It was the first day of spring and I was able to celebrate with Serrano Restaurant. With the debut of spring they invited local media and bloggers to come taste their new menu. With spring as chef Gina Rodriguez’s inspiration, what better day to schedule a tasting? Of course, here in Philly it was a bit chilly as this spring’s entrance has been but that didn’t stop us. With a full house and an inviting fire crackling in the fireplace, Serrano Restaurant was the perfect place to be.
Thanks to traffic I missed the amazing signature cocktails they offered but was just in time to try one of her amazing corn fritters with Cayenne Honey Drizzle. I’m not a huge corn fritter fan because they are usually rather bland and I am a snob about my food. Not these corn fritters. They were amazing. Each “crisp on the outside, fluffy on the inside” corn fritter had the perfect blend of spice and sweet as it practically melted in my mouth. I could have grabbed the bowl and eaten them all. I was a little more refined than that, thank you very much. They also served heirloom tomato and house made ricotta, elegantly served on spoons but klutz that I am, standing there in my 4 inch heels and holding a purse, camera, and menu folder, I was worried about making a scene and passed. Next time I won’t because there obviously will be a next time and I will be sitting down for the whole meal. Dave wasn’t there and he has to experience the wonder that is Serrano Philly.
We had the opportunity to meet owners Donal and Jennifer McCoy, along with Chef Gina Rodriguez. I loved seeing the faces behind the food and restaurant. The Old World styled restaurant and the exquisite food are a great reflection of them. Chef Gina is a humble and unassuming chef – the kind you immediately can’t help but love and want to have come cook in your home for you because you know she is going to be awesome and easy to chat with. This impression definitely held up as she visited the different tables, and as her food was presented to us.
Now ladies and gentlemen, I don’t eat like this every day but I totally would, if I could cook half as well. First up were steamed mussels, flat bread, and a Watermelon Frisee Salad. They were paired with Tariquet Classic white wine that every one at the table declared superb. I actually went home and hunted down where I could buy it. On to the mussels though. I cannot stand mussels. I remember the first and almost only time I had mussels. Let me tell you, ONLY buy mussels at a fine dining restaurant. The slimy, gooey memories I have were not what one should remember as mussels. These mussels were steamed in a delicious white wine, herb broth and were the best things I have ever eaten in my life. The flat bread was amazing. Tender and flaky, I had one with mushroom and sausage and another with tomato and cheese. Both were scrumptious but I would definitely choose the mushroom sausage flat bread next time. I didn’t have the Watermelon salad but it looked really yummy. With blue cheese and pistachios, my mouth was watering to try it but allergies to nuts can be a real bummer sometimes.
For the main entree we could choose between a Guinness Braised Lamb, Jumbo Scallops, and Vegetable Curry. It took me 5 minutes to choose. Actually, I didn’t choose until they took our orders. It was too hard. Ultimately I went with the scallops because I have been craving scallops for about 3 months now – ever since a friend was talking about the Italian Feast of the 7 Fishes. I was so busy being wow’ed by my scallop dish I kind of didn’t check out any one else’s plate until they were half done. Sorry for the lack of pictures. The jumbo scallops came showcased on top a bed of fingerling potatoes, mushrooms, and sausage, all surrounded with an arbol chili gastrique, subtle and gently spicy all at once. The scallops were seared to perfection, so tender and buttery you could cut them with a fork. I savored every single bite.
Finally dessert was set in front of us. Buttery flaky puffed pastry with thin slices of nectarines and topped with creamy house made ice cream, finished off this spring taste of heaven. Dessert, the way to a woman’s heart – at least this woman’s. I could eat dessert for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This beautiful tart would be perfect for any time of day in my opinion.
Verdict? Perfect date night. Definitely worth the trip into the city for an incredibly special and romantic dinner date, and soon. You have to try the spring menu at Serrano Restaurant. Best part is there is not only street parking but also a parking lot directly across the street and another one 5 businesses down. Very easy to get to and very easy to park. Gotta love that when you are dressed to the nine’s in a pair of heels because seriously, you may as well go all out. Your date deserves it and you do too. So mama, pull out those heels and a pretty outfit and get all gorgeous for a night out on the town. Check out Serrano. You won’t regret it.
The evening’s full menu can be found HERE.