Monday, July 6, 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.

 
Unlike its plan-ahead, big-investment dining room, Volvér's cocktail lounge is a haven for an intimate, spontaneous splurge.
There are 15 courses in the "performance" that is currently dinner at Volver, Jose Garces' jewel-box kitchen atelier in the Kimmel Center. And some of them are memorable, from the skewered takoyaki balls stuffed with salt cod among the opening snacks to a bowl of "milk & cereal" unlike anything you'd eat for breakfast.
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