All seasons bring change. But for many people, no season brings changes that are more evocative than autumn's. The days are shorter. There’s a crisp bite in the air. Winter looms. It is a time of new beginnings, too—especially for those whose lives have ever revolved around an academic cycle (or watching football). Autumn is synonymous with the harvest. We set aside time to celebrate the fruits of our labor and explore the flavors of the year’s bounty. Autumn has a distinct feeling all its own. And the one symbol that captures that feeling, and uniquely represents the season of autumn, is the pumpkin.
You take on a certain risk naming your 28-seat BYOB after a symbol that is so closely associated with one particular season; some people, after all, aren’t always in the mood for autumn. Chef Ian Moroney does find ways to subtly work autumnal themes into many of his creations; however, he is not a slave to the season.
The Romaine salad ($7.75), our first appetizer, included figs and candied pecans, both of which are sweet, rich and flavorful Fall staples. The salad was topped with vinaigrette made from Cashel Blue Irish Farmhouse Cheese, a semi-soft blue cow’s milk cheese from Tipperary Ireland, giving the salad a slight touch of the comforting richness you seek out in the cooler months.
The second appetizer was the seared scallops, which were served floating on top of a mushroom fricassee and surrounded by a butternut squash emulsion ($9.75). The mushrooms had a deep, smokey flavor that made me nostalgic for an evening in front of a campfire.
The entrée I had was the pork two ways with a pear confit, fingerlings and cider sauce ($22). The larger piece of pork was the broiled loin, which was juicy, sweet and tender. The other was the braised belly, the part normally cut into bacon. This slightly darker meat was wrapped in an intimidating ribbon of fat. But the intimidation spilled away as it instantly liquefied in my mouth, stimulating parts of the brain where the caveman and the addict lurk in all of us.
For dessert, the pot de crème ($7.50)—a dessert I’m pleased to see is becoming ubiquitous in Center City. Pumpkin separates itself from the pack by adding milk chocolate and coffee. The milk chocolate gives it a smooth, silky texture some of the others may lack, and the coffee allows you to pretend you’re a grown-up while you're reliving the decadence of youth.
Pumpkins make their appearance only in the fall and are around only for a short time. But this particular Pumpkin is a reasonably priced treat you can enjoy any time of the year as many times as you like—assuming, of course, that you make reservations.
1713 South Street