Sunday, March 11, 2012

Dishcrawl Philly: Midtown Village, Stop Numero Uno

At some point before my Bahamian vacation I stumbled across an article about the upcoming Dishcrawl Philly event. It sounded like fun, so I ran to the roof of the highest building and flipped the switch on the 'CC Signal,' which in this poorly thought out comparison notified the eating public that I was need of fellow eaters. Sigh. See, what I was trying to do there was have you imagine that, like Batman, I am so popular that there's a light specifically designed with my initials, which is used not to call me to others, but to draw others to me. Ok it really didn't work, so we should move on. BC, intrepid socialite that she is, quickly got back in touch with me and soon tickets were purchased and then it was just a matter of the days and weeks passing. The premise of Dishcrawl is that one or two organizers plot out a few different restaurant stops in a specific neighborhood, then collaborate and work with the management of said locations to do little servings of some of their fare. When we bought the tickets, the restaurants that we would frequent were entirely unknown. So BC and I both laughed a bit when the first stop on the tour was, of course, Sampan and its Graffiti Bar. With the exception of McCrossens, it's rare to see me go to the same place three times in two weeks, but after dinner with M., then drinks with BC, AS and BA, it was clearly fated in the stars that Sampan and I will eventually get married and spawn some strange half restaurant half person. I digress. Again.

The bar area, which isn't overly spacious to begin with, was definitely packed by the time we arrived. We ended up in a bit of a dead zone, near the bar but more in a corner by a door. This was good in some ways; we were jostled and bumped less. But there were drawbacks; when the complimentary appetizers started coming out of the kitchen, none of them were really making it to our little corner of the world. But with some effort and collaboration with other Dish Crawlers, we managed to snag tastes of each of the dishes that came out. First up, the chicken satay with wasabi aioli. BA and I had a discussion about how chicken can be tricky to cook. I have great confidence in my ability to roast a chicken and keep it moist, but - paradoxically - when it comes to individual pieces of the chicken, I still struggle not to overcook or dry out the meat. Sampan did not have this problem. I loved the marinade of the chicken, which was succulent and not dried out a bit. And the wasabi aioli had just enough of a creamy kick to push this skewer from good to great. It was a great first taste of the night.
There were also edamame dumplings. Dainty things, these were. With just a little broth to accompany the pocket of edamame puree. BC was particularly a fan of this, if I recall correctly. There was a third treat, something that loosely resembled a bruschetta...but I never got a clear read on what it actually was. My fave of Sampan was the skewers, but I think others were raving far more about the unphotographed dish.

No comments: