Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Garces Trading Co & Provisions – Philly’s Medi Goodness
For those of you not familiar with Philly’s dining scene, it’s very much of a foodie’s town, with a few local chefs having a prominent imprint. One such food influencer is no other than Chef, Jose Garces, who boasts 7 upscale restaurants in the Philly area, many with a Spanish or Latin flair.
Located on the border of Old City and Washington Square in Philly, Garces Trading Company & Provisions is a fun place to stop, whether you want to get your fix of premium olive oil, balsamic vinaigrette or a full-on sit down meal. We chose the latter and made reservations in their dining room, which was spacious and welcoming, but nearly full on a Sunday.
Liking the simple yet elegant décor of this restaurant, we sat at a high table with rustic wooden stools, situated at the far back of the dining room. A good view of the bar and the extensive wine cellar, provided more intrigue, especially giving credence to their rich wine selection from Spain, Italy, France and beyond.
Loving all the Mediterranean influences on the menu, Dan and I didn’t have a hard time picking out our dishes and almost wished we were with a bigger party so we can sample a larger part of the menu. Here’s what we tried:
House Made Mozzarella – Being staunch lovers of fresh mozzarella cheese, Dan and I were excited to try this version, which was still warm and sprinkled with Maldon salt and cracked pepper. Thoughtfully prepared, it was smooth, silky and provided a creamy texture in your mouth. Dan went as far as to proclaim it to be the “best mozzarella he ever ate.”
Baked Eggs – Resembling a Middle Eastern Shakshouka dish, I was in love with Garces’ rendition, which were essentially baked eggs in a spicy tomato stew. Other fragrant embellishments such as pieces of guanciale and manchego cheese made it that much more indulgent. A few pieces of black olive toast further sealed the deal for me, and Dan couldn’t stop stealing pieces off my plate.
Steak and Eggs – Dan’s entrée of choice didn’t disappoint, as he devoured pieces of perfectly cooked flat iron steak, thick cut fries with a beautiful black truffle Bernaise sauce on top. Even though it sounds like a pretty standard brunch dish, Garces’ sophisticated spin elevated it to the next level.
Macarons – I noticed a sign for French macarons as soon as we came in and knew I’d have to try them. We ordered two, including the chocolate rum and the vanilla lavender. The latter was exquisite, boasting sophisticated essence of lavender in the meringue cookie and a soft velvety filling that just melted in your mouth. The chocolate version was tasty too, but nothing to write home about.
Service and Cost:
The only aspect we found to be lacking at Garces Trading Company was the service. We found our waiter to be awkward and so slow with virtually everything. Even the bus boys had a peculiar demeanor, as they seemed surprised by our request to get sharing plates with our appetizer. Everything just seemed to be a little off, which was surprising in a professional eatery such as Garces.
Costs are fair and un-gourmet-like, given the high quality of the food. The entire brunch, including Mimosas set us back about $60 with tax and tip
Garces Trading Company – 1111 Locust Street, Philadelphia PA 19107