The Other Critics

Ring-a-Ding-Ding: Three Bells for Il Pittore; Sky Cafe’s ‘Crispy, Crackly’ Fried Wontons are ‘the Best’

• Craig LaBan checks out Starr’s latest effort, Il Pittore, a Northern Italian concept that’s a result of his partnership with longtime menu development guru, Chris Painter. Housemade pastas are the “restaurant’s most exciting dishes,” except for the paccheri pasta tubes with seafood, whcih he writes “were boiled too long, and collapsed.” Other missteps include a “dry” swordfish steak and an “overcooked” 14-ounce rib eye. Still “rarely seen shapes and combinations” of pastas, an octopus that was “both tender and delicately crisped,” and a suckling pig whose “meat practically [melted] beneath its cracker-crisp skin,” summoned three bells. [Inquirer]

• In deep South Philly, Adam Erace scopes out Sky Cafe’s “flavorful food at ridiculous prices.” The fried wontons, with their “crispy, crackly shells hugging orbs of ground chili-and-garlic-spiced chicken (rather than pork, to accommodate the halal-observant),” are matter of factly “the best dumplings [he’s] had.” Add-ins, like shredded cucumbers, crushed peanuts and a fiery peanut sauce “bring the thrills” to an iceberg salad. Beef rendang was “delicious,” while the Medan-style coconut soup was “like chicken soup for the Indonesian soul.” [Courier-Post]

• Penn Appetit comes through with a report on the, literally just opened, Jamonera. Warm Medjool dates, stuffed with valdeon, wrapped in serrano ham, piquillo pepper dressing, marcona almonds. “made for a multi-layered yet harmoniously delicious bite,” while the papa frita, with its crispy skin potato, wood smoked garlic aioli, brava salt, and housemade sherry vinegar-hot sauce, was “extraordinary.” The pulpo y ensaladilla rusa proved to be “one of the clear favorites of the evening.” [Penn Appetit]

Ring-a-Ding-Ding: Three Bells for Il Pittore; Sky Cafe’s ‘Crispy,