The Other Critics

Two Takes on Marc Vetri’s Alla Spina; Rex 1516 Gives the American South a ‘Strong Nod’

• At Marc Vetri’s Alla Spina, the pig pot pie put Adam Erace on the ropes. But on follow up visits, tweaks to the Italian gastropub’s menu took the fare from “klutzy, deep-fried grope at fatty-chic” to a spread that’s “executed with same sharpness and finesse you’d expect from Vetri, Osteria and Amis.” The guinea hen Bolognese and mozzerella curd-laden poutine, he writes, “would make even the most traditional Quebec lumberjack’s knees buckle,” and the addition of rendered beef fat to the fryolater gives the fries a “satisfying meatiness.” [CP]

• Leah Blewett develops a man-sized hunger for pig tails after her visit to Alla Spina. Pickles, whole roasted pigs’ heads and puff pastry-topped pig pot pie she says are all “crave-able” plates. Of the beef fat fries, she writes, they “evoke the subtlest whisper of a perfect burger.” [PW]

• At Rex 1516, Phyllis Stein-Novack sips a Bombay Sapphire martini while perusing the menu’s “strong nod to the American South.” “You must not miss this dish,” she opines after starting things out with a crawfish pot pie. The elbow macaroni in the Gruyère, Fontina and Swiss cheese-laden mac and cheese was was al dente, “as it needed be,” and the crispy Serrano ham topping was “genius.” A ham hock reduction “added a marvelous flavor” to an “immaculately fresh” center-cut filet of salmon. An overcooked pork loin proved to be the meal’s only “disappointing dish.” [South Philly Review]

Two Takes on Marc Vetri’s Alla Spina; Rex 1516 Gives the American South a