Friday, September 2, 2011


Supper prides itself on fresh, local, seasonally driven cooking, and the restaurant’s aesthetic mirrors its mission. It’s bright, saturated with sunlight from the large windows that look out on South Street. The look is about elegant, rustic simplicity: the honey-colored shelves with burnished handles and knickknacks casually perched atop it; dark, sleek chairs; a richly varnished hardwood floor. Supper’s hope for both its food and its décor is that it embodies an “urban farmhouse” ideal: a city space that’s firmly grounded in the field.

Since opening, Supper has carved a reliable niche amongst its small-plate, locavore competitors. The New York Times raved about it recently in an article about the unexpected glamor and appeal of the Philly food scene; Inquirer critic Craig Laban was a big fan back in 2008. Penn Appetit has weighed in too, with a printed review in 2007 and a recipe feature of the carrot-marshmallow soup.
Because of its seasonally motivated mores, Supper’s offerings change shape often. I enjoyed a three-course meal (not the special vegetarian option, though it was tempting), of a “first,” “plate” and dessert, the terms Supper uses to divvy up the menu. The chilled soup was a corn and coconut mash-up, poured at the table over radish slivers and parsley. While the ingredients were married well, the soup lacked punch and needed salt. The portion is quite large, and unfortunately by the last spoonful, it becomes a bit bland. The “supper burger,” a ½ pound of brisket with bacon, gruyere, caramelized onions was juicy and perfectly charred, and topped with a vividly orange slice of tomato. Of course, there’s nothing adventurous about combining beef, onions, cheese and bacon—they’ll always be good together, no matter their sources.

The dessert captured my imagination where the entrée had failed to. The “dense” chocolate cake looks more like a chocolate bar than a wedge of cake. Its decadence is not to be overstated. The dessert is brushed with crystals of sea salt and sits on a smear of caramel sauce (my friend described it accurately when she said it tasted like “a melted Werther’s candy”) and paired with vanilla sherbet, which offsets the silky richness of the cake. A delicate wheel of a cocoa wafer pokes out of the top like a lacy flag. There’s a lot going on, but as with Marcie Turney’s award-winning budino, which it shares flavors with, the elements unify beautifully.

The waiter was amiable and helpful—and allowed us to linger over our scraped-clean plates. It’s nice not to feel as if you’re being hurried out of your seat; nothing kills an attempt to savor slowly like assembly line dining. In the end, this is Supper’s best achievement. They've created an environment that’s homey and warm, filled it with tasty, comforting dishes, and allow their customers to revel in the delight of both.

926 South St
Philadelphia, PA

1 comment:

  1. i was just there for brunch a month or so ago and loved it! the dinner a while back was delicious as well! :)



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