Foie and Freedom: Philly’s 17 Best Foie Gras Dishes
The seared foie gras at Matyson.

Back in 2008 when a ragtag crew of animal-rights activists badgered Philly’s chefs and restaurateurs at their places of business and at their homes, only a few restaurants actually served the decadent delicacy. Now, with that group essentially run out of town, and a proposed measure to ban the highly coveted fattened goose liver literally laughed out of City Hall, there are scores of restaurants throughout the city that proudly serve it in an ever-increasing variety of imaginative ways. But not everyone has it so well: That’s why we’re standing in solidarity with our culinary counterparts in California who, on July 1, will lose their right to sell foie, perhaps once and for all. In support of chefs’ and restaurant-goers’ rights, we’re showcasing handful of some of what we believe are some of the city’s most stellar foie gras dishes. Click through, check them out, and leave a comment to tells us which ones you think are the best.

And when you’re done devouring the slideshow here in Philly, head to Grub’s San Francisco and Los Angeles editions to see which dishes they’ll soon be without. And when you’re done with all that (remember: foie is about excess), make sure to check out the foie offerings in New York, Boston, and Chicago, too.

The Corner 102 South 13th Street; 215-735-7500; $14 The Corner’s chef, John Taus, puts a foie fabulous spin on Philly’s humble pork mush with this dish. Housemade scrapple is anointed with a seared lobe of foie gras, and topped with a fried quail egg and maple syrup. Photo: Photographer: Ryan Lavine/Copyright:2011
Meritage 500 South 20th Street; 215-985-1922; $8 When she’s not focused on crafting Korean short rib hot dogs, or tweaking her grandmother’s authentic Pennsylvania Dutch recipes, Meritage chef Anne Coll tasks herself with putting seasonally appropriate fixes on her popular menu items. For spring these housemade raviolis served with herbs and black truffle butter get an upgrade from the addition of fiddlehead ferns and oyster mushrooms. Photo: Photographer: Ryan Lavine/Copyright:2011
Bistrot La Minette 623 South Sixth Street; 215-925-8000; $17 Bistrot La Minette chef-owner Peter Woolsey takes a tradtional appraoch with this foie gras dish that graces his menu’s first course selections. This heavenly slice of terrine is spiked with vanilla and cognac, and is served alongside brioche, dried fig comote, and salad.  Photo: Photographer: Ryan Lavine/Copyright:2011
Bibou 1009 South Eighth Street; 215-965-8290; $18 Bibou’s chef-owner, Pierre Calmels, balances the traditonal with the contemporary with this doubleshot of foie. The dish pairs sauteed foie gras with apricot, and red wine duck sauce with a foie gras and apricot custard. Photo: Photographer: Ryan Lavine/Copyright:2011
Stateside 1536 East Passyunk Avenue; 215-551-2500; $11 Foie gras whipped with seasonal ingredients and served in a tiny mason jar has been a crowd pleasing menu staple at Stateside since the restaurant opened last fall. For spring, Chef George Sabatino has created a foie gras and chicken liver mousse that’s topped with a rhubarb gelée. Photo: Photographer: Ryan Lavine/Copyright:2011
Jamonera 105 South 13th Street; 215-922-6061; $13   At Marcie Turney’s and Valarie Safran’s “sexy older sister of Barbuzzo,” the newly revised menu features this fetching foie number. It’s composed of seared foie gras, amontillado-spiked French toast, roasted grapes and rhubarb smoked marconas.     Photo: Photographer: Ryan Lavine/Copyright:2011
Ela 627 South Third Street; 267-687-8512; $14   In addition to the foie gras specials he’s running for “Foie Fridays,” the weekly expression of solidarity with California chefs that he’s spearheading, Ela chef-owner Jason Cichonski has been serving different variations of this dish since opening last fall. This current iteration pairs the whipped foie with gooseberry, lovage, celery, and raisin bread. Photo: Photographer: Ryan Lavine/Copyright:2011
Vetri 1312 Spruce Street; 215-732-3478; part of Vetri’s $135, multi-course prix fixe menu.   This stunningly decadent dish is regularly featured on the tasting menus at Marc Vetri’s self-titled flgship. Whole pieces of foie are carefully tucked insdie of the body cavity of quails, which are then tied up and deep fat-fried. It’s then plated with heirloom white beans, brown butter and seasonal greens. Photo: Photographer: Ryan Lavine/Copyright:2011
Sbraga 440 South Broad Street; 215-735-1913; part of a $49 four-course prix fixe Critics and diners alike have gushed over this sumptuous creation from Top Chef champion, Kevin Sbraga. Foie gras serves as a base for the broth, which is poured tableside over a bolw of rose petal relish. Photo: Photographer: Ryan Lavine/Copyright:2011
Amada 217 Chestnut Street; 215-625-2450; $13 At the Andalusian tapas bar that launched his career into orbit, Iron Chef Jose Garces serves a decadent riff on this tradtional Mexican meatball dish. Ground lamb meatballs and shaved Manchego cheese are served in a rich and creamy foie gras sauce. Photo: Photographer: Ryan Lavine/Copyright:2011
a. kitchen 135 South 18th Street; 215-825-7030; $17 Chef Bryan Sikora, formerly of Talula’s Table, puts a playful and most decadent spin of one of Philly’s newfound favorites, fried chicken. For his rendition, Sikora layers crispy fried pieces of chicken with foie gras, and plates it all with root vegetables and cole slaw. Photo: Photographer: Ryan Lavine/Copyright:2011
Mémé 2201 Spruce Street; 215-735-4900; $13 Mémé’s David Katz, who heroically held his own while animal rights activists regularly staged protests outside of M Restaurant while he was chef there back in 2008, shows us that foie gras is perfect for breakfast. This dish, which he serves at brunch, tops sweet corn griddle cakes with shaved foie gras and maple butter. Photo: Photographer: Ryan Lavine/Copyright:2011
Rittenhouse Tavern 251 South 18th Street; 215-732-2253; $15 Newcomer Rittenhouse Tavern also shows us that foie gras is perfectly fit for breakfast time. Chef Nick Elmi piles a lobe of seared foie atop a short stack of buckwheat pancakes and dressses it all with Vermont maple syrup and chantilly. Photo: Photographer: Ryan Lavine/Copyright:2011
Misconduct Tavern 1511 Locust Street; 215-732-5797; $13 Misconduct Tavern will add a lobe of seared foie gras to just about anyhting on its menu. One of its most talked about dishes is this foie upgraded casserole of housemade mac and cheese, which is composed of macaroni, housemade fondue, mozzarella and fontina cheese. Photo: Photographer: Ryan Lavine/Copyright:2011
Village Whiskey 118 South 20th Street; 215-665-1088; $26 Appropriately titled, this signature item on Village Whiskey’s concise menu is truly the king of all burgers. Some will argue that Jose Garces kickstarted the Philly’s foie frenzy when he anointed his house-ground burger with a hunk of seared foie gras, maple bourbon glazed cipollini onions, Rogue bleu cheese, and applewood bacon. Photo: Photographer: Ryan Lavine/Copyright:2011
Matyson 37 South 19th Street; 215-564-2925; $16 Whether it’s for one of his themed tasting menus, or a dish for one of his Cheu Noodle pop-ups, Chef Ben Puchowitz is almost always working on incorporating foie gras into something he’s serving. This dish, which showcases a piece of seared foie set atop of banana bread French toast, hazelnut puree, Serrano ham, and a coffee-maple drizzle, is what’s always on his a la carte menu. Photo: Photographer: Ryan Lavine/Copyright:2011
South Philadelphia Taproom 1509 Mifflin Street; 215-271-7787; $12 South Philadelphia Taproom chef Scott Schroeder is not one for sidestepping controversy. His Twitter feed is proof enough of that. So, it’s no surprise that he was one of the first chefs to come forward in support of Philly’s Foie Fridays. At the Taproom he’s serving this sandwich, which places a piece of seared foie between layers of ham and cheese that’s toasted and topped with a fried quail egg. Photo: Photographer: Ryan Lavine/Copyright:2011
Foie and Freedom: Philly’s 17 Best Foie Gras Dishes