Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Gayle


Wade’s Take:

I didn’t expect to like Gayle. I thought it was going to be another quaint Philly buzz spot, with an over-attentive yet snob-erific staff. This is what I was told to expect, and I am happy that I was quite wrong. The staff was warm and conversational. The room was small and comfortable. The meal was exceptional.

Eli Collins – bless you for existing. This drink unique to Gayle was uber refreshing. Designed by Gayle staffer Eli Collins, it is fittingly based on a Tom Collins, but replaces the lemon and sugar found in a TC with cucumber and a lemongrass simple syrup. At first sip, thoughts of sushi danced in my head. The flavors were reminiscent of a cucumber roll initially, but as I got further into my drink it tasted simply refreshing. Healthy and spiked – I may start skipping coffee in the morning and replace it with an Eli Collins.

My entrée was the skate, liver and onions. Notice the comma after skate. I initially thought the dish was skate liver, and was intrigued. Lucky for me, there is punctuation behind skate, otherwise this dish would have been quite miniscule.

The skate was great. The liver delivered. It was a great pairing. The liver was a bit rare, which made it soft and flavorful. It wasn’t the tough, well-done (to kill the bovine spongiform encephalopathy) Pennsylvania Dutch liver I’m used to. The onions were perfect on the side, light and aromatic.

Dessert was chocolate donuts, unfortunately it’s not typically on the menu. It came with a pot de crème, also known in certain circles as a pot de awesome. I couldn’t get over this donut. It was a god among insects.

I’m interested to see what my fellow PF Bloggers say. I didn’t hear them raving too much about their entrees during the meal. But then again, I was too busy raving about my lunch date with Mademoiselle Margaret Kuo to hear them if they were talking about their plates.

Three donuts out of four.

Post script – The morning after, I awoke with a tremendous craving for donuts like those I’d indulged in the night before. I walked to Wawa in desperate hope to meet my ravenous desire for any hint of the prior eve’s flavor, and found none of it. Donut smashed all over my face in my hurry to indulge, I stood in the aisle of the store with a sad face and wept inside.

Post post script – Our media maven Jess is drafting a press release about our visit to Osteria later this month, we are that excited. Honestly, I think we expect trumpets to blare as we arrive. Hopes are high for a good meal… probably too high.



Dave's Take:

Without question, the best Mako I have ever had. Perfectly cooked. Juicy inside with a slight crisp to the outside. Not overseasoned and accompanied by very tasty yellow watermelon slices and thinly sliced yellow tomatoes then topped with little lightly breaded tempura potato wedges. Really, really good. To start, I had the White Asparagus soup with Almond Semi Fredo. The chilled soup was very refreshing but a bit bitter on its own. When you tasted it with the almond semi fredo (like almond sorbet) it had a really nice balance.

The staff were friendly, the place is as cute and comfortable as any of the top BYO's in the city (formerly Azafran), but here, they pour the booze. The wine list was small but had a nice range and good selection. They also had a nice selection of specialty cocktails that, thank god, were refreshing on a summer day and not the over-sugared crap most places try to push on you. Think a muttled cucumber and lemongrass collins take-off. Almost tasted healthy….hmmmm

A little pricey but worth it for an occasional comfortable celebration. Certainly a stark contrast from the overdone high-budget Rae but luckily the food is just as creative. Besides the awesome wine-paring dinners at Rae, I'm going to Gayle when I'm looking to experience Daniel Stern's awesome dishes.

So close to the perfect 4 out for 4 but due to the price/value, I'm going to have to settle on 3.5 of out of 4.

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