Thursday, August 27, 2015

Craig LaBan

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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.

In recent years, I've become willing to travel an hour or more to sate my cravings for the giant dosas with coconut chutney, fragrant Hyderabadi biryani rice platters, and the sparky red Chicken 65 that can be found in the South Indian restaurants of Philadelphia's far western suburbs.
Video: Imli Indian Kitchen
Based on Chad Kubanoff's early resumé, the logical and conventional trajectory by now would have found him in some rarified fine-dining kitchen. Not making bánh mì hoagies at the casual counter-service cafe that is Same Same.
Video: Same Same

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