We went to the restaurant of Marc Vetri in Philadelphia, simply called Vetri, last year. Since then, I kept dreaming about it! It is a fantastic place! Although pricey, it is worth it considering the overall experience: not only the food, but also the plating and the service that were great! So, we decided to go back to celebrate our Wedding Anniversary.
Let start with the restaurant itself: it is a townhouse that has been transformed into a restaurant. So, it has some warmth in it that gives the impression you are dining at a friend (except when they bring the check). We only went there in the evening and each time, they dimmed the light, giving an intimate atmosphere to the experience. Unfortunately, it did not help for my photos that are quite dark as I refuse to use the flash (maybe I should revisit that one...). There are not that many tables, so make sure you reserve before going, especially around the Holidays!
On the week end, they only serve the tasting menu (6 courses). It is composed of meat, fish and vegetarian dishes. You either choose what you would like to eat or you let the Chef decide for you. Of course, you can mention anything you do not like at all from the menu or communicate any allergy you may have.
We decided to go with letting the Chef pick for us (except that we asked specifically for the sweet onion crepe and the almond tortellini)!
Before we ordered, they offered us some Prosecco (they did that last year) and brought us a tasting plate with some salumi and foie gras toasts that were delicious and perfect to open the appetite.
They also brought some veggies with a delicious balsamic vinegar reduction.
The last thing they brought before the dishes started to arrive was an amazing bread with olives (focaccia and semolina).
Now that we were in appetite, we started the plat de resistance! We started off with the salads: Jodi got the artichoke salad.
It was served with parmigiano reggiano and mache salad. It was very light and well seasoned. The sauce was simply made with lime, that added some freshness to the dish.
Then, we had the Dungeness crab salad with peaches and mache.
To my surprise, I loved it. I tried Dungeness crab in San Francisco few years ago and did not really liked it. The crab was perfectly cooked and the dish was light and fresh (again with a lime dressing, but also the peaches).
The next dish was the roasted squab with eggplant and cocoa vinaigrette.
It was very tasty and I thought that the eggplant complimented very well the squab. I did not really taste the cocoa vinaigrette though.
Then came the Sweet onion crepe with truffle fondue.
If you like caramelized onions, this is for you! We had a quick chat about this dish with the server and he told us that it takes more than 10 hours to caramelized the onions! Not sure I will try this at home! But the best part of the conversation was when he described the dish as a deconstruction of a French onion soup (onions = onions, crepe = croutons). I thought it was a perfect description for this amazing dish!
The next round of dishes was pasta.
Jodi got the Spinach gnocchi with brown butter.
What you do not want is a heavy gnocchi! These were light and although I am not a huge fan of spinach, I really enjoyed the dish. It was light and very tasty. The brown butter sauce was to die for!
Then came my long awaited Almond tortellini.
They are served with a truffle sauce incredibly good! This is the second dish to try if you go there! Imagine that all the pasta they serve are homemade; I can tell you that you can taste the difference! The tortellini were light and were melting in my mouth. You could definitely taste the almonds and the truffle sauce had this fantastic subtle taste.
The next pasta dishes were the Black pepper lamb sausage parpaddelle with pecorino cheese and the Chanterelle and corn doppio ravioli with scallion.
This was also outstanding! The lamb sausage reminded me of merguez that I talk about often on this blog. The paparddelle, that are large tagliatelle / fettuccinni, were also amazing! These homemade pasta rock! It was again light and the pasta were perfectly cooked.
The chanterelle and corn ravioli were outstanding too! In fact, they put next to each other a chanterelle ravioli and a corn ravioli. You can either taste them separately or together, giving to the dish a different dimension each time. Making the ravioli with chanterelle was a good choice as these mushrooms are phenomenal.
The last set of dishes before dessert were Polenta and zucchini flower beignets, and Maialino with zolfini beans and pickled asparagus.
The polenta and zucchini flower beignets was my least favorite dish. I did not think that all the elements worked together and it was a bit bland.
Maialino is pork meat. It was very tender with a crispy skin. The beans were a bit crunchy and the pickled asparagus surprisingly delicious. The elements of the dish worked perfectly together.
So that was it for the entrees. Then came the time for dessert. Or should I say pre-dessert! Yes, you read correctly: before eating our desserts, they brought us some ice cream and cookies!
The ice cream was a cherry sorbetto made with goose berries. The way they make it is by crushing the cherries and then make a sorbet. It had a clean taste and was perfect to freshen our palates.
They had brownies, shortbread...Hard to resist before dessert, that came few minutes later:
Jodi got the Raspberry clafoutis (a baked French dessert of usually black cherries arranged in a buttered dish and covered with a thick flan-like batter). I liked it, although I would consider that it was more an interpretation of a clafoutis than a traditional one.
I got the pistachio flan with white chocolate gelato.
That was an amazing dessert! I loved it. A bit warm, it had this buttery taste that was to die for and was not too sweet! Loved it! Eating the flan with the gelato was divine!
That was a lot of food! When you see the quantities, you would think that you would be hungry, but trust me: the walk back to the hotel was necessary!
Vetri is a favorite and I would not be surprised that we will go back each time we go back to Philadelphia! It is the perfect example of Italian food brought to the next level! A must try!
Enjoy (I surely did)!