Dinner Out: Review for Townsend
By Scott Campbell
This article is a bit of a departure from my regular local culinary musings. I like to travel and I like to dine out. So, predictably, I will often find amazing restaurants that I want to write about when I travel. During an overnight stay in Philadelphia I had the opportunity to dine at a little (35-seat) restaurant located in a renovated town house on East Passyunk Avenue. We opted for the 5-course tasting menu and I think I can safely say this was one of the best dining experiences I’ve had in years.
Our first course was Jumbo Sea Scallops and Lobster. I wondered if they knew we were from Nova Scotia when they placed the delicious looking plate in front of me. The seafood was accompanied with salsify, oven-dried tomatoes, capers, and Paddlefish caviar. We had decided to have the wine pairing with our dinner. This course was perfectly paired with a fresh, 2013, Domaine Dupasquier, Pinot Noir Rosé from Savoie, France.
Next up was seared Fois Gras served with wild mushrooms, pears, and brioche. There is something about Fois Gras served with fruit that is amazing. The flavours just complimented each other so well – the rich fois gras alongside the sweet pears was spectacular. This came out with a 2014 Francois Pinon “Silex Noir”, Vouvray, Loire also from France.
Our third course was a robust Rabbit Duxelle Roulade served with savoy cabbage, black trumpet mushrooms, and truffle jus. On a chilly January evening this was a perfect “warm your belly” kind of meal. It was served with a rich aromatic 2014 Abbazia de Novacella, Schiava, Alto Adige from Italy. The full-bodied wine was more than a match for the rustic rabbit.
Our fourth course was a Roasted Prime NY Strip served atop a short rib daube, cippolini onions, and natural jus. The steak was prepared perfectly and the daube (basically a meaty stew) raised the flavour profile of the whole dish. Another brilliant red accompanied this luscious course – a 2014 La Clarine Farm “sumu kaw”, Syrah, Sierra Foothills, California.
To top off the evening we were presented with an Apple Panna Cotta with Shortbread Crumble for dessert. This was paired with an equally sweet and delicious Navarre, Pineau des Charentes Blanc. What a way to wrap up our fantastic evening.
I will admit that Philadelphia isn’t exactly around the corner from us here in the Valley but it is a frequent stop-over for those traveling south for a vacation. If you’re planning such a trip, start your vacation early (or lengthen it out at the end) and arrange an overnight lay-over in Philly and make your way to Townsend. It’s only about a 20 minute cab ride from the airport to this great restaurant. Cheers.
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