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Sunday, March 10, 2013


4630 Baltimore Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19143
Neighborhood: Cedar Park

Aksum, another neighborhood joint, is a small ~12 table establishment located a couple blocks from Clark Park.  Its name is derived from the Aksumite Empire that covered Eritrea, Yemen, Saudia Arabia, and other present day countries...or at least that's what the "About Aksum" says on the menu.

I'm not a big fan of Mediterranean food as I find it rather bland compared to the more powerful spices that are infused into other cuisines like those found in Latin America and Southeast Asia.  And I don't like olives!  But, I thought I'd give this a shot as it's in the neighborhood.

The decor and atmosphere at Aksum is not "high end" but certainly much higher end than most of the other restaurants in the Cedar Park area (the only comparable restaurant in this regard is Vietnam Cafe, which is a 60 second walk away).  The prices are also adjusted accordingly.  The question I had was - are the flavors and the service worth the higher price tag? Maybe.

The rosemary grilled chicken was plated beautifully, and the chicken breast marinated in the house's rosemary sauce was super tender.  The olive pine nut tapenade that was layered on top of the chicken had a strong, bold flavor.  The garlic mashed potatoes, however, was bland and blah.  I wouldn't have known they were garlic mashed potatoes had I not been told there was garlic in them.  The grilled asparagus were grilled asparagus.

For the entire restaurant, there was only one waitress.  This seemed about right when I first walked in as the place was only at 20% capacity.  But, when it started reaching 80% capacity, the waitress definitely had more on her plate than she could handle in a timely manner.  It took 15 minutes from asking for my check to actually receiving it...and then another 5 minutes to get my credit card back. A third of an hour gone.

Aksum uses Square for credit card payments, and I was surprised when they brought out an iPad.  I thought I had won something, but they just wanted my autograph.

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