It is indeed, fitting, that I spent the first weekend in April celebrating my brother’s 23rd birthday in where else,but the City of Brotherly Love.
Having spent four years at
But before nostalgia and mental trappings of yesteryear render me completely off topic, I must focus my efforts on my most recent foray into Philly food. Five years later, and a lifetime ago from my shirt-sniffing, long-haired Lehigh Days, I have returned to this city older, wiser, and of course, more laundered. I have returned as The Ubereater to tell my story…
Our journey began at pod, located in the heart of UPENN’s buzzing campus in West Philly. This hyper-themed Asian bistro belongs to the renowned Philly-based Starr Restaurant Group, for whom my brother Ed is employed as a budding chef. Pulsating beats are a proper backdrop for this trendy mixture of comely coeds and wizened older couples mingling about a vast space pimped out with neon pink lighting and white mod furnishings. Needless to say (then why am I saying it?), this place is a far cry from the dingy basement bar serving $2 pitchers and baskets of popcorn that I was accustomed to in my collegiate days.
Food-wise, the menu was not nearly as hypnotizing as the décor, offering a fairly standard selection of classic Asian eats. The Crab Cake Spring rolls (below left) were a delicate package of fresh lump crab meat and fresh vegetables, wrapped neatly in quick-fried goodness that was not at all oily. Additionally, on the recommendation of little bro, we took aim at the Calamari Salad (below right), which combined ever-so-slightly battered flash-fried calamari and mixed greens in a zesty lemongrass vinaigrette. Light and colorful, I would definitely order this again. In the end, my pad thai (below center) was a straightforward conclusion to the meal, while Meghan’s wasabi-crusted pork may have been a bit heavy on the wasabi.
Ambiance: B (typical over the top décor from Starr Group, definitely sure of itself, not my scene)
Service: B (could’ve been a bit tighter at times – long breaks between courses)
In a thought: “Solid Asian eats that, if anything, are a bit overshadowed by the surrounding noise. Or maybe I’m just old.”
The following day, saddled with a nasty craving for a cheesesteak, and eager to give somebody else a chance, we made our way to Campo’s. Quietly minding its own business in Philly’s vibrant
Ambiance: B (nothing spectacular, if anything, a bit cramped, but so what)
Service: N/A (no table service, the food took about 10 mins, a bit longer than the 10 second wait time at Pat’s and Geno’s)
In Short: “Despite stellar versions of Philly classics, I’m not sure long-time Pat’s/Geno’s/Tony Luke’s fans will be converting anytime soon.”
Before catching the train back to