Saturday, August 09, 2008
It's rare that I eat out near Rittenhouse Square. Not that the restaurants around the square aren't worthy of my attention, in fact, they're positively droolworthy in reputation. It's simple really, I'm a graduate student, I live off a stipend, which is like a ghostly reflection of a paycheck, and as much as I'd like to dine at Rittenhouse eateries on a regular basis, places in this league have been relegated to special occasions only. However, close inspection of the menu has changed my stereotype about the affordability of this part of town, ordering wisely can grant you a delicious meal that won't break your budget, so I encourage each and every one of you to head to Devon Seafood Grill. Now, on to the food.
We started with a tomato bruchetta topped with bruleed goat cheese. Served with toasted foccacia, Calamata olive tapenade and a simply dressed green salad, I could have made a meal out this appetizer alone. The goat cheese was of high quality and the thin veneer of charred cheese on top was to die for. Couple the tangy cheese with the ripest dice of local tomato and you've got a real winner.
Calamari was lightly dusted with a cornmeal coating and fried to perfection along with thin slices of jalapeno. The accompanying Creole remoulade had a significant kick, and because I'm a fan of all things hot and spicy, I really enjoyed this starter.
Devon Seafood Grill has an eclectic list of signature cocktails that I was more than happy to sample. Some were a little on the sweet side for my tastes, but I particularly enjoyed the Cucumber Dill (bottom left) and the Ruby Red Margarita (top right).
The scallop starter was ridiculously good. A large fresh sea scallop was crusted in prosciutto then seared until it was just cooked through. Served with a crunchy fennel salad and garnished with basil oil and balsamic glaze, this dish is an elevated form of every one's favorite bacon wrapped scallops.
One of Devon's signature dishes is their jumbo lump crab cakes. Made with only the highest quality crab meat and barely any filler, you truly get what you pay for when you order this dish. The creole remoulade from the aforementioned calamari makes another appearance with the crab cake, but far more interesting is the addition of a mango tarter sauce which adds a layer of sweetness that complements the crab.
Next up was Tuna Tartare. Only the best fresh tuna is selected for this dish as it's served completely rare. The tuna is diced and dressed with a wasabi vinaigrette then nestled on a bed of pickled cucumbers and served with a homemade sesame cracker. There is enough wasabi in this dish to bother sensitive palates, but I loved it! It was the perfect balance between the sweet fish and the spicy vinaigrette.
Chilean Seabass was broiled for a crunchy crust, topped with a leek fondue, served over potato sage gratin, and accented with a mustard vinaigrette so perfect that I wanted a spoon to help me devour it all. Since it's kind of a nice place I refrained from this action, but I really really wanted to.
Devon prides itself on highlighting seasonal fish and produce, so the Stripped Bass was a logical choice. The bass was seared and served over a sweet potato, corn and bacon hash then drizzled with a corn infused butter. Total bliss.
Finally, I sampled the Char crusted Hawaiian Yellow Fin Tuna. It was just seared on the outside, leaving the middle rare, which I love. The crust was peppery and crunchy, a nice contrast to the cool and calm interior of the fish. The tuna was accompanied by perfect roasted potatoes, fresh asparagus and a Foyot sauce.
I'll certainly be back with friends who appreciate fresh seafood prepared in delicate and successful ways. You should stop by too, even if you're not into fish, the menu is extensive enough to provide something you'll enjoy, and the cocktails are not to be missed either.
Devon Seafood Grill
225 S 18th Street
Philadelphia PA 19103