Philadelphia, PA - Philly Restaurant Week is exciting for anyone who is a lover of food or enjoys trying out new places to eat. For a set price at participating restaurants, $20 for lunch or $35 for dinner, you can indulge your gastronomic senses while choosing between three to five courses (depending on what the restaurant is offering) on a special menu. If you would like to join in on the fun for its last day this week, the website is: www.centercityphilla.org
I always make sure to go to a new restaurant during this week, and this time I choose to eat at Positano Coast by Aldo Lamberti¹ with a friend, so of course, we shared our meals.
Entering the building does not prepare you for what you will see and experience once inside. The restaurant is decorated with an upscale vibe, leaning towards an Italian coastal feel. As soon as you enter you see the hostess waiting to greet you, and to the left is the bar with ample seating. And there's even a swanky little waiting area that almost invites you to sit down and just chat with your friends; although there is no reason to have to wait. The service here is very prompt; there was no wait.
But that is not what brought me here. I've heard by word of mouth that the food is “to die for,” and I wanted to see for myself. So with their signature drink in hand, my friend and I sat down to a freshly baked serving of crispy Italian bread to start. Our next course was a shared plate of Fried Zucchini, with Arancini that practically melted in our mouths and a side of marinara sauce. I suggest saving some of the bread so you can dip it into the marinara because it's too good to leave it uneaten.
What we were served next was our choice; my friend had their Spinach Salad with raspberry vinaigrette, and we were both impressed with how fresh, creamy, and a little sweet that the goat cheese was, and the lightness of the vinaigrette. The dressing had great flavor and was subtle so it did not overwhelm the salad. And my second-course choice was the lobster ravioli in a brandy cream sauce; the sauce for this was equally subtle in its flavor. I personally would have liked to have stronger brandy notes in the cream sauce, however, the main part of this dish was packed with a nice portion of the lobster and vegetables inside the pasta. So overall this was a very good dish; the sauce was still delicious, creamy, and I thankfully had a small piece of bread left-over to dip into it.
For our main courses, my friend had ordered the Chicken Ripieno and I had ordered the house-made Tagliatelle pasta dish with their Rabbit Ragu. Both meals were delectable. The chicken was full of flavor, tender on the inside and full-flavored of fresh herbs and Panade² and the skin was crisp when you bit into it. The rabbit was equally tender; I could taste the tenderness you get with slow roasted meat. Then they used the au jus to make the sauce that the pasta and meat were en-robed in, along with fresh herbs and butternut squash. So with each bite, I tasted all the time and effort that went into making these dishes worth the wait.
My only complaint about the evening was that there were about 5 bites I took where I found bone still attached to the rabbit meat. Although this is not what is supposed to happen, it is also proof that the restaurant preps their dishes from the moment they buy their meat from a butcher all the way to after it is cooked and placed on your table. However, keeping with their timely service, the manager came out to my table to personally apologize to us and offered complimentary drinks on the house, which my friend and I both appreciated and accepted.
To end our meals, we were both given a plate of a delicate bite-sized chocolate mousse and an adorable creme-fresh fruit tart. The fruit tart had subtle vanilla notes in its custard and was topped with small pieces of pineapple, grape, raspberry, and strawberry. What both my friend and I enjoyed more though, was the Frangelico Chocolate Mousse. It practically melted in my mouth, and the chocolate layers and Frangelico layers mixed together well as they sat on top of a small layer of brownie that added texture to the bite. The brilliant combination of flavors in the mousse made me wish I had a larger piece to eat.
Having ended our meal and feeling satisfied and very full, my friend and I left and agreed we both want to come back. And despite the problem we encountered, my friend was impressed with the Rabbit that I introduced him to, and now wants to indulge in that again. Overall the food was delicious and the service was impeccably prompt and friendly. I would definitely recommend coming here with friends, for a date night, or to celebrate a special event with loved ones.
¹Positano Coast 212 Walnut St. 2nd Floor Philadelphia, PA 19106 (215)238-0499 www.positanocoast.net
²A panade is a starch-stock based mash that aides in keeping the meat moist and tender during braising, baking, or roasting.