The Other Critics

Heirloom ‘Isn’t Perfect’; ‘Snappier Casings’ Make Hot Diggity Philly’s Top Dog

• Craig LaBan says Chestnut Hill’s Heirloom “isn’t perfect,” adding “specially for a place with entrees in the mid-20s.” Still he finds Chef Al Paris’ “melding snippets of Americana with in-the-moment inspirations” makes up for the restaurant’s “occasionally goofy manner and busy dishes.” The split-pea soup with Benton’s bacon and house-smoked chicken is “soulful,” while a “classic” crab cake served with a “tomatoey shrimp gumbo” is “simple-but-satisfying.” But “superfluous ingredients” doomed dishes like the medallions of Broken Arrow Ranch venison, and the “glob of cheap neon-red and black fish roe” plopped on top of the purloo. [Inquirer]

• Surely PW critic Brian Freedman put his life on the line this week, sampling 10 hot dogs from South Street’s Hot Diggity and Center City’s Underdogs. Though both venues serve worthy wieners, Hot Diggity prevails in six of the eight categories of criterium. Underdogs came through with a “Ditka-worthy” Chicago style dog, topped with dill pickle, relish, tomato, chopped onions and yellow mustard, but ultimately Hot Diggity’s “snappier casing” and “more thoroughly considered toppings” took the bragging rights to top dog. [PW]

• At Old City’s “tony chophouse” Reserve, Adam Erace encounters a “single blond thread” of hair in his “Signature Cut” tri-tip steak. Rather than comp the offending dish, he was compensated with free desserts. “weirdly damp” on the outside and “hard and dry on the inside,” the breadsticks made “Olive Garden’s… look like Bouchon Bakery’s.” A series of missteps from “muddy and metallic” chimichurri to burned potaoes and polenta bars disappointed. But the steaks were cooked “very nicely.” [CP]

Heirloom ‘Isn’t Perfect’; ‘Snappier Casings’ Make