1312 Spruce St.
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Italian | $$$$
To celebrate my wife’s birthday I surprised her with a trip to Philadelphia and dinner at Vetri. The word dinner is simply unsuitable to describe our time at Vetri. This was hands down the best Italian meal I have had. Chef Marc Vetri has created a wonderful culinary experience at his small restaurant in downtown Philadelphia.
I try to have photos of each dish we order when I am considering doing a review. I could not shoot decent photos with my phone in the low light. The tables are close together and I did not feel it was appropriate to use a flash that might disturb those dinning near us. In Vetri’s case the low lighting fit the décor and I was able to read the menu long enough to hand it back and say “I’m sure the chef will pick something nice.”
The parade of fantastic small plates began with this Stuzzichini sampler. The foie gras on toast, salami, and the vegetable torta were amazing. As I taste each of the offerings I quickened the pace eager to learn what was next. The plates flowed from the kitchen with perfected timing. Just as the savory flavor from the last dish fades from your palate a new one arrives. Nearly a dozen in all, each more inventive and pleasing than the last.
This bread bone was the most interesting dish of the evening, a marvelous example of ingenious plating. An aromatic Almond Tortellini in a Truffle Sauce, Spinach Gnocchi in a Brown Butter Sauce, Whole Wheat Rigatoni with Antelope Ragu, and a killer Sweet Onion Crepe with Truffle Fondue came next. What I considered the main course came as a Smoked Canada Goose Stuffed Endine and a smoked baby goat with stone milled polenta known as Capretto, both were extraordinary. We were offered a Fettuccini with White Truffle Shavings dish as an add on to the prix-fixe menu. My wife and I said “we’ll take it” at the same time. It did not disappoint us, with the concentrated flavor of the truffle resting on the delectable pasta it was my favorite of the night.
For dessert my wife chose the Bunet with Kiwi. I didn’t taste her dessert, focusing instead on my own Chocolate Polenta Soufflé.
I am a chocolate lover from early childhood so this was an automatic first choice for dessert. The molten chocolate cake paired with excellent vanilla gelato was scrumptious.
If I had one complaint it was that the wonderful coffee after dinner came in a Barbie set coffee cup with a tiny handle I could barely hold. I was really afraid I would drop it. This was really one of our best dining experiences. From the food to the service and décor everything was first class. When I asked my wife what was her favorite dish she said “the last one I had in my mouth.” No attention to detail is spared. Early in the evening when I asked if they would call a taxi to take us back to the hotel after dinner John told us they had arranged a complimentary black car service.
Dinner was not inexpensive. Arguably one of the best restaurants in the country, expect to pay $400 a couple, more if you drink. I say it is worth every penny and will create a memory that lasts a lifetime.