Growing up in South Philadelphia, Angelo Lutz spent hours looking on as his Italian grandmother handcrafted meals for their family. Now, as the head chef at The Kitchen Consigliere Café, Lutz tries to stay true to both Philadelphia and Italy by sourcing ingredients from local merchants and markets to craft time-tested Italian dishes. He molds gnocchi and meatballs in the kitchen and presses panini sandwiches, all the while remembering family recipes and the dangers of getting a chef hat tangled in a ceiling fan.
For more than 35 years, Sea-Lect Seafood has curated an ample selection of fresh wild Alaskan salmon, sushi-grade tuna, wild-caught shrimp, and other sea-caught treasures. Each day, the staff crowds a case with crab cakes and prepares other foods—homemade soups and creamy chowders—to be savored at home. At the Maple Shade location, chefs craft hot dishes for diners who devour steaming meals in the cozy dining space rather than at home to avoid offending the family goldfish. Owner George Gladden first started working at Sea-Lect Seafood at the age of 15 as a dishwasher, then climbed his way to the top through his love of cooking fresh seafood, desire to please customers, and ability to speak lobster.
It would be too simple to describe Indiya as an Indian restaurant. After all, India is a vast nation with large metropolitan areas, small towns, and everything in between, encompassing hundreds of local cuisines. In this spirit, Chef Vipul Bhasin draws inspiration from India's 28 culinary regions to create a diverse menu celebrating the country's full spectrum of flavors. On any given day, he fires up the tandoori oven to grill tangy chicken kebabs, bake garlic naan bread, and char-grill jumbo shrimps. Away from the clay oven, Chef Bhasin crafts curries and vegetarian specialties such as Paneer Makhani: homemade cheese cubes simmered in a tomato-honey sauce.
The cozy ambiance of Vitale's Italian Bistro sets the scene for the comforting regional dishes made from scratch. Spicy marinara and creamy alfredo sauces simmer in pots while chefs tuck cheese into ravioli pockets and roll out gnocchi dumplings. Chicken and veal dishes arrive in six different varieties, including saut?ed in a sweet marsala wine sauce or breaded, fried, and topped with a layer of melted cheese. Upgrading the classic grilled pork chop, chefs instead stuff the chops with spinach, roasted peppers, and provolone cheese, then cover them in a marsala demi-glaze and roast them in the oven.
Beef, jumbo wings, chicken fingers, jalapeño poppers, french fries, onion rings, mozzarella sticks, marinara sauce, honey mustard, and melted cheese. Those are some of the items available on The Whiskey Barrel's menu, and somehow, they all fit on the Mother of All Barrels sandwich. The 12-inch behemoth anchors a menu full of similarly hearty, borderline ridiculous sandwiches, burgers, entrees, and jumbo-sized wings that come in a variety of sauces, from whiskey BBQ to garlic-teriyaki and hot & honey.
The food provides fuel for late nights at the pub, which, like the drive-thru window outside every grandma's kitchen, stays open until 2 a.m. six times a week—including for live music performances every Saturday. Beer specials accompany all Flyers hockey games, and happy-hour deals Monday–Friday help nerves unwind after another long, hard day of resisting the urge to burn the dictionary.
Though his dishes once occupied the white-linen tablecloths of Philadelphia’s finest restaurants, Chef Gerald Dougherty now prefers making napkins messy with his signature recipes of rich, meaty barbecue fare. The former head chef of L'Aigla D'Or and Founders at the Bellevue, Chef Gerald currently oversees the pit at Little Louie's BBQ, a casual eatery he opened to satisfy his hankering for down-home grub. Not one to color within the lines, he draws on barbecue styles from across the country—think North Carolina, Kansas City, and Memphis—and smokes his meats over cherrywood, applewood, and hickory chips.
Little Louie’s dining room betrays the same down-home inspirations as its menu. Rustic lumber lines the countertops, and light fixtures reminiscent of branches illuminate the expansive space. If they can peel their eyes away from the beef brisket and pulled pork on their plates, guests will notice Butch Cassidy and Lone Ranger posters hanging from the walls, classic Western movies playing on the 70-inch flat-screen television, and outlaws discreetly taking down Wanted signs that bear their uncanny resemblances.