Serpico

Anniversary Dinner at Serpico on Philadelphia’s South Street

In Philadelphia, Restaurants by Daryl & Mindi Hirsch4 Comments

As our sixth anniversary loomed, we needed a place to celebrate. We could have easily gone to New York City or DC, as both cities are doable drives from Philadelphia with an abundance of amazing food options.

However, as luck would have it, a restaurant with world-class dining just opened three blocks from our house. We decided to stay local and try the new restaurant, Serpico.

An anniversary dinner on South Street would have been unheard of just a couple of years ago. However, there’s a quiet revolution happening on the street, and restauranteurs like Peter Serpico are leading the way.

Serpico’s unassuming restaurant is hidden behind a black brick wall that belies its South Street locale.

Serpico on South Street

Serpico on South Street

Some architects would complain about Serpico’s disharmony with the streetscape. However, don’t let the stark, utilitarian exterior fool you.

Serpico's Exterior

Serpico’s Exterior

Behind the black shutters is a space that’s alive with dining electricity. The room features a large bar surrounding an open kitchen. When we say open we mean wide open. Diners are literally seated on top of the chefs who toil away at the globally inspired and innovative menu.

Looking toward the Dining Room

Looking toward the Dining Room

Peter Serpico’s roots are auspicious indeed. For years he served as one of the most prominent chefs in David Chang‘s Momofuku empire, piloting the kitchen of Chang’s high end food counter, Ko.

Chef Serpico in Action

Chef Serpico in Action

But Serpico is not David Chang’s restaurant. The food is excellent and exciting in its own way. The menu is eclectic and diverse, blending world cuisine with local, seasonal ingredients.

Serpico Philadelphia Menu

Serpico Menu

We left our house at 8:25 and arrived right on time for our 8:30 reservation. (You’ve got to love a five-minute walk.) We got two seats at the long L-shaped counter, where we had a superb view of the open kitchen.

Our View of the Open Kitchen Serpico Phialdelphia

Our View of the Open Kitchen

Although there is a full bar, the restaurant currently allows customers to bring their own wine and not pay a corkage fee. Let’s hope that this policy sticks.

We started the dinner with a bottle of Chante Cigale Chateauneuf-du-Pape White, direct from our basement. It went well with the house-made rice cakes that were served instead of bread.

White Wine - Chante Cigale from the Basement Serpico Philadelphia

White Wine – Chante Cigale from the Basement

Food at Serpico

We don’t always share food, but we decided to share for the anniversary meal. Our first shared plate was egg custard and caviar. The chawanmushi custard was definitely one of the gifts Serpico brought with him from NY – a luxurious splurge at $25, but an appropriate opener for our anniversary meal.

Egg Custard and Caviar - Siberian Sturgeon Caviar, Brown Butter, Crispy Potato and Cauliflower Mushroom Serpico Philadelphia

Egg Custard and Caviar – Siberian Sturgeon Caviar, Brown Butter, Crispy Potato and Cauliflower Mushroom

Served in a cute cocotte, the creamy custard topped with Siberian caviar disappeared quickly since we practically inhaled the delicious dish.

Siberian Sturgeon Caviar Serpico Philadelphia

Siberian Sturgeon Caviar

As we sipped our white wine, out came dish number two. We can never resist house made pasta, and this dish with hand torn pasta, chicken sausage, braised snails and crispy chicken skin did not disappoint. The al dente pasta mingled well with the earthy snails and crispy chicken skin.

Hand Torn Pasta - Chicken Sausage, Braised Snails, Garlic, Crispy Chicken Skin, Pecorino and Italian Parsley Serpico Philadelphia

Hand Torn Pasta – Chicken Sausage, Braised Snails, Garlic, Crispy Chicken Skin, Pecorino and Italian Parsley

After the pasta, it was time to pull out our second bottle of wine. For the anniversary meal, we chose a bottle of L. Preston from one of our favorite Sonoma wineries, Preston of Dry Creek. We had bought this bottle back from a trip to California several years ago, and it was perfect timing to enjoy the bottle of Rhone style red wine. Rich and full-bodied with elements of spicy black pepper, the wine was perfect for the next part of our meal.

Red Wine - L. Preston from the Basement Serpico Philadelphia

Red Wine – L. Preston from the Basement

Since it was a sharing kind of night, we were drawn to the Elysian Farm lamb ribs for two. The lamb from the Waynesburg, PA farm was the star of the night. Perfectly prepared, the meat retained a juicy medium rare quality while being meltingly tender at the same time. All this was enhanced by the complex spice rub on the outside.

Elysian Fam Lamb Ribs for 2 Serpico Philadelphia

Elysian Fam Lamb Ribs for 2

2foodtrippers cannot live on meat alone, so we were thankful that the lamb came with tasty vegetable side dish.

Lamb Rib Side - Japanese Eggplant, Spring Garlic and Mint Yogurt Serpico Philadelphia

Lamb Rib Side – Japanese Eggplant, Spring Garlic and Mint Yogurt

We sipped the end of the red wine as we pondered how to cap off our anniversary meal with dessert.

Transitioning to Dessert Serpico Philadelphia

Transitioning to Dessert

Dessert at Serpico

We decided to share not one but two desserts. First up was a bowl of goat cheese sorbet with poached rhubarb, pistachio, shortbread cookie crumbles and mint This dessert was from the semi-sweet portion of the dessert menu.

Goat Cheese Sorbet with Poached Rhubarb, Pistachio, Shortbread Cookie and Mint Serpico Philadelphia

Goat Cheese Sorbet with Poached Rhubarb, Pistachio, Shortbread Cookie and Mint

From the sweet section of the menu, our second dessert was yuzu curd with chamomile cracker, lemon foam, whipped cream and fried rosemary. We have an ongoing debate regarding foam, but we both agreed that it was used well in this interesting dessert.

Yuzu Curd with Chamomile Cracker, Lemon Foam, Whipped Cream and Fried Rosemary Serpico Philadelphia

Yuzu Curd with Chamomile Cracker, Lemon Foam, Whipped Cream and Fried Rosemary

Yuzu Curd Serpico Philadelphia

Yuzu Curd

Overall, the anniversary dinner was a success. As we made the five-minute walk home, we commented that we would certainly return well before our seventh anniversary. Hopefully we will be able to bring our own wine next time too.

Viva the South Street revolution!

Serpico is located at 604 South Street, Philadelphia, PA 19147.


Comments

  1. How nice- food bloggers on opposite sides of the world each celebrating their anniversaries at the same time by eating out. 🙂 Happy anniversary.

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