Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Rae

Wade’s Take:

I don’t know what to think about Rae. It’s a schizophrenic place in a bustling, city setting. The food was as good as I expected, but I never felt comfortable inside its high-ceilinged, too new atmosphere.

It’s odd to be in the “best restaurant in Philadelphia” and hear 80’s music at the bar, and to have your dining companions be people strapped with luggage waiting for the Keystone train to Harrisburg. With the prices and the commuter patrons from across the northeast corridor, I felt as if I should have been dining with some small-talking, booze-loving business partners and expensing the whole deal on my padded corporate expense account. Alas, I have no padded corporate expense account, and my friends the fellow Philly Food Bloggers make no small-talk (thank god), but do love booze (from Thursday – Sundays only).

It wasn’t comfortable inside of Rae. I felt like a sniper could pick me off at any moment from one of the surrounding walkways, and the table was crowded. I hate crowded tables. It all truly made me feel that I was at the airport, waiting for a flight, not at Philly’s next great restaurant. Now that I’ve established that I’m a whiny prick, I’ll get to the real important part, the food.

The onion soup set my hopes high. The soup was textured with carmelized onions and a deep, hearty broth. It was good on its own, but amazing with its plate-side friends. Served with the onion soup were parmesan crisps and a rich onion fondue. Delectable. Had I not been in the company of my classy, sophisticated fellow PF Bloggers, I would have considered lifting the fondue vessel high above my head and letting its hot cheesified contents pour straight down my gullet.

For my entrée I ordered a beef tenderloin with braised short rib and marrow ravioli. I made a mistake by eating the small braised short rib (that was an accompaniment only) first. It set my taste buds dancing. The meat crumbled underneath my fork. A softer meat I have yet to know. Digging into the tenderloin afterwards was a disappointment, compared to the short rib’s success. The frenchie-french flavors in the reduction were done perfectly, but my meat was a cool lump of normality. The marrow ravioli sounds much cooler than it actually is in reality (although the thought of eating bovine stem cells made for a pleasant [albeit untrue] feeling of immune system enhancement).

The white chocolate mousse? Not my favorite dessert – but I am a victim of advertising. I see the word chocolate (white or not) and I still expected some hints of brown mocha on my mousse, or perhaps some flecks of dark cacao. What came out from the kitchen was a sweeter, albino version of my expectations. Did I still eat it all? Absolutely.

Did I mention expensive? I dropped a lot. Much more than usual. And then $22 to park in the Cira Center? Pshaw. Next month the PF Bloggers might have to eat at a diner to make up for lost cash. Maybe there will be real chocolate there.

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