10 Fall Dishes in Philadelphia to Try Right Now

By Danya Henninger  |  September 10, 2013
Credit: Danya Henninger

Autumn is coming! Instead of portents of storm and strife though, the harvest season brings bright days, clear air and an amazing bounty of food. Chefs all over town are flipping their menus to reflect the produce, grains and flavors of fall. Here are 10 brand-new dishes to sample before they fade away.

  • Credit: Danya Henninger

    Bibb Salad at Jerry’s Bar

    Though it only recently made it onto the menu for the first time, this autumnal salad was the favorite among all dishes chef Marshall Green made last year during his audition for Bill Proud, owner of the tucked-away Northern Liberties bar. Grilled and pickled butternut squash is crunchy with tang and char, and spiced walnuts and Gorgonzola crumbles sweeten and smooth out each bite ($10; 267-273-1632).

  • Credit: Danya Henninger

    Seared Duck Breast at Valanni

    Think of this dish at the Wash West mainstay as your steak-and-potatoes alternative for fall. Seared duck breast is intensely rich yet not heavy, and it's complemented perfectly by the side of mofongo (mashed plantains with sweet potatoes). Soak each forkful in chef John Strain's brandied cherry balsamic glaze, and your palate will be even happier ($26; 215-790-9494).

  • Credit: Danya Henninger

    Brook Trout at Will

    After a sear in a pan containing strands of fresh herb, citrus peel and shallots, Christopher Kearse plates the perfectly cooked filet on a bouillon sauce made pungent with Lillet. Over the lightly crisped skin goes fava and wax beans, pine nuts and a pine-nut aïoli. “It’s like a classic trout almondine - only made new,” the chef says ($26; 215-271-7683).

  • Credit: Danya Henninger

    Orange Olive Oil Cake at Davio’s

    Pastry chef Thomas Heck uses the zest of two whole oranges in the new “sweet, but not too sweet” dessert at the Italian steakhouse in Rittenhouse. Marmelade and candied oranges add even more citrus punch, softened by the scoop of creamy gelato on the side ($10; 215-563-4810).

  • Credit: Danya Henninger

    Walnut-Crusted Salmon at SoWe

    You won’t go hungry with the hearty portion of salmon at this Graduate Hospital tavern, and you won’t go without flavor either. Covered in candied walnuts, the flaky filet is dressed in a light and sweet honey beurre blanc, and accompanied on the plate by some of the best roasted fingerlings we've ever eaten (215-545-5790).

  • Stuffed Sicilian Sardines at Paradiso

    Sardines stuffed with anchovies and raisins are a Sicilian classic, and the intense flavors of the dish make it perfect for autumn. Chef-owner Lynn Rinaldi just added a version to the menu at her East Passyunk Italian, served with poached cherry tomatoes and plenty of olive oil (215-271-2066).

  • Crispy Half Duck at Trio

    New on the menu at this Thai BYO between Fairmount and Brewerytown is the dressing for the crispy half duck. Peach, mango and melon are mixed with a Bacardi glaze, which tops the poultry above a bed of jasmine rice and autumn vegetables ($24; 215-232-8746).

  • Credit: Danya Henninger

    Berry Cobbler at Oyster House

    There’s a brand-new pastry chef at this Sansom Street seafood house, and Danielle Amabile isn’t holding back when it comes to decadent treats. Her first dessert list includes this dish of bubbling blueberry compote topped with sugar crumb crust. On top, swap the traditional vanilla for a scoop of housemade blackberry-buttermilk ice cream ($7; 215-567-7683).

  • Credit: Joe Cicala

    Ricotta-Filled Crespelle at Le Virtù

    Just added to the menu at this East Passyunk Abruzzese is Joe Cicala's newest take on the Italian equivalent of a crêpe. The thin, pan-fried crespelle is wrapped around a filling of ricotta, then doused with mushroom ragù. Light but hearty, it's fall in pancake form ($18; 215-271-5626).

  • Lamb Barbacoa Tacos at Cantina Feliz

    This week, Tim Spinner and Brian Sirhal’s original Mexican in Fort Washington is running a special tasting menu featuring items that will soon show up at forthcoming Taqueria Feliz. The new Manayunk restaurant will serve a rack of lamb barbacoa, which is here turned into tacos served with mulato chile, refried beans and pickled red onion ($28 for four courses; 215-646-1320).