Review: Russet

23 February 2016

After last night’s poor dinner at The Prime Rib, I was hoping for something better on my second day in Philadelphia. The weather turned suddenly, and it was a rainy mess most of the day. A busy, but frustrating day. I wanted a good dinner, and I had heard about this place called Russet. I had made a booking and headed there in the rain.

Just when I was walking down Spruce Street I remembered — oh crap, this place is BYOB. This ridiculous situation with liquor licences in Philadelphia is utterly stupid, and so many places are BYOB. Some may like the flexibility and lack of mark-up, but for a single diner not having seen the day’s menu, this is a nightmare.

I dropped in to look at the menu and then decided to pop into the shop next door — which unfortunately had no wine. No wine shops within blocks of the resturant. Damn it. So went and bought some stout and cider…a bad start already… I actually changed my mind when I placed my order, and they opened one of the ciders for me. The pear cider I had bought was nice and dry, but not cold enough…and way too bubbly…

Then the first dish arrived pretty quickly, the ribollita — a perfect, hearty dish for a rainy evening like this.


Not bad, full of cannellini beans as expected, but with a few chunks of pork as well. An always good stomach-filler, pretty solid. I drank the pear cider quickly and somewhat uncomfortably, as this cider was far more bubbly than usual, and this made me feel bloated with the ribollita. This is why I HATE BYOB places, especially as a single, non-local diner…

The apple cider was opened for my main course, the pork chop.

2-pork chop

Mmm, this was cooked pretty nice, a very juicy and tender piece of pork. It could have been cooked even less, but this was good for a restaurant. Nice bits of root vegetables alongside, all working well with the apple cider — although it was also too bubbly (being from same producer). I felt bloated and uncomfortable after this meal, and it’s not the food…

Again, I curse BYOB. I told them not to open my stout for my dessert as I will go with just water for the chèvre cheesecake…

3-chevre cheesecake

Nice and tasty, but it was mostly still frozen…which tells me a little about their process in back. I know this is a small operation and the desserts were all pre-made, but… Anyway, oh well. Despite how damn warm it was inside I had a coffee before I headed out.

Russet is pretty good, but it would be far more appetising for me — as a single, non-local diner — if it served booze. The lack of a wine shop nearby threw such a wrench on this meal… Honestly, I would not come back here without it being licenced, which is too bad.

But I just hate the whole BYOB thing when you are dining alone. Great for local groups, but… Seriously, Philly, dining here is just full of problems…

1521 Spruce Street
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


2 thoughts on “Review: Russet

  1. Pingback: Review: City Tavern | melhuang1972

  2. Pingback: Review: Kensington Quarters | melhuang1972

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