After enjoying Graffiti Bar's happy hour wine prices and complimentary appetizers, the group - which was probably at least 60 or so folks - was split in two. Half of us were led in one direction, the other half in another. Our half went to Fish. For as long I have lived in Philadelphia, I have heard nothing but positive things about Fish and its short-lived friend Little Fish, so I was very excited to get a little sampling of what they're about. Our group of 30-ish fanned out across the bar, which was slightly awkward because it hadn't been reserved. This meant that we were flowing in and around existing customers in one mass of human excitement, which, had I been a pre-existing guest, I would have found off putting. While the staff was nothing but nice and the treats satisfying, I will say it seems as if they hadn't really thought out where they might put us. Nonetheless, BC, BA and I found three seats at the bar and made that our official perch. We were in a great position to talk to the bartender and to snag samples of the charcuterie plates that soon came out of the kitchen. I love cornichons. And I love a good chorizo. And whole grain mustard. And even the prosciutto, a cured meat I'm working to better understand and appreciate, had some flavor to go with its fatty lovely texture.
These right here are fried skate. I don't understand the science of this dish. If science is even a part of it. This reminded me a bit of fried pork rinds, or those fried shrimp chips you can find in pretty much any Chinatown in the world (which strangely enough I tried for the first time in Paris when I was 16). Delicate and airy, but crispy too. I just don't get it! Is it actually skate sliced so thin that it turns into this airy fried wonder treat? Or is it really some sort of rice base that is then sprinkled with the essence of skate, which helps it transmogrify? For something that looked so simple, the taste was big. And now all I want to know is how it was done.
Then out came the oysters.
This photograph was taken by a man who was not part of the group. After he took ithe asked whether my camera could mail the photo to him...then he tried to take photographs of us with his iPhone. Just in case you don't pick up on it, this man's behavior was c-r-e-e-p-y. Note to all men who are not in fact skeeves or creepsters: don't do that unless you actually are that weird, then do it, as that is actually a great way to announce your unsuitability to the women folk.
There was a bit of a lag between when all the food tastes came out and when we were finally instructed to put our jackets on in order to go to our third, and final, location. The little tease tastings at Fish certainly made me want to go back and try something more substantial.