Monday, October 25, 2010

Adsum: The Baby Foot & The Sheeples Press

Pretty much every week at farmers markets I chat up my customers about where they've enjoyed dining lately.

Since Adsum is so much the flavor of the day, and because Matt Levin enjoys a bit of celebrity, it has come up over and over again. Guess what? Craig Laban and the other critics are far less critical than Joe the canele customer.

Phyllis Stein-Novack
is an exception.

The lil lady, me and a couple of buds did test out Matt's new digs in early Sept. Just one visit. I have a few points of disagreement with the reviews I skimmed.

For Craig Laban: how does it work that you had "foie gras galore" and Phyllis Stein-Novack was served "half a premature baby's foot" ? Also how are those fried oyster-ettes from The Bay of Lilliput "sublime"? Question: Isn't "pickle juice remoulade" a culinary tautology? The burger is a "gem"? Seriously? We need you to tell us about ground beef? We already have Foobooz devoting about 50% of their output to burgers.

In response to Mr. Nichols: Rick do you mean the best fried chicken to come out of Barry Manilow's The Tea Party's cookbook? ALL of the soul was eviscerated from the chicken I sampled. I wondered how fried chicken could be made completely white (Caucasian). Later I learned that the trick is sous vide. The chicken brick at Bar 210 had more funk! Every person that I spoke with who had tried the fried chicken remarked on the hard tack that is served with it. Rick rightly calls it a "puck".

Adam Erace didn't give me much to quibble with.....except 1 - My order of octopus with caramel was more like a funky sea jerky, frozen octopus -- way cooked and way seasoned. 2 - "...tuna carpaccio that ate like Parma ham." By that you mean the laser sliced micro portion? 3 - By lack of starch are you referring to the absence of bread and butter? A few of us felt that "lack of starch" is edging on lack of hospitality.

Mr. Freedman, rapturous over dumplings? Consider a visit to Bridesberg. Before Matt asks you if you have a pierogi in your pocket check out a dumpling in a Polish home or neighborhood. I must disagree that contemporary Polish comfort food is hardly a "brutally difficult trick to pull off." When you say "the dishes have clearly been considered holistically" I'm thinking ...isn't that the meaning of cuisine? OK, the "cooking food for stoners" reference in your article really rang true. Except, I think the Garces guy was probably high himself. Could it be Lithium? Perhaps that explains the robotic cooking, service and atmosphere at Amada.

Dear Matt, I'm a big fan of your cooking, buddy. But does the Philly food press do anyone a service by bleating in unison? Journalists ought to keep it real. Here goes: I like my fried chicken fried and not all white. I like my octopus to taste like it was recently in the ocean and my fried oysters are to be fat, juicy aphrodisiac sized. I like my biscuits to taste like they were baked in the last 24hrs. Bread and butter is essential to basic hospitality. Thank you very much for the unique muffins you gave us ! Salt and pepper is good to use in the kitchen, and plain iodized salt should NEVER be served in a salt cellar. Was that Morton's on the fries too? Baby that's not right.

Service, however, was a high point. Very attentive and friendly. Sitting outside on 5th street was really pleasant, just far enough from South Street to be urban without the car exhaust and crowds. We had a great time at Adsum. I am a sincere fan of Matt's grub. I've heard there have been some changes.
I am interested in going back soon.


C & E said...

Barry Manilow fried-chicken...EXACTLY...quote of the year.

Good job calling out LaBan on this the Adsum review alongside some of the other recent 3-bells and it's pretty clear that this one was thin on descriptive details of the food and generally danced around the phenomena.

Anonymous said...

OMG-I smell a touch of caucasian hostility. I've never read anything like that from you.
The lil lady must not be putting out enough if this hostility is pouring out of you...

Lil Lady said...

Wow, Anon. If you think hostility is something new around here, you haven't been reading for very long.