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Monday, April 29, 2013

People Watching and Eating Solid Water - Just Another Day in Philly at Matyson

Earlier in the year, Yelp issued a challenge to write 100 reviews in the year 2013.  While it's quite uncertain if I'll be able to hit that mark before leaving Philly, I think I've made a big dent so far.  This is review number 73 72 (because apparently updates don't count)!  See the full list here.

37 S 19th St
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Neighborhoods: Rittenhouse Square, Penn Center

It was another beautiful day in Philly on Sunday...or so I was misled to believe by the morning sun.  The rays of the sun woke me up a bit earlier than I would had liked for a Sunday morning, but the day was too beautiful to sleep through.  After skipping down (of course not, I took the trolley) to a Starbucks in Center City to wrap up a couple work related items and plan the last portion of my trip (which I failed to do), I stopped by Rittenhouse Square to people watch and to make use of my Kindle that had been collecting dust.  I haven't read anything in a while, and figured it's never too late to become more literate, learned, educated, whatever.  It was then that I discovered, while I was wrapping up work at the Starbucks, the weather had taken a turn for the downer.  The clouds had overtaken the city, hovering over us like dark ominous overlords.  I sat there for a while, but eventually it got a bit chilly so I took cover inside the nearby B&N.  Nothing like using B&N to subsidize my Kindle reading.  Go Nook.

Rittenhouse is conveniently located within a few minutes walk to Matyson, which recently installed a $35 prix fixe  menu for Sunday nights.  For this week, the theme was sea bass.  I'm more of a salmon kind of guy, but what the heck, why not?

We started off with two triangle shaped pieces of crispy polenta with mancheo and tomato fondue.  I thought this was alright.  The real highlight came second, with a bowl of steamed mussels bathed in an aromatic broth infused with coconut curry and sprinkled with cashew, sweet potato, and basil.  I took a deep breath to inhale the beautiful aroma that this concoction brought out.  My olfactory senses were happy...and so were my taste buds.

Then came the striped bass, which was served with black rice, asparagus, and saffron aioli (a fancy name for mayo).  As I said, I'm a salmon guy, and found eating the striped bass equivalent to eating solid water.  The skin was crispy and crunchy, but the fish itself was no salmon.  However, the accompanying black rice and asparagus were great supporting acts and saved the dish.

We wrapped it up with a chocolate kahlua mousse cake with hazelnuts and créme anglaise (a fancy French name for English cream).  Unlike the striped bass, the cake left no doubt that it was chocolate.  Rich and flavorful it was - luckily, the portion size was small so there was no risk of overindulging.


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