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Monday, April 30, 2012

The Dandelion

The Dandelion
forks: 7.8
price: $$$
DONT SKIP: fish & chips

124 S. 18th Street,
Philadelphia, PA

Besides myself, my friend Brette is the most foodie person I know, if not more. Well, actually we're different types of foodies, but regardless, she's the only person I can talk about anything edible with for hours and she won't ask me to shut up. Brette and I had a date and she suggested we try out Dandelion, Stephen Starr's English pub inspired restaurant. When we arrived I felt like I was in a fancy grandmother's home that doesn't feel like a home but feels like a museum. The entry room was dimly lit with a Victorian feel, as china plates and pottery lined the walls and a sturdy old fashioned fire place completed the room. Then the true English pub vibe kicked in as we headed upstairs to the bar room as beers were proudly on display on a rich mahogany bar that was a little too poorly lit. The menu was full of simple English pub food that sounded much better then anything I ate when I was in London. We were handed a bread basket and I was extremely excited about it because I knew the bread was freshly baked from Starr's neighboring famed restaurant Parc. This bread is to die for. The fluffiest crustiest doughiest bread on the planet. NOM.

To start, Brette and I ordered the Pickled Beetroot Jar: pickled red and golden beets served with olive tapenade, goats' cheese, and sourdough toast. The beets were delicious, pickled to perfection while still maintaing their naturally sweet and earthy taste. The goat cheese was creamy and tangy, and when smeared on the toast crisps and then topped with a beet made the perfect combination. The olive tapenade, however, was WAY too salty and potent. I kept trying it because I wanted to like it, but it was just beyond overpowering with saltiness.

I couldn't come to an English place that had Fish & Chips and not order it. Besides being one of my favorite dishes, I had heard great things about the Beer-Battered Fish & Chips at Dandelion and had to check it out for myself. Honestly, they surpassed the hype. The white fish used was cod and it was in the CRISPIEST crust I've ever tasted. It had that crackly crunch sound when you bit into it, yet a soft tenderness from the fish on the inside. Dipped in house made tartar sauce and sprinkled with lemon and malt vinegar, perfection. It was served with a side of "triple cooked chips" that were basically thick cut french fries. They were salty, well seasoned, and totally delicious, especially after I completely drowned them in malt vinegar and tartar sauce. Props to Stephen for nailin it.
 ***yes first name basis***

Brette took the lighter route, ordering the Mussels. Served in a white wine sauce with parsley and a piece of grilled bread, they were clean and delicate. The broth was tangy and lemony and truly brought out the natural beauty of the mussels. And when you finish the mussels that does not mean the dish is done. NO NO NO. It means its time to sop up the rest of the heavenly broth with that crusty grilled baguette. Mmmm.

Then dessert. We ordered the Chocolate Hot Pot, a warm chocolatey molten cake served with chocolate sauce and ginger ice cream. When it arrived we flooded it with the add-it-yourself chocolate sauce (I love when you can add as much chocolate as you want). The cake was rich and moist and super chocolatey. The ice cream on the other hand was a mess. Ginger ice cream sounded like a good idea in theory, but in practice the ginger just did not mix properly with the milkiness of the ice cream. Brette and I both agreed that it was just not a good combination, and a classic vanilla would have been much more appreciated to cut the richness of the chocolate.
MMmmmm (minus ice cream)

On the whole, the meal was very good, and I definitely would like to come back and try the Burger and the Sunday Roast.When you come, you can't skip the Fish & Chips, so don't. My complaints apart from the olive tapenade and the ginger ice cream was the lighting. Seriously, I like to be able to SEE what I'm eating and the person who I'm with, especially when its Brette.

I wish I was British

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