by Her Happy Balance on January 14, 2014

This past Saturday I had the opportunity to check out a new-to-me restaurant in Center City, Philadelphia called Sbraga. The owner, Kevin Sbraga, was the season 7 winner of Top Chef and he created a really unique four course prix fixe menu of dishes with modern American flare.

Sbraga Menu

I wanted to sit at the chef’s counter where you can watch the chefs cook in front of you, but unfortunately when we arrived all six of the counter seats were taken. We were seated at a regular table and told that when a counter spot opened up we could be moved if we liked. We had a show to catch after dinner, so we went with the flow and took the regular table. The waitstaff was very attentive and took our drink orders in a timely fashion. Sbraga has the option of doing a beverage pairing with each course for an additional $35 if you’d like, but we chose to forgo that option and instead I ordered a glass of Malbec. I nommed on a gruyere and truffle oil popover while waiting for my first course to arrive.

First course: Foie Gras Soup. Rose petal relish.

Foie Gras Soup The picture doesn’t make it look like anything special, but it really was a little piece of heaven in a bowl. The flavor was spot on. I enjoyed the slight ginger taste that I picked up and found myself dunking pieces of bread into the bowl to get up every last drop.

Second Course: Octopus. Harissa. Escabeche. Pea Leaves.

Octopus from Sbraga I’d never tried octopus in non-sushi form before and was pleasantly surprised at the texture – it wasn’t rubbery or too chewy. I loved the spicy escabeche sauce, and I think I detected quite a bit of cumin in the dish as well, maybe from the harissa? Cumin is one of my favorite spices so I was definitely on board with the flavors.

Third Course: Rigatoni. Lamb Sugo. Ricotta. JalapeΓ±o.

Sbraga Lamb Rigatoni This was delicious, savory and satisfying. I loved the hint of heat from the jalapeΓ±o paired with the cooling creaminess from the ricotta. Again, using the last bits of my popover bread to sop up any leftover sauce. Happy girl πŸ˜‰

Fourth Course: Brown Butter Cake. Rum. Fruit. Pecan.

Sbraga Brown Butter Cake I’m not typically a dessert person, but this finished off the meal with just the right amount of sweetness. The pecan ice cream was probably my favorite part. And I loved that the fruit in this dish was figs! Awesome. My fellow diner ordered the key lime pie and that was also ridiculously good.

Overall, I really loved my experience. The waitstaff was friendly, attentive and willing to offer up their opinions. I always love asking the servers what their favorite option on the menu is πŸ™‚ And between the second and third course we were asked if we would like to move to the chef’s counter to finish off the night. I jumped at the opportunity. Otherwise, the normal seating is a bit crowded, so if you can get a spot at the counter I suggest doing that. Reservations are definitely a must for weekend nights. And it was a bit noisy, but we were still able to carry on an audible conversation.

Sbraga Chef's Counter

As for portion sizes, they could have been a little bit bigger, but taking into account this is more of a fine dining experience I was happy with them. I actually left the restaurant feeling full…probably because I ate everything slowly to try and dissect the flavors and then drowned it all with some wine πŸ˜‰ I will definitely be going back.

Which sounds like it would be your favorite course?
Do you read reviews before going to restaurants or just wing it?
Who wants to come to Philly to go out to eat with me?
I’m looking for any and all excuses to go back.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Jessie January 14, 2014 at 6:12 am

I may be not be in the States @ the moment, but when Joshua and I visit come September, a bunch of us bloggers will be making our way to Philly. Please say you’ll join? πŸ™‚

Her Happy Balance January 14, 2014 at 10:01 am

Oh my goodness, yes, I would absolutely LOVE to join you!!! πŸ™‚ Please let me know any details as they are figured out or if I can help in the planning at all πŸ™‚

Erica @ For the Sake of Cake January 14, 2014 at 7:23 am

Everything about this looks delicious!!! The dessert would probably be my favorite–I have a major sweet tooth! You NEED to go to Blackfish in Conshohocken… best meal I’ve ever eaten!

Stacie @ Simply Southern Stacie January 14, 2014 at 9:46 am

I’m a major review person! I don’t go anywhere without reading the reviews first. That brown butter rum cake looks amazing! I will always pick dessert as my favorite course.

Chelsea @ A Fit LittleOne January 14, 2014 at 9:56 am

I never read reviews before going, I figure if I like it I’ll like it (regardless of someone else’s taste buds), and if I hate it, I will regardless if everyone does. Mmmm the Rigatoni Jalapeno sounded amazing!! Otherwise, they all had strange ingredients to me haha.

Caitlin January 14, 2014 at 12:08 pm

Joe and I are in πŸ™‚ that rigatoni sounds amazinng and figs in dessert with pecan ice cream?? Count me in! We like trying fine dining every now and then, but I wouldn’t consider it our favorite necessarily…as long as the food is good, we are happy campers πŸ˜‰

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