The Other Critics

Fiorino’s ‘Classic Sensibilities’ Are ‘Minimalist Finesse’; Gemelli Brings New Hope For Manayunk’s ‘Eternally Frustrating Dining Scene’

• Though not too “flashy or inventive,” Craig LaBan says Chef Franco Faggi’s menu at East Fall’s Fiorino’s, “speaks to Faggi’s Emiglia-Romagna roots and classic sensibilities.” Its “best dish,” the “height of minimalist finesse,” was a bowl of Gorgonzola cream-glazed potato gnocchi that was “so light, they evaporate in warm breath like creamy puffs of blue-cheese whimsy.” The Bolognese, “ladled over fresh ribbons of tagliatelle” was “the bowl of Romagna comfort” could “crave.” The fillet of branzino “napped in bland butter sauce” was “was less impressive.” [Inquirer]

• As crab imperial sauce “zigzags across the thicket of controversial spuds” in the Sidecar Bar & Grille’s lump crab-laden “Appetizer Formerly Known As …,” the fries “grew a bit soggy under the rich bechamel laced with cayenne, celery seed, lemon and Worcestershire.” And yet, Adam Erace writes, “it doesn’t matter. They’re cheese fries, and they’re great.” A “mean margherita pizza,” with “vibrant tomato sauce and big, gooey deposits of Claudio’s mozzarella” and a “pan-roasted chicken half-chicken” “plump with moist, tender white and dark meat beneath well-seared skin” add to the menu’s “down-to-earth, snacky bar staples.” [Courier-Post]

• Turns out Brian Freedman was “dead wrong” in his assessment of Gemelli’s move to Manayunk’s “eternally frustrating dining scene.” “Sticky and melty and beyond fork-tender,” the “mammoth portion of beef cheeks” was “gorgeous.” And “sticky rails of pork belly and meaty slices of nebrodini mushrooms” added to the “shrimp-and-lobster mousse” -stuffed Cannelloni, “took it over the top.” [PW]

Fiorino’s ‘Classic Sensibilities’ Are ‘Minimalist