Abe Fischer- Philly/Sansom-3-Stars
Abe Fisher is located deep in the heart of what can only be called a "hippy" district in the Sansom/Rittenhouse area of Philly. I love how East Coast cities such as Philly are a conglomeration of eclectic neighborhoods, I wish we had this on the Space Coast as I am sure the food would follow. Abe Fisher is a Kosher fine dining venue, my first such place to visit in my post-retirement career of giving America unfettered food reviews.
After being greeted, seated and handed menus by a charming hostess we began to read the menu in earnest. I eagerly ran my eyes over each section amazed at what I was reading. Chef Sichel's menu truly "paid homage to centuries of Yiddish tradition, while embracing the idea that cultural exchange places cuisine in a continuous state of evolution" (Abe's website). Our server, Eric, soon approached our table and took our order. Eric was prompt, courteous and knew the menu as a server should. To that end, I put in an order for Romanesco, Braised Chicken and Corned Beef Tongue (my first foray into the land of food that can taste you back).
Starting with the Romanesco was a good place to begin my culinary review of this hot spot in hippyville. The crispy raw onions, the bagel crumbles the sauce gribiche all combined to make this an haute cuisine dish steeped in Jewish tradition while combining flavors picked up along the Jewish Diaspora. I was exceedingly happy with this choice and it was with a presumptuous palate that I turned my taste buds toward the order of Braised Chicken.
While I found the parsnip kugel to be interesting, the honey nut squash to be cooked properly and the apricot lending subtle notes of far off arid lands, the chicken seemed not to have been prepared properly. It was spongy and about as flavorful as plain gelatin. Maybe I was expecting too much after the Romanesco, but the chicken fell flat in my estimation. It was edible, albeit flavorless.
This brings us to the final item up for review and as I mentioned, my first journey into the land of the age-old food of the common folk, Chef Sichel's take on the Beef Tongue. With the fresh dew drop cabbage, homemade apple mustard and sauerkraut the flavors were popping all over my palate like so many Pop Rocks of old. However, as with the Braised Chicken, I found the combination of old and modern intriguing and while it was tasteful, the main protein, in this case, Beef Tongue, seemed a bit under seasoned and overcooked. I can't say for sure though, because as previously mentioned, this was my first time dining on this meat. I have, however, had plenty of other organ meats and this was cooked far more than any liver, kidney or sweet bread dish I have dined upon.
Even though the main proteins may have not been prepared properly and found to be under seasoned, I still found the experience an enjoyable one as the combinations and methodology coming from this kitchen is truly unique in my experience.
The Big Boy says, "If you're in the mood for a culinary journey from East to West and all points in between, make a reservation at Abe Fisher and bring your palate