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Yes, i know that I said that Collingswood is the new dining mecca in my area AND yes, I said that there was no need to go to Philly when Cork is so close in Westmont BUT my friend, Linda, wanted to take me out to dinner for my birthday and she chose Jose Garces’ newest Philadelphia restaurant, Chifa.

First, who am I to refuse a free meal? Second, just because I have great dining establishments close to home doesn’t mean I won’t venture out to eat in Phialdelphia. Third, this is Chef Jose Garces. This is the guy who brought tapas back to Philly with his first dining establishment, Amada. He then followed up with Tinto and Distrito. All three of these restaurants have been on the top of every “top Philadelphia restaurants” lists. Linda and I have eaten at all of them, including his Chicago restaurant, Mercat. As chef du jours go, Jose Garces is THE chef de la dècade…

Linda insisted that we order the chef’s tasting menu for $55. I had taken her to Distrito for her birthday. We ordered the tasting menu there and it was so much fun that we wanted to try it at Chifa. Considering that the menu is so unique, it was the perfect option. I highly recommend it for your first visit.

I took a bunch of pictures but my cheapy little camera was giving me some problems so they have a yellow tint to them. I have since discovered that the flash doesn’t work with the anti-shake option but it does work with the portrait option, which seems to incorporate anti-shake. Don’t as me why this is other than when you buy a $99 camera, you get a $99 camera. Of course, the fact that I’ve never read the instructions has nothing to do with it.

And some of my dish explanations and/or names will be lacking. I love to pretend to be a food critic, snapping pictures and oogling over the dishes, but in reality I am just a stupid sap novice who keeps forgetting to bring a pad and pen so the dishes can be described properly when I blog about the meal. What I really need is some “I-spy” type mini recorder so I can’t voice all my comments rather than write them down and disrupt the dining experience.

So here are the dishes, in order as we got them with descriptions as best as I can muster:

Complimentary roll/biscuit/tasty's baked thing in a long time accompanied by a plum?/jalapeno butter that was booth sweet & spicy

Complimentary roll/biscuit/tasty baked thing accompanied by a plum?/jalapeno butter that was booth sweet & spicy

Chifa 002

Shrimp ceviche with avacado accompanied by a side of bean and corn nuts. Yes, I said corn nuts!

Another ceviche which included trout roe on a super chilled glass plate. This dish was a pure delight!

Another ceviche which included trout roe on a super chilled glass plate. This dish was a pure delight!

Lima Bean Fizz - House infused cucumber vodka, lima beans, and thai basil. This is one fresh and earthy drink.

Lima Bean Fizz - House infused cucumber vodka, lima beans, and thai basil. This is one fresh and earthy drink.

The best lamb chop I have ever had. I was so good I wanted to run outback and make out with it.

The best lamb chop I have ever had. Ever. It was so good I wanted to run outback and make out with it.

This was a baked mushroom puff that the server poked a hole into and poured in a mushroom creme sauce

This was a baked mushroom puff that the server poked a hole into and poured in a mushroom creme sauce

Here's what it looked like inside after Linda and I attacked it.

Here's what it looked like inside after Linda and I attacked it.

Scallops with truffle-parmesan creme, foam, and caviar

Scallops with truffle-parmesan creme, foam, and caviar

Amazing Pork Belly Buns - My 2nd favorite, right after the lamb.

Amazing Pork Belly Buns - My 2nd favorite, right after the lamb.

Pretty and vaguely sweet rice treats for dessert!

Pretty and vaguely sweet rice treats for dessert

We also had a really tasty salad and another different scallop dish but those pictures were simply to blurry to post. We also had a dirty Ketel One Martini that was possibly the best made martini I have had in quite a long time. We couldn’t find a thing wrong with any dish and really appreciated the explanation of each dish as it was brought to the table, regardless of who was bringing it to us. From the atmosophere, to the service, to the drinks, and the exotic food, Chifa hits the mark each time.

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