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.

1-ribollita

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…

Russet
1521 Spruce Street
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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2 thoughts on “Review: Russet

  1. Pingback: Review: City Tavern | melhuang1972

  2. Pingback: Review: Kensington Quarters | melhuang1972

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