The Other Critics

Santucci’s Standard Is a ‘Standout’; Farmers’ Cabinet Disappoints with ‘Faddish and Unnecessary’ Fare

• “With aged mozzarella forming the base for the oregano-flecked, well-balanced sauce on top,” Santucci’s standard square pizza is “a standout,” according to Brian Freedman. The spinach stromboli’s “wrap-thin dough” and “generous layers of veg and provolone” “makes it difficult to stop picking at the massive portion.” Meatballs, chicken wings and porchetta sandwich demonstrate “how well-executed” the “wide-ranging menu” is there. [PW]

Farmers’ Cabinet’s proprietors “have thought of everything, it seems. Except the food,” Adam Erace writes. With a new chef, “the food here has taken a step up,” but the menu’s “glimmers” are fleeting; “they flashed with frustrating infrequence.” “Cider-barbecue-sauce-lacquered meat” on the beef short rib “gripped its bone, obstinate even when it met my knife.” Pork rinds “accessorized a pail of escargot drowned in whiskey butter” were “faddish and unnecessary.” Despite “whimsical names and esoteric ingredients,” drinks were “sublime,” and the bartneders pull them off “without a lick of pretense.” [Citypaper]

• Phyllis Stein-Novack checks out Stephen Starr’s Granite Hill at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and reports that museum diners are in the “capable hands of chef Joshua Evans.” Bloody Marys are “superb,” and with “something for everyone,” the buffet table was “right up [her] Sunday-brunch alley.” Even vegetarians, she writes, “would feel most comfortable with the offerings.” Arctic char on a bed of lentils was “lovely.” Quinoa with pomegranate seeds “was so tasty.” [South Philly Review]

Santucci’s Standard Is a ‘Standout’; Farmers’ Cabinet