MODO MIO, 161 WEST GIRARD AVENUE, NORTHERN LIBERTIES
“Modo Mio” means “my way,” in Italian, and chef/owner Peter McAndrews has been successful doing it exactly his way for years at this small Northern Liberties spot. His sandwich shop across the street on Girard, “Paesano’s” placed in the finals of my Italian hoagie contest a few years back, and is one of the city’s outstanding lunch spots.
McAndrews is an interesting character – An Irish guy from the neighborhood who learned to create great food because, well, his mom was not a very good cook and he wanted to do better. He fell in love with a woman of Italian descent, and then won a scholarship in Italy years back to learn how to cook the authentic stuff. His many successful Philadelphia restaurants over time (check out “Monsu” in the Italian Market) attest to how well he mastered the cuisine.
The meatball appetizer at Modo Mio is the classic blend of beef, pork and veal mixed with parsley, garlic and Pecorino. What makes if different is the sauce, which starts with wine and tomatoes and is highlighted by a pungent sharp provolone for saltiness. It’s then sprinkled with crispy shredded artichoke for texture.
“Lots of flavor,” says McAndrew. “It’s served ‘piccata,’ which means ‘forward.’ The last thing I want anyone to say about my cooking is that it lacks flavor.”
No, it certain doesn’t. Modo Mio is a BYOB, so bring your own bottle of red wine. And go on Sunday when the meatballs are part of a feast served family style. You won’t leave hungry or unsatisfied.