The Other Critics

Sardine Sandwiches Are ‘Perfect’ at American Sardine Bar; In Riva Falls Short of ‘Reaching Its Full Potential’

• Brian Freedman says the eponymous sandwich at American Sardine Bar, with its “salty and piquant mash of that still-unfortunately-maligned fish” and slices of hard boiled egg, is a “perfect” match for a pint of Fegley’s Brew Works Second Coming English pale ale. Brussels sprouts with oyster sauce and Thai chiles he likens to “a vegetal freebasing of umami” followed by the “the prickle of acid and heat from the chilies.” The “soggy equator of batter” in the onion rings, and the Pittsburgh cheesesteak’s “too-chewy beef” were a “few unexpected shortfalls.” [PW]

• “Minor miscalibrations,” like the missing sweetness in the pepperonata vasi’s stewed peppers and zeppole with the “structure of bubble gum,” Adam Erace writes keeps East Fall’s In Riva from “reaching its full potential.” The pizzas on the other hand are the restaurant’s “main attraction.” [Citypaper]

• At East Passyunk Ave.‘s Stateside, Phyllis Stein-Novack “fell in love” with a bartender-recommended Bullett Rye Manhattan, which she “nursed throughout dinner.” Chef George Sabatino’s pork liver terrine proved “most agreeable” with its “rich, nicely seasoned flavor and texture.” Perpetually picky eater sister Sandy, who’s been seriously stepping up her foodie cred in recent weeks, passed on the pork liver, but “adored” the salt-roasted beets. Edward’s cap steak was served “perfectly rare,” and the steamed Manila clams “married beautifully” the spiciness put forth by the housemade Andouille. [South Philly Review]

Sardine Sandwiches Are ‘Perfect’ at American Sardine Bar; In Riva