November 25, 2006
Cuisine: American (New), Tapas
276 S 20th Street, Philadelphia 19103
Between Rittenhouse Square & Spruce Street
Course I: Grilled flatbread – Short ribs, Fontina cheese, chives
Course II: Crabcake atop a slice of cornbread, mesclun mix, garlic aioli
Course III: Grilled ostrich strip with hericot verts, roasted potatoes, and red wine reduction
After a disastrous Thanksgiving holiday, I had a relaxing dinner with James Golden (who from here on out will be referred to as “the Marathoner”) at Audrey Claire. Although the Marathoner grew up in the ‘burbs of Philly, he has yet to take full advantage of the city’s tasty offerings. Audrey Claire was a great start…
Since I had been to Audrey Claire once before with the Astronomer, I knew we had to start our meal with a flat bread course. The Marathoner initially leaned toward the hummus, mesclun, and smoked salmon combination, but chose the short ribs because I had already had the hummus combo during my last visit. The short rib flatbread was phenomenal. The meat was crisp, yet moist and was shredded atop the flat bread. The meat was deliciously smokey and fatty in flavor. The cheese was mild and foiled the meat nicely. The crust was soft and quite pita-like. Needless to say, we loved it.
Our next course was a crabcake/cornbread dish. The Marathoner loves crab and the Gastronomer loves cornbread, so this was definitely up our alley. Mmm. The crabcake was seasoned in a fashion so that the crab’s natural flavors took center stage. The cornbread’s light flavor complemented the crab beautifully in taste and texture. The aioli and greens provided a tartness that contrasted the crab and cornbread very well.
Our last course was one of the evening’s specials. Neither the Marathoner nor I had ever tasted ostrich so we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try. Although we predicted that the meat would be bird-like (i.e. chicken), ostrich meat ended up surprisingly similar to beef. One difference being ostrich is much leaner than beef. The red wine reduction was a perfect accompaniment to the naturally flavorful meat — like A1, but way better. The hericot verts and potatoes were lovely sides, but not spectacular.
The dessert offerings didn’t pique our interests so we went elsewhere for treats. I enjoyed my second visit to Audrey Claire even more than my first. Well done, Professor Caskey, well done…