Months ago I purchased a Rue La La deal for Twenty Manning Grill and after months of not using it, L. and I finally made use of it. We met on perhaps one of the hottest of days back in July. The restaurant has this system of misters for outdoor seating, and they were on, but not a soul decided to brave the heat even with that system in place. No matter. I started with a Gold Headed Ben, which was described as "a warm weather take on our fall Rye Street cocktail, Rye Whiskey, St. Germaine, fresh lemon juice, orange bitters topped with Cava Brut. It was refreshing.
L. and I had serious discussions about what our choice of meal would be. In the end I opted for their heirloom tomato gazpacho with pineapple sorbet. And I'll tell you what, it may have been one of the best of the season, fresh as could be, not too bready, and the basil pineapple sorbet was a really interesting twist. The sorbet was quite sweet, not all that savory, and yet managed not to overwhelm the tomato goodness of the main event. Good work.
For my main course I decided to try their pan seared butternut wild mushroom ravioli, which came was described as "wild mushrooms, fresh ricotta, parmigiano-reggiano, caramelized onions and crispy sage-brown butter. The presentation was a little surprising, as the ravioli seemed to have been sauteed a bit. They actually reminded me a little of potstickers, which somehow made a little more sense once I learned that the chef was Asian. Does that make me a racist? Maybe. They were good, but not all that mind blowing and perhaps a little steep for $16.
L. had the tuna burger and wasn't overly in love with it. Too fishy somehow. She also learned that she doesn't like cornichons...her loss, my gain. I had two glasses of a really nice red wine. Let me see if I can remember what it was. Maybe the Pinot Noir? Or the Malbec? Either way, I liked it a lot. I wish I could track down our receipt. Alas.
Afterwards L. and I made momentary friends with a man outside the restaurant who then bought us both glasses of wine, which we enjoyed while sitting on the bench outside the restaurant. We met a whole cast of neighborhood characters, and I think we both had a moment of 'huh, maybe living in Center City would be fun...if we had millions of dollars.' While not every element of the meal was a raging success, it was a great night and the establishment definitely has charm and verve. We asked the guy to take a photograph of us, but with L.'s camera and I haven't gotten a copy. Photo proof fail.