The Other Critics

Sbraga Is ‘What Modern American Food Is Supposed to Be’; ‘Winning Dishes’ Highlight Dinner at McCrossen’s Tavern

• The offerings at Top Chef champ Kevin Sbraga’s restaurant are the epitome of “exactly what modern American food is supposed to be,” and after a few spoonfuls of the much hyped foie gras soup served there, Brian Freedman is “ready to buy into the concept whole-heartedly.” Though Sbraga’s take on shrimp cocktail “failed to inspire,” other dishes, like the Buffalo chicken “did haute-level justice—finally!—to one of the totemic preparations of the casual-American repertoire.” Onion-marinated Wagyu “justified its price,” and a chestnut strudel dessert was “out-of-this-world.” [PW]

• At McCrossen’s Tavern, Phyllis Stein-Novack gets a chest-full of the “fresh French culinary air” that chef Townsend Wentz has blowing through the time-honored watering hole. With a glass of Grüner Veltliner, she finds a “perfect marriage” for the “steaming hot choucroute garnie.” Brandade, “a marvel of whipped salt cod” and pork belly “so tender that it melted in [their] mouths,” were both “winning dishes.” Sister Sandy, the picky eater, found “a fine introduction to a different fin fish” with the pan-roasted striped bass. All told, the dinner was worthy of “three extraordinary tips of the toque.” [South Philly Review]

• Who orders “the Hawaiian” at a Mexican pizza place? Apparently, one of Philly Phoodie’s homies did at Point Breeze’s “part bodega, part pizza place” San Lucas Mexican Pizza. PP’s al pastor slice was lost in translation, but a taste of the Hawaiian was “mediocre at best.” The “floppy slice” was plagued by “cheese sliding all over the place,” and a “strange pile of sausage in the middle.” [Philly Phoodie]

Sbraga Is ‘What Modern American Food Is Supposed to Be’;