The Other Critics

Sbraga Was ‘Brilliant’ and ‘Unexpected’; Tashan Serves ‘Full-Throttled Excitement’

• Adam Erace finds himself enthralled by the “rich and lusty” “liver love potion” that is the foie gras soup that’s poured tableside at Top Chef champ Kevin Sbraga’s eponymous restaurant. “Inspired ideas anchored by flawless French execution” are hallmarks of the prix fixe menu, which at $45, Erace notes is “a helluva deal.” With a “pressed-veggie pastiche” terrine that was “tight and solid and clean,” anchovies “minced into silvery slivers over labneh ravioli” that were “brilliant, unexpected,” and Sommelier-selected wine pairings that were “spot-the-F-on,” Sbraga is “on its way to ranking among Philly’s best.” [Citypaper]

• At Tashan, Brian Freedman discovers that tandoori shrimp gets “shown real respect” and the goat cheese taftaan, with its “crown of crystallized-ginger-flecked raisin-pineapple murabba” is “full-throttle excitement.” Executive Chef Sylva Senat brings a “keen sense of creativity” to dishes like chicken vindaloo, which Freedman writes is the “hoary warhorse of Indian dining in Philadelphia.” At Tashan it’s “deconstructed and reassembled … in an altogether intriguing way.” The only misstep came in the form of “the saffron-morell cream sauce nearly obliterating the other flavors” in the Palak tikki. [PW]

• Eagle-eyed Scott Schroeder spotted Phyllis Stein-Novack, husband Edward and sister Sandy as they arrived at his and partner John Longacre’s just-opened American Sardine Bar. Naturally, he stepped in to help out the “harried waitress” with their soup orders. The Jewish chicken noodle soup was “was a triumph.” The beef of the Pittsburgh cheesesteak, that’s a steak with fries and cole slaw piled on top, was “overly seasoned,” as were the overly seasoned. The beer-battered fried onion rings, she wrote, are a must order and “about the best you can get.” The boursin cheese that topped the pork sandwich that Edward ordered was “a little quirky” and the pork was “too salty.” Still, all told, it was worthy of “two tips of the toque.” [South Philly Review]

Sbraga Was ‘Brilliant’ and ‘Unexpected’; Tashan Serves