Tuesday, April 21, 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.

My city kids had their fingers too tangled up in a steam-puffed balloon of puri bread at Bangles Indian Cuisine in Downingtown to offer a reply, their lips tingling from the heat of a channa stew. But I admit: Robotics is not yet among my family's many interests. The pursuit of great Indian food is more the kind of sport that inspires us to hour-plus road trips. When passing through North Jersey, a detour to Oak Tree Road in Iselin is a must.
Video: Bangles
Gallery: Bangles
Here is an excerpt from Craig LaBan's online chat: Reader: Went to Abe Fisher with family for a big celebration, had big plans to get the short rib family style. They were out. Huge letdown, but the rest of the dishes were very good, including the kasha varnishkes and pastrami egg shrimp fried rice. Meal overall was very tasty, but I felt let down with the short rib. I know Fednuts and Dizengoff run out daily, but wasn't expecting it from Abe Fisher.

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