Getting the Most Out of Restaurant Week: Lunch at Amada

Philly’s Restaurant Week is here (from now until January 25th and then January 27th until February1st). You know the drill, $35 for a 3 course dinner and $20 for a 3 course lunch. With so many participating restaurants, including some that are so not worth it, its hard to pick where to spend your time and money. I did some menu surfing and concluded that getting to try a whole slew of Jose Garces tapas at Amada for $20 was going to be worth it. Instead of putting out sub par dishes just for the Restaurant Week crowd, Amada lets you pick from tapas that are already on their menu.

For the first course, you pick one out of six small bites. The hot, oozy croquetas de jamon were the best out of the first course bites I tried. They sat on a spicy red sauce.

The spanish tortilla, made of egg and potato, lacked flavor. Pick something else.

We received a nice size portion of the caldo gallego, a bean and ham stew. It works well in the cold weather and I appreciated the amount of pork bits inside- but it was’t especially complex, I have made similar soups in my kitchen.

For course numero dos, each diner can choose two out of eight options. The garlicky shrimp were intensely seasoned, but there was not nearly enough of them. I expect small portions for tapas, but this plate was much less substantial than the others.

Though it was the least “tapas-like,” the blackened chicken over salad with artichoke, parmesan, ¬†and egg coated baby croutons was a refreshing, balanced plate.

The chorizo was easily the most beloved savory plate. We got nine crispy, spicy bites of it.

Two desserts are available, I tried both and they ended up being my favorite part of the meal. The rice pudding came with a rich chocolate ice cream and figs. The crema catalana was the most creatively presented, with a layer of custard and a layer of pumpkin semifreddo surrounded by pistachios and a dab of cranberry chutney. Try to dine with someone who is a good sharer so you can try both.

Don’t let Restaurant Week get the best of you. Picking a place like Amada, with its array of tastes is a great way to go as long as you order the right things. It isn’t a huge volume of food all in all, but the variety and leisurely pacing makes the luxurious lunchtime experience worth $20.

Amada, 217 Chestnut St, 215 625 2450

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