Monday, October 08, 2007

Ansill


Wade's Take:

This is a test of Ansill’s imprint on my foodie brain cells. We ate there weeks ago, and I’m only sitting down to write my review now. If it made an impression, I’ll have good notes below. If it didn’t, you’ll see a whole lot of white space. So here goes…

Ansill is about tapas. We seem to be in a pattern of tapas – although statistically it feels like every one in three joints in Philly is a tapas place. Odds are if you are dining in Philly, you have a small plate in front of you. This is sort of ironic, for a city known for its fat-a-tat-tat portions.

One of my life mottos is “Nothing can go wrong when there are capers involved.” This proved true when I ordered the bone marrow salad with capers. The bone marrow came out in three lumps, which I spread on a pressed, deeply buttered bread. I’ve never smeared anything quite so good.

Second up to the table was an order of large gulf shrimp and roe served alongside two herb butters. This was my most conservative order of the night, but it still hit the mark. The two butters were unique and complemented each other well. One was herbed with basil and thyme. The other was blended with roe and saffron.

My final entrée order was crispy lamb tongue with mint and chick peas. I have to admit, I ordered this as a sort of Fear Factor element to dinner. It demonstrated good taste and texture, however. It was done just right (it can be easy to over-cook tongue and make it rubbery), and the mint salad that flanked it was a light and zestful pairing.

Of the dishes my partners ordered: The scallops were the antithesis of chewy and satisfied with their zing. Dave’s charcuterie plate offered much to enjoy, from pickles to bread and spreads. Jess’ brussel sprouts were heavily flavored with strong smoky tones from apple-smoked bacon.

Dessert was a chocolate ganache that was dense but good. It was too rich to eat by myself and absolutely needed to go down with a coffee or cappucinno. We also tried a violet ice cream. Yes, it did taste a little like soap, but this made it even more invigorating.

The chef was on-hand all night at the bar, drinking, telling us tidbits about our food and turning up his alt-rock iTunes mix on the stereo to near deafening levels.

I guess I remember more than I expected. That’s a good sign for Ansill.

3 out of 4 drunkard chefs.

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