Bank & Bourbon
Loews Philadelphia Hotel
1200 Market St.
Philadelphia, PA 19107
You don’t need to go to an Italian restaurant to get delectable handmade pasta. Bank & Bourbon is most popular for its innovative bourbon program, but it also offers a menu of updated American classics. The house-made cavatelli is listed on the “snack” menu for $12 and makes a sizable first course or hearty pairing with a drink. The cavatelli is made with ricotta cheese, Swiss chards, eggs and flour and is served with braised veal cheek (flavored with red wine, Porcini mushrooms, celery, carrot, onion and tomatoes) and topped with pecorino romano.
1927 E. Passyunk Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19148
Le Virtu is a South Philly spot inspired by the Abruzzo region of Italy. Ingredients are sourced locally as much as possible, and the remaining ingredients are imported from Italy – including the flour used in the homemade pasta. There are a half dozen primi pastas on the menu with two of the most popular being the “guitar-cut” pasta with lamb shoulder ragu and the unique “maccheroni alla mugnaia.” Meaning “pasta in the style of the miller’s wife,” the dish is authentic to Abruzzese towns and was created to feed millers throughout the long workday. It features a single strand of pasta that is hand-pulled and tossed in hot pepper, pecorini cheese, garlic and olive oil. For large orders, it is made to stretch up to 60 feet, while the single-dinner portion is a smaller (yet still impressive 5 feet) for $18.
1521 Spruce St.
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Known for its modern American cuisine drawing inspiration from Southern French and Northern Italian techniques and flavors, Russet is widely considered one of Philadelphia’s best farm-to-table restaurants. Owners and chefs Andrew and Kristin Wood work closely with local growers and farmers to source the majority of ingredients from within 100 miles of the restaurant. In keeping with the mindset of “fresh is best,” the pasta is all made in-house. The menu constantly changes to reflect seasonal offerings, but two recent pasta dishes include potato gnocchi and herbed ricotta tortellini. Russet is a BYOB.
1310 Frankford Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19125
Owner Michael Pasquarello opened Kensignton Quarters in the fall of 2014 as a unique combination of full-service restaurant and bar, classroom and butcher shop. With a selection of the area’s finest meats available right from the butcher shop, it may seem counter intuitive to get a vegetarian dish. But the parsnip ravioli ($15) has become a staple that is worth ordering. The ravioli, filled with St. Malachi cheese from local Farm at Doe Run, has become so popular that it was even named by Zagat as one of the “Best 10 Things We Ate in Philly in 2015.”
440 S. Broad St.
Philadelphia, PA 19146
At Kevin Sbraga’s first restaurant, Sbraga, the Top Chef winner serves modern, innovative American dishes that change seasonally. Guests can enjoy an ala carte menu while seated at the bar, but the main dining option is the $55 four-course tasting menu. While dishes change based on ingredient availability, there is typically a fresh pasta on the menu. Recently, the handmade gnocchi was a favorite. It is made in the Parisian style with herbs such as chives, chervil, tarragon and parsley and mixed with Dijon, butter, eggs and flour. The dough is hand-piped and sliced, then sauteed to a golden brown. The gnocchi is served with sunchokes, Brussels sprouts and pine nut cream and finished with aged vinegar. The dish is both light and rich, with a bright flavor.
Michelle Hein is the social media editor for a women’s fashion company in Bucks County by day and a self-proclaimed food and drink fanatic by night and weekend. She enjoys attending wine classes, trying new recipes in the kitchen and going to old favorites and new restaurants alike in the Bucks County and Philadelphia area. If the writing gig doesn’t pan out, she constantly dreams of owning her own bakery…perhaps connected to the restaurant/bar that her lawyer husband would love to open.
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