Thursday, December 18, 2014

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.

You can hear the country crickets singing from the gravel parking lot behind the Pass, the old clapboard general store-turned-bistro in Rosemont, N.J., where Matt Ridgway is making his kitchen comeback three courses at a time.
Video: Chef Matthew Ridgway : The Pass Restaurant
Review: Three bells for Noord Eetcafe
Review: Two bells for Jerry's Bar
Nothing says "Wake up, weekend!" quite like the vodka-veggie assist from a serious Bloody Mary. Jerry's Bar serves its rendition - the Bloody Jerry – with signature style.

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