Palladino’s receives 3 bell review from LaBan

Palladino’s opened in December, serving up Northern Italian cuisine at at 1934 E. Passyunk Ave.

Palladino's is ready go to. (Photo: Nick Valinote)
(Photo: Nick Valinote)

From the start, this restaurant was a highly anticipated addition to the restaurant scene on East Passyunk Avenue. Now that they’ve been open for a few months, Craig LaBan, The Inquirer’s restaurant critic, has had his say on the restaurant.

While we certainly have our fair share of Italian restaurants here in South Philly, LaBan seems to think that this is one worth keeping, offering up something different than the other similar establishments in the area.

Palladino’s received an excellent 3 bell review, with praise for Chef Luke Palladino’s signature steak and Northern Italian cuisine with an “elegant modern touch.”

More from LaBan’s review:

His smoked ricotta and beet-stuffed casonsei are a signature I never tire of, the earthy sweetness of those candy-wrapper-shaped dumplings amped by the buttery sheen studded with crushed poppy seeds. Delicate tortelloni, stuffed with creamy burrata topped with the saline pop of caviar, bob in a bracing tomato water brightened with herbs. Airy snips of melt-away potato gnocchi practically dissolve against crispy cubes of smoked pancetta (Roman-style “alla Gricia”) and the bitter crunch of Brussels sprout leaves.

Much of Palladino’s menu is drawn directly from rustic traditions – such as his love of cockscombs, which lend a gelatinous thickener to his offal sugo, or a surprisingly delicate snap when deep-fried for an apt crown on his Genovese-style skewer, also threaded with deep-fried sweetbreads, mortadella, and a veal-ricotta meatball.

The focaccia di Recco, fast-baked in black steel pans, is straight from Liguria, but a complete novelty here. I predict its magnetic delicacy, with almost phyllo-crisp wafers of dough stuffed with a micro-thin sheen of drippy, tangy cheese, will soon become one of the city’s most coveted plates.

If you’re going to try anything from Palladino’s, it seems like the focaccia di Recco is a pretty good choice. If LaBan says it will become a most-coveted dish, it’s likely to be true.

LaBan also offered praise towards these dishes:

Among my other favorites were a juicy duck sausage roasted with pickled grapes over goat-cheese-whipped polenta; the baked crepselle rolled around wild mushrooms enriched with Taleggio; a refined casino take on oysters (instead of clams) that roasted those mollusks to perfection. A house-extruded pasta was the secret al dente weapon that elevated the spaghetti alle vongole with tender cockles in flavorful broth to another level.

The pork osso bucco, glossed in dark jus studded with pickled mustard seeds over herbed farro, was a convincing change-up from the usual veal (complete with marrow scoop!). Palladino gives Cornish hen an edgy swagger by stuffing the boneless bird and wrapping it in crisp pancetta, then ladling Venetian liver sauce on top. Thick chunks of herb-marinated swordfish, skewered with bay leaves over white beans greened in lemony Sicilian marjoram sauce, proves the wood grill works wonders on fish, too.

In addition to dinner, Palladino’s is beginning to offer brunch, from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sundays. Brunch offerings are priced from $11 to $19.

Have you tried Palladino’s? What did you think of it?