Tuesday, September 2, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

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.

Belgian lambic is one of the world's ultimate acquired tastes. Not those intensely sweetened, fruit-flavored Lindemans beers. I'm talking about the traditionally unsweetened ales spontaneously fermented with wild yeasts and aged for years in oak barrels, that emerge as equal parts pucker, fruit and barnyard musk, a combination that requires most first-timers to seriously recalibrate the tastebuds.
Paul Martin would rather his menu at Strangelove's not be considered Catahoula's Part 2. The impulse to make the comparison with his tenure at the Queen Village bistro with Louisiana flavors is natural. Especially considering that some of the best dishes at this new gastropub in Washington Square West reflect an affinity for the chef's Lafayette roots.
Video: Strangelove's
Gallery: Strangelove's
Review: Two bells for Pennsylvania 6

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