Thursday, May 15, 2008


105 S. 13th St., Philadelphia, 215.922.6061

It was a Girls Dinner night and Girlfriend Roz (who refuses to eat most ethnic cuisines) was covered in Poison Something to venture out comfortably. So Girlfriend Mo and I jumped at the opportunity and headed straight to Indian BYO Bindi (after a warm-up drink at Vintage, of course (get there if you love wine) ).

Inside, it's stylishly dark, narrow with high ceilings, tight and loud. As much as we wanted to absorb the interior energy and ambiance, it was a nice night and we opted to sit outside. Watching the Gayborhood nightlife blossom is always entertaining.

Our service was fine, nothing to complain or brag about. To start us off, a complimentary flatbread of sorts showed up. Two, to be exact. And they were like giant potato chips with embedded toasted sesame seeds and a dipping liquid. Tasty only with the dips. Otherwise, it was cardboard-like.

The menu has just the right amount of options so as not to be overwhelming, and there's something for everyone. But, don't expect your traditionally classic Indian dishes. These have a little twist. Well done, we thought. For an entree, I started with the Lobster Pani Puri ($9) which came with a lime tamerind water to splash on. Girlfriend Mo had the pan seared scallops and cauliflower pakora ($11) with tomato-mustard seed chutney, thai basil pea puree, pea shoot salad. Surprisingly yummy.

Mo had the chana masala chicken ($18), a fenu greek-yogurt marinated chicken, ginger, chickpea-onion masala and pulao rice pilaf and I had the goan shrimp xacuti ($21) made with chili, aromatic spiced coconut milk, radish koshimbir and lime rice. Rice for both entrees came on the side. There was enough spice (but not too much) in each dish that by the end of the meal, both Mo and I were congested. Personally, no Indian meal is complete without a roti, so we had the Paranthe. It was a little crispy for my liking, but the flavor was nice. As far as portions go, everything was just right. Probably could have done without the roti though. It was the size of a small pizza, folded.

I've read mixed reviews, but we really enjoyed our meal. It was slightly different than what you'd get in a traditional Indian restaurant, prices were average for the city, portions weren't ridiculously huge or small, and everything was flavorful. I will definitely be returning.

Also, if you don't want to byo wine or beer, grab your favorite rum, tequila or vodka and throw it in a pitcher of one of their fun Indian-style mixers.

Read more reviews here, here, here, here and here.

P.S. It's cash only.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Fellini's Cafe

31 E. Lancaster Avenue, Ardmore, 610. 642.9009

You'd assume a restaurant that inevitably has a line out the door would have incredible food worth waiting for. You'd assume, and you'd be wrong. But, before I get into the food, let's get in the front door first. While they take reservations, by no means are they honored. If you don't want to wait, plan on showing up around 6pm, at the latest. We arrived at 6:30ish and had to wait about 10 minutes, which is tolerable, but the place was already jam packed. By 6:50, the crowd out front had reached no less than a dozen or so people, and it didn't disperse until around 8:30, just to let you know what you're in for if you haven't already been.

I can't comment much on the decor since we didn't even make it past the hostess station. We had a table for four tucked into a windowed nook in the front, away from the "wait area". We were happy.

Our server seemed new, and particularly slow. That was okay since we weren't in a rush, but now I understand why the line was so long. Our meal did not need to be over 2 hours long, but it was.

Now about that food. The menu is endless and overwhelming. I lost count around 85 items. I can't make a decision when there are that many options, plus Specials. Fortunately, there was a separate menu with 8 or so handmade pasta entrees. I stuck to that.

My Mozzerella Caprese was a mound of spring mix topped with thick mozzerella slices, roasted red peppers, onions and black olives drowning in balsamic vinaigrette. DROWNING. There was enough to share with three other people. My husband's salad was also piled high with romaine, tons of shaved parmesan, a slice or two of tomato and was, ironically, nearly void of dressing.

My entree was handmade tortellini with crabmeat, shrimp and peas in a cream blush sauce. This portion also could have been shared. While the tortellini were fresh, the sauce required salting and peppering, the shrimp had tails (annoying) and the crabmeat had shells (even more annoying). Not a meal I'd wait in line for. My father-in-law had the Veal Parmasan and was very happy with it.

Fellini's is another clear reminder that the most mediocre restaurants can be incredibly successful with a good location in a town like Ardmore that has so few options. The key features of Fellini's is that it is a BYO with inexpensive Italian food. To our knowledge they are the only choice in Ardmore.

Overall, the consensus was average. Would we return? Possibly, but only because it's in walking distance.

Read more here and here.

Friday, May 9, 2008


133 W. Lancaster Ave, Ardmore

Since moving out of the city and away from our favorite and regular La Lupe Friday night meal, we have been hankering for a Mexican restaurant to open here, ANY Mexican. Hello Chipotle. Beggers can't be choosers, I guess. We haven't eaten there yet, but on a whim, we tried yesterday when they were giving away free burritos at the Grand Opening. Let's just say, someone put the word out on every nearby college campus. Imagine "free food" being popular among college students. The line went around the corner. Maybe next week we'll give it a try.
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