"Just when I thought it couldn't get better." That should be the title of my miniseries of Restaurant Week Reviews here on Mogblog. Because honestly, I'm amazed. How this city's restaurant selection continues to top itself, I'll never know. Then again, I'd like to think my good taste and knowing how to pick 'em really comes in handy. Maybe. A little. Ok, I should mostly be thanking the chefs.
Now, to preface this, I had high hopes for Bud & Marilyn's going in. Not only has it been named one of Philly's top restaurants of 2015, but Zagat recently featured their Chef-de-Cuisine, Dan Giorgio, in their famous "30 under 30" article. (Dan also just so happens to be a dear friend of mine, so I was expecting him to pull out all of the stops.)
And oh, how the stops were pulled. Learning from my experience at Zahav earlier this week, a couple friends and I abandoned the prix fixe and surrendered to the chefs tasting menu. (This was just another in a long string of excellent decisions I've made regarding restaurant week.) And from the first plate of fried cheese curds - yes, it's true - I was hooked.
Inspired by American comfort food of yesteryear, the chefs tasting took us through a veritable pu pu platter of treats. Oh wait, there was a actually a pu pu platter in there. With spareribs and shrimp toast and poke... But that was after the potato roll fried chicken sandwiches, and the kale salad with hush puppies. Though before the pork n' pickles platter with homemade pâté and biscuits. I think.
At this point, we were slowing down, because all of that rich food will get to you after a while. (To be fair, Dan warned me of this going in. But I couldn't stop. I wanted more.) And in what became one of my favorite moments of the night, our server came over to say "The chef knows you're getting full, so he's ONLY going to send over two more entrees." I actually LOLed. Especially when those entrees turned out to be meatloaf n mashed potatoes, and campanelli with meatballs. I mean come on. Both were marvelous, by the way. But that goes without saying at this point, right?
Finally, we gathered our strength and marched bravely on into dessert. I had been eyeing this marvelous triple layer chocolate cake all evening, and I wasn't prepared to leave without getting to know it up close and personal. Covered in malted milk balls (How retro and charming! And fat.) and every bit as rich and tasty as the rest of our meal, it was the real cherry on the sundae of our Bud and Marilyn's experience.
It would be a sin to do a writeup on Bud & Marilyn's without mentioning the mid century ambiance. Every detail, from the lightbulbs, to the wood paneling, to the tiki-inspired glassware that held our potent cocktails, was meticulously designed to feel like your quirky grandparents rec room. That hasn't changed since 1976. At least. I loved it. But I'm not surprised, owners Val Safran and Marcie Turney are no stranger to a beautiful restaurant experience - the pair owns 7 other successful businesses on 13th street alone! I can't wait to try them all. 10/10
Oh and Dan, if you're reading this: what was that third entree you might've sent if we weren't too full? Asking for a friend. Cheers! x