Where to Go Next: Philadelphia | March 2005
Striped Bass After long resisting the urge to launch new ventures, chef Alfred Portale has undertaken his first restaurant beyond Manhattan's Gotham Bar and Grill. Now overseeing the kitchen at Striped Bass, the seafood palace recently acquired by the ubiquitous restaurateur Stephen Starr, Portale is allowing some meat onto the formerly seafood-only menu, with dishes like yellowfin tuna with braised short ribs, and an excellent spring-garlic soup with roasted frog's legs. To his credit, Portale seems to be taking the job seriously and spending a fair amount of time here, not just lending his name. DETAILS 1500 Walnut St.; 215-732-4444.
Tria The name refers, somewhat pretentiously, to the "fermentation trio" of wine, beer and cheese, which form the bulk of Tria's menu. In addition to more than 30 wines by the glass, there's an eclectic selection of beers (like a wheat beer from Maine), excellent cheeses (a five-year-old Gouda; a smoky Irish blue) and great bruschetta. This is basically a glorified wine bar, but in Philadelphia, that makes it unique. DETAILS 123 S. 18th St.; 215-972-8742.
Lolita At this always-packed BYOB at the lively intersection of 13th and Sansom, Marcie Turney, formerly of Audrey Claire, serves Mexi-fusion dishes like lamb loin with hazelnut-huitlacoche stuffing. Across the street are two other worthwhile stops: Open House, a chic home store co-owned by Turney, and Capogiro Gelato Artisans, which offers daring flavors like a cilantro-and-lime mix. DETAILS Lolita, 106 S. 13th St.; 215-546-7100. Open House, 107 S. 13th St.; 215-922-1415. Capogiro, 119 S. 13th St; 215-351-0900.
Farmicia Once you get past the goofy apothecary theme (think dishes offered in small or large "doses"), the food is impossible to resist. The duck-leg sandwich and pork chop stuffed with chanterelles are just two of the delicious, rustic creations from ex-White Dog Cafe chef Kevin Klause and Metropolitan Bakery owners James Barrett and Wendy Smith Born. DETAILS 15 S. 3rd St.; 215-627-6274.
Marigold Kitchen At this ambitious BYOB, chef Steve Cook serves gutsy, refined disheslike coffee-braised lamb with chestnut pureein a pale-avocado-hued space. DETAILS 501 S. 45th St.; 215-222-3699.
Other news: Georges Perrier has reinvented himself with Georges', and Dominique Filoni, an F&W Best New Chef 2004, has gone solo with Bianca.