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Review of High Street Philadelphia

You walk into a dimly lit restaurant, a variety of food is brought to you, and each dish looks more and more unique. One question arises: does the uniqueness of the food fully speak for the quality? Through its food and exquisite menu options, High Street (located in Center City Philadelphia) brings this question to the table.

After its closing during the pandemic, High Street made its comeback in late 2023. I specifically went for dinner, and was immediately surrounded by the well decorated interior. Although, there was a crowd of people inside, which didn’t create the most pleasant and relaxing environment. 

The menu is small and categorized by appetizers, pizzas, pastas, and a few meat dishes. Several items in each category quickly caught my eye. 

The appetizers surprisingly looked the most interesting to me. The description of the ricotta dish with grilled focaccia, basil, treviso (type of lettuce), and pine nuts pulled me in. The crunchiness of the focaccia bread and the smooth and creamy ricotta were an enticing combination. However, there was one major aspect that kept me from fully enjoying this dish. The treviso was a side to the ricotta, but it had an extremely bitter flavor and unfortunately added a very unpleasant taste to the dish.

Another appetizer I had also dealt with the same issue. This was the chicory caesar salad filled with tahini, boquerones, parmesan, and baguette croutons. I was excited to try such a unique take on your average caesar salad, and it had some enjoyable parts to the dish. There was a perfect amount of dressing and there was an elevated version of a crouton -- giant pieces of crisped parmesan. These croutons added an excitement to the dish that was very delightful. Although the chicory lettuce in the salad looked interesting, it disappointed my standards. Similarly to the treviso, the chicory lettuce had a bitter taste and didn’t necessarily speak to my liking. Although these two appetizers sounded exactly like my cup of tea, my standards weren’t fully met. 

After my appetizers, I indulged in two main courses, one pasta and one pizza. The pasta was spaccatelle with trumpet mushrooms, buckwheat, leeks, and an egg yolk. I had the highest hopes for this dish. The combination of pasta and mushrooms is always divine, and I believed adding an egg yolk would even more bring this pasta to the next level. When getting this pasta, it certainly looked different than any I had seen before at an Italian restaurant. I took my first bite, and the two words that came straight to my mind were underwhelming and boring. There’s a high amount of potential with this creative dish, and I believe the spaccatelle could have wowed me a lot more, but there was a lack of flavor in the pasta. The mushrooms and egg yolk had flavor, but the pasta stayed unaffected and bland.

The other main course I had was the jersey tomato pizza. The appearance was inviting -- it looked like the perfect ratio of tomato sauce, basil, mozzarella, and parmesan cheese. However, the parmesan immensely overpowered the other flavors, making it difficult to taste any other ingredient on the pizza. Therefore, both main courses didn’t live up to their potential. 

I had a completely different experience with the two desserts I tried. The first one being a rye cannoli that contained chocolate-chai cream, apple butter, and black tea caramel. This was by far the most outstanding dish of the night. High Street took the idea of a simple cannoli and brought it to the next level. The shell of the cannoli was a light and enjoyable consistency, and the inside was absolutely phenomenal. The apple butter was creamy and made the flavor of this cannoli the best I have ever tasted. The other dessert I had was an affogato with butterscotch ice cream. The mixture of strong coffee and an extremely sweet ice cream made for the perfect combination. 

While High Street’s desserts made a marvelous impression, their savory dishes didn’t live up to my expectations. I take notice of such outstanding desserts, but the appetizers and main dishes are the things that make me admire restaurants the most. So in the end, I would've enjoyed the restaurant more if their savory dishes met my standards.

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