan roasted and served with a nice white wine pan sauce, arrived with a quick saute of radicchio and napa cabbage - a pleasantly light summer take on the heartier pork and cabbage classic. A thick steak of lemony Hawaiian butterfish (escolar) arrived in a light vegetable broth filled with soy-glazed mushrooms and a scoop of sushi rice, a deft pan-Asian touch to the menu’s largely European palette.”
But there are challenges for Rylei. Entree prices hover around $20 in a largely lower-middle class section of Northeast Philadelphia whose residents, lets face it, are more likely to get excited about a night out at Applebee’s than a trip to Center City and dinner at, say, Matyson. Will Rylei make it? Time will tell.