Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A discourse upon my Spectrum Grill dinner course

On Friday night a good friend and I made plans to hang out over at the new Xfinity Live! complex in South Philly.  We did a mini crawl through the various bars, coming through most impressed with the Broad Street Bullies Pub's happy hour selection which was ALL draft beers were half-price.  Gotta say, nothing like getting a tasty pint of Guinness for $3!

Our dining destination was the Spectrum Grill - also in the same complex - which was the higher end of the...pardon my pun, spectrum in terms of food offerings.  Billed as the "crown jewel of Xfinity Live!" and featuring steaks, chops and seafood, I didn't know what to expect since I tended to hit Center City eateries for this sort of fare; almost never South Philly.

We walked in and scoped the place out, instantly liking the relaxing atmosphere it instantly provided.  Dimmer lighting and slower music than the rest of the offerings at the complex, Spectrum Grill has the looks of a place you bring someone you wish to impress.  It has classy, yet minimal sport motif which should be a given since the restaurant is themed to grounds former structural inhabitant and former "America's Showplace."

The bar was empty with the exception of an older couple seated to the far left so we swiped a couple seats and proceeded to order drinks.  (Note: I sat directly in front of some old Spectrum newspapers that had been processed into the bar's counter top. C'mon, I'm not going to sit in front of Frank Sinatra clippings?)  Two female bartenders aided in quenching our thirst and chatted my buddy and I up, which was cool because we like getting to know staff in places that we liked and this looked to potentially be a new one to add to the list.

After looking over their menu a time or two I decided on an appetizer of "Bone Marrow 3 Ways," and an entree' of "Kennett Square Wild Mushroom Ravioli,"  which my friend told me was  no-brainer that he knew I'd order.  He got a big ole juicy-looking steak and some other things but I'm keeping this short and to MY food only.  I promise to have another review (photo heavy) of the place soon with other menu items.

TWO of the three ways. Couldn't resist! bone marrow appetizer arrived and instantly, I was in love with the place.  Dare I say that no restaurant in Philly that I know of does a bone marrow dish of this size, beauty or deliciousness? I've ordered marrow in at least three other places and the bone that housed the meaty heaven tended to be rather small and hard to maneuver into.  Not so on the centerpiece of the dish, which isolated each of the three tastings into their own little areas.  There was a truffled leek custard, a miso glazed bone that'd make my dog insanely jealous with me and finally my favorite, a Kobe slider topped with a perfectly cooked quail egg.  OH MY GOD!

I dove right into that custard, that was tasty but ended up being my third favorite on the dish. Easily using my fork, I dug out the marrow from it's home in that miso glazed bone and it was nothing short of heavenly. I didn't even need the small crispy crackers that came along with it but the combination of their crunch along with the creaminess of what I'll simply call meat butter was just texturally out of this world. But the best was yet to come for me in the form of that little egg-topped slider that was marrow and American Kobe along with bacon between the meat and egg.  I could have ate at least five of them and though I may have died from it, my belly would have gone out very happy.

On came my wild mushroom ravioli and I was surprised to find them arriving in a tomato sauce.  Typically they'll be accompanied by a pesto or even an Alfredo, so this was a first for me.  The acidity of that red sauce worked as the perfect counterbalance to those soft pillow-like ravioli.  It was a pretty sizable portion too, but never stood a chance with me.  Just like my appetizer, I'd order this dish multiple times.

 Of note on the food that I didn't eat and my buddy did was their chocolate lava cake dessert that he'd gotten along with a vanilla gelato.  Had I any room this eve (I honestly wasn't starved) I'd have gotten that sucker.

Ah, but so much to look forward to in other visits to the Spectrum Grill.  Friends, Philadelphians, total strangers...I couldn't recommend this place more right now.  The food was great, service was awesome and no matter how packed Xfinity Live is at the moment, this place is still a hidden gem that offers a quiet respite and cool atmosphere.

See ya there!

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