Tuesday, June 2, 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.

 
It was no doubt a moment of earnest man-to-produce dialogue a few years ago when Rich Landau beheld a box of beautiful Lancaster baby leeks, and spoke to them directly with this vow: "Hey vegetables, I am not going to put barbecue sauce on you anymore."
The "wilderness phase" of Joseph Scarpone's career took a bit longer than expected. But if ever there was a bright little dumpling to lead the way to the end of that path, the ethereal ricotta gnocchi he serves at Ulivo - glowing bright in a halo of truffle butter - are as powerful a beacon as any. They're so delicate, these soft puffs o
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