The Gist: Chip Roman (Mica, Blackfish, Ela) partnered with Victor Fellus (Mixto, Mix Pizzeria & Bar) to turn the restaurant space in the Aria Condominiums at 15th and Locust into something new - it previously had a brief run as Tietra, a relatively unremarkable Italian bar.
The Vibe: A minor revamp of the interior had a huge, positive effect on the bi-level dining room. Warm wood and gold-colored accents make the space feel cozy, and the bar is still tiny, but the soaring ceiling saves the narrow room from feeling cramped.
Eat This: Chef de cuisine Rob Sidor had a hand in designing the menu, which he’s been working on for months. His deviled eggs with duck confit are a great starter snack, and the six-hour cured cobia has been a top seller. Also check out the duo of veal with ramps and spring onions (featured in our Farmer’s Market tips here).
Drink This: The Noble Bachelor is like a spicier Manhattan, with bourbon, Averna and dual orange and lemon twists for garnish ($12). The beer list is also notable - mostly because the one at Tietra was so sorry - with a dozen mostly craft brews that start at $5.
Skip This: Dinners begin with a complimentary basket of housemade crackers and hummus. The hummus is made with just enough garlic and has a great texture, but its delicate flavor is in danger of getting overwhelmed by the heavy dusting of spice on the crackers, which can also be oily. (Then again, they are free!)
The Damage: Snacks start at $4, small plates are $9-$16 and entrees hover in the low twenties. A full dinner with drink and tip will probably not run you more than $45 per person.
The Verdict: Roman has provided Center City office workers and Rittenhouse shoppers with an affordable alternative to the row of chain outposts that line 15th Street - your mouth will be much happier here than at Applebee’s right next door. Atmosphere-wise, it’s a step up from pubby Good Dog across the street, with the potential to build a similarly loyal group of after-work regulars.
The Treemont, 231 S. 15th St.; 267-687-2237
Flip through the slide show for a close-up look at the menu and mezzanine.
Foie gras terrine with sea buckthorn (a kind of shrub), macadamia nuts, brioche and rhubarb ($16)
Marinated olives ($6) and deviled eggs with duck confit and pickled mustard seeds ($5)
Chicken with fingerling potatoes, asparagus, English peas and pumpernickel ($21)
Day boat scallops with almond, sourdough and romesco ($13)
Pacific halibut with Manila clams, fava beans, fennel and sorrel ($24)
Chickpea fritters with spiced yogurt and pepperonata ($7)
Beef short rib with grits, heirloom carrots and roasted grape vinaigrette ($25)
Noble Bachelor (bourbon, Averna, Demerara sugar, lemon and orange twists; $12)
A few ground floor tables are placed well away from the bar, so you can dine without worrying about too much noise or crowding.
A row of seating along the balcony overlooks the first floor.
Mezzanine tables enjoy an up-close view of the arched front window.