Saturday, August 23, 2014
Inquirer Daily News
Sbraga
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Address:
440 S. Broad St.
Philadelphia , PA 19102
215-735-1913
Neighborhood: Center City
Parking: Valet at Symphony House.
Cuisine type: American
Meals Served: Dinner - Mon., Tue., Wed., Thu., Fri., Sat.
Style: Top Chef champ Kevin Sbraga makes his much-awaited debut as a real life restaurateur on South Broad in an open kitchen framed by salvaged planks and stainless steel, where fans watch the celeb chef and his bearded crew create ambitious $45 tasting menus. The New American plates are TV gorgeous, ranging from foie gras soup to fancy meat loaf, but often lacked finesse on the fork to reach their potential. The exceedingly slow, occasionally confused, and cloyingly overenthusiastic service, though, is the weakest link holding this promising new venture back. Prix fixe in dining room only, $45 for four courses and $110 for 10 courses; a la carte bar menu entrées, $13-$22.
Specialties: Eggplant terrine; foie gras soup; truffled risotto; Arctic char; black cod; fish & chips; lobster tail with Diplomat sauce; meat loaf; lamb chop; duck with turnips; cobia with dashi (chef's tasting); strudel; hot chocolate.
Alcohol: There is a small but well-chosen list of relatively affordable wines (most around $55 or less a bottle and $12 a glass) intended to pair with the tasting menus, with food-friendly choices such as tart Standing Stone Riesling and aromatic Falanghina, mellow Heba Sangiovese, and a solid Rhone from Chateau du Trignon. The more expensive Burgundies were not worth the $20 pours. The bar offers some crisp contemporary cocktails and eight good craft beers.
Weekend noise: The lively room buzzes at a noisy but still barely talkable 93 decibels. (Ideal is 75 decibels or less.)
Hours: Dinner Monday through Thursday, 5 to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, until 11 p.m. Closed Sundays.
Reservations: Recommended
Prices: $$$