Sunday, May 24, 2015

Craig LaBan

Email claban@phillynews.com   Follow on Twitter

I joined the Inquirer as its restaurant critic in 1998, after a stint covering the food beat for the Times-Picayune in New Orleans. Having eaten about 500 restaurant meals a year here ever since, I never cease to be amazed by the diversity and sophistication of Philadelphia's kitchens. To travel from its many authentic ethnic neighborhoods to the gastronomic temples of Walnut Street to its beery gastropubs, cozy BYOBs and multitude of greasy-but-great steak joints, is to know this town delivers satisfaction at every level of the food chain. Including online dish.

Live chat: Join Craig at 2 p.m. on Tuesdays in the chatroom.

Book: The Philadelphia Inquirer Restaurant Guide is available through our online store.

4 Bells: According to Craig, the best restaurants in the Philadelphia area.

 
There is plenty of velvet art on the walls in the funky new Franky Bradley's. But the liquid art in my cocktail glass, the Velvet Goldmine, is a variation on a French 75 inspired by a portrait of David Bowie that was actually bedazzled for owner Mark Bee'
It's worth the detour if finding an off-the-grid hideaway bar with antler-framed dining nooks and an upstairs nightclub and a surprisingly ambitious menu is your kind of fun.
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