The Other Critics

Rittenhouse Tavern Recasts Nick Elmi as ‘One of the City’s Top Young Chefs’; Margate’s Mango’s Is ‘Something Special’

• Perhaps one of the greatest restaurant-related tragedies of late was Nick Elmi getting stuck holding the bag during Le Bec Fin’s epic fall from grace earlier this year. Now the young chef is stationed at newcomer Rittenhouse Tavern, and “creating artful contemporary plates that are recasting him as one of the city’s top young chefs,” according to Inquirer critic Craig LaBan. Elmi’s crudo of local fluke cured in kombu “was one of the best bites of raw fish” he’s eaten in months. The house’s LaFrieda burger, he added, is “instantly one of the neighborhood’s best,” which is saying something, considering Rouge, Barclay Prime, Dandelion and Pub & Kitchen are all serving their own takes on the all-American classic in close proximity. Though the fried chicken proved a “down-home disappointment,” LaBan thoroughly endorses Elmi’s numerous terrines, which he writes “showed a craftsmanship that was superior to what I found at Le Bec.” [Inquirer]

• Of Margate’s Latino-flavored Mango’s, Adam Erace writes there’s “something special in this snug tangerine room.” The house sampler of appetizers, which put forth “a few of all the favorite finger-foods” is “a fine way to begin.” Coconut shrimp was “ a bit of a letdown,” but the “mild” tilapia, marinated in coconut milk and baked in banana leaves, fared better with its “waxy green foliage formed a pretty placement for the soft, fragrant white fish, served with a side of tasty coconut rice.” The “ethereal” mango mousse, a “sweet, floral and tangy” negates a trip next door to the Dairy Bar for ice cream. [Courier-Post]

Rittenhouse Tavern Recasts Nick Elmi as ‘One of the City’s Top Young