901 Christian St.
Philadelphia , PA 19147
Neighborhood: South Philadelphia
Parking: On street. Valet , Friday through Sunday, costs $5.
Related reviews: Monsú features the vibrant flavors of Sicily
Cuisine type: Italian
Meals Served: Brunch Dinner
Style: Chef Peter McAndrews (of Modo Mio fame) channels the vibrant flavors of Sicily in all its citrusy agrodolce and nutty exotic spice to update Southern Italian cooking in authentic ways South Phil-Italy hasn’t seen. His lively, cash-only revamp of the old Butcher Café is one of the zestiest openings this year, both rustic and modern without a shred of pretense. With more consistency in the kitchen and the dining room, this exciting new BYOB has potential to reach the next level by year’s end.
Specialties: Arancia; frog’s legs; tongue; fried scamorza; stuffed sardines; gnocchi with crab and pistachios; rigatoni puttanesca with tuna; lasagna; anatra (duck); lampuca (mahimahi); pork osso buco; mussels; goat “in the style of the horse”; whole branzino; San Giuseppe puffs (fried dough); almond panna cotta.
Alcohol: It's BYO. Think Sicilian or, at least, Southern Italian when selecting vino for dinner at Monsú. Great Sicilian wineries such as Planeta come to mind (known for chardonnay as well as nero d’avola, Sicily’s signature red grape), or Cusumano’s great value white, Insolia. From Campania, try a white Greco di Tufo from Mastroberardino or a Falanghina from Feudi di San Gregorio. To finish, a bottle of Sicilian CM grappa is a must (your neighbors are likely already drinking it).
Hours: Brunch Wednesday through Sunday, 11 to 2 p.m. Dinner Wednesday though Sunday, 5 to 10 p.m.