Saturday, March 24, 2012

Pod Restaurant, Philadelphia, near the University of Pennsylvania

www.podrestaurant.com/
 
Pod is a gussied up American take on Asian food run by a well known Philadelphia restauranteur, Stephen Starr.  It has a 60’s retro-chic interior with a smattering of dim bluish and purple light cast over white furniture. It is a glissile place where, by the looks of it, there appears to be no friction: a bottle of beer could just slide forever down the long bar. To me the place feels like the womb of an enormous whale deep under the Arctic waters.  It is a cold ambiance.  Cozy is not the word that I would use for it, but some folks like it (including my son). 

We ordered kalbi-beef fried rice, lamb lo-mein, and pork belly buns. The food is done with an American sensibility, it all tastes very fresh. Snippets of sweet, sour, and spicy by-lines keep it interesting.  But—like the ambiance--it is frictionless with no rough edges or drama.  You can switch from a spoonful of rice to a spoonful of the lo-mein without discontinuity.  If you are having a business dinner, this is a good thing, and it is a perfect meal for conversation, should you succeed in reading the menu under the dim lights. The service is excellent.  The food is unique and has been prepared with care, but it is a uniqueness that appears engineered and lacking in spontaneity.

Pod on Urbanspoon

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