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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Killin it at Kanella

forks: 8.8
price: $$

1001 Spruce St.
Philadelphia, PA

For a while now I've been dying to try Kanella. First of all, I LOVE any type of Mediterranean food and when I heard that this quaint little restaurant was serving up authentic and delicious Greek dishes, well I had to go. Second, I remembered seeing Kanella featured on the Salty Goodness episode of "Best Thing I Ever Ate" and since I will some day be featured on that show, I felt that it was my duty to try the spot where Ryan D'agostino claimed he had the best "salty goodness." Well, last week the opportunity for brunch arose, and I suggested we give the spot a shot. My group was in full support and we headed downtown to check Kanella out. It was a b-e-a-utiful day out, sun shining, literally summer weather, and when I saw the adorable outdoor seating, I knew we'd enjoy our food outside. The restaurant, in fashion with it's Greek theme, boasted a blue and white striped awning, little cafe tables outside, and thick honey wood tables on the inside.

The brunch menu had me salivating as soon as it was placed in front of me, so many options from egg dishes to lamb and chicken kabobs and too little self control. To start, we ordered the mixed Kanella plate; a plate of classic Greek staples like stuffed grape leaves, tzatziki dip, olives, tabouli, a tomato salad, falafel balls, tahini, fried eggplant, and some pita, duh. The presentation was great as the plate was vibrant and offered a great assortment of tastings. The grape leaves totally stood out. They had great texture, and the rice stuffing within them had raisins that added a sweet and welcomed contrast to the saltiness of the leaves. The fried eggplant, was, well, fried eggplant. The tabouli and tomato salads were fresh and delicious, and perfectly seasoned. Falafels were averages but the tztatziki was thick and creamy and had a strong cucumber flavor rather then an overwhelming garlicky one, which is ALWAYS appreciated.

For a main course, three out of my four fellow diners, Sarah, Ari, and Stephanie, ordered the Shaksouka. This was a really hard battle for me, because at first, it was what I wanted. But when I heard the three others ordering it, I knew I couldn't do so as well and jumped ship off the Shaksouka ship. After I jumped ship and was floundering in the ocean, my over-eager waiter suggested I try the Cyprus Breakfast plate, the dish featured on "The Best Thing I Ever Ate." I didn't even have to read the description, that last comment sold me. Embarrassing I'm that big of a fan. The food came out rather quickly and was, once again, beautifully presented. The Shaksouka, composed of two eggs poached in a cumin scented tomato and paper stew with a side of grilled bread, was AWESOME. It was basically poached eggs in tomato sauce. The eggs were perfectly poached and the sauce was divine. It had a complex flavor that went beyond your classic tomato sauce and when scooped onto the grilled bread was a total winner. The cumin was evident, the tomatoes were rich and soft, and it all came together perfectly. I'd drink it like soup if given the chance.

 When the Cyprus Breakfast arrived in front of me, I was content with my jump-shaksouka-ship decision. But when I tried it, I was MORE then content, ecstatic, and can now totally see why it got the salty goodness title it so deserves. The dish was made up of two eggs (yolks runny) fried in olive oil, halloumi, lounza, and bread. Greek Lesson: Halloumi is a salty Greek cheese and Lounza is basically Canadian bacon.The olive oil gave the eggs an intense flavor and a crispy edge. The halloumi, oh the halloumi. It was fried and had a crispy outside and was SO delicious and salty and when eaten with a bite of runny egg and the lounza was a divine combination. The lounza was thick, salty, and so satisfying. Also, the description I said above just said bread. But that doesn't do justice because the bread was a multigrain roll that was rustic and went stunningly with the rest of the dish. A little salad of kalamata olives, tomatoes, and cucumbers gave the dish the light and tangy note it needed to balance t. It was certainly a great representation of salty goodness.

 SO, I loved Kanella. The service was okay, the food was awesome, and the outdoor seating (while the table was unstable) was perfect for the beautiful day. I cannot wait to go back to try the rest of what Kanella has to offer.
Steph liked it too.

its all Greek to me

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