Restaurant Review: Salt and Pepper

I’ve said it before (I think), but there are so many great restaurants in South Philly nowadays. The Center City restaurants always seem to get most of the attention, and I’m trying to make it a point to try out more of the places that are right in my own neighborhood. You can pretty much get anything you want in South Philly, from traditional Italian food, Mexican and Vietnamese specialties, and everything in between.

When my friend Lara and I made plans to get together to celebrate our birthdays, I was glad when she suggested Salt and Pepper, a little place on Passyunk Avenue, that Open Table said was one of their “neighborhood  gems.” The restaurant is an American bistro, which started out as a BYOB in another location nearby. It became so popular that they moved into their current larger space—and also acquired a liquor license. Side note: I really enjoyed the Sparkling Ginger cocktail that I had. It was a blend of prosecco, ginger, and lemon (maybe?). It would be a fun new year’s drink.

Salt and Pepper’s menu is not huge—just six options each for starters and plates. But, as Lara pointed out, this is actually better most of the time because it keeps you from changing your mind too many times.

We all decided to share the butternut squash flatbread, which was one of the starter specials, as an appetizer. I’ve eaten more butternut squash this fall than I have in my entire life, and I’ve decided that I really like it. The flatbread had a thicker crust than I expected from a flatbread, but the flavors—sweet from the squash, salty from the sharp cheese, and savory from the red onions—came together really well.

Then, we waited—probably about 30 minutes—for our entrees to arrive. Lara and Chester had both ordered the steak and Lara’s husband Matt and I both ordered the roasted rack lamb. I started to get nervous that 1) we were totally forgotten about or 2) our food would arrive cooked way beyond well done.

Fortunately, both dishes were just about perfect. The lamb was a lovely shade of pink in the center, and the feta, eggplant, and thyme flavored sauce that accompanied the dish gave it a slightly Mediterranean flair. Chester’s New York strip steak was seasoned well and, for once, was also perfectly cooked. The scalloped mashed potatoes, with just a hint of truffle oil, were also pretty great. Portions were very generous and satisfying.

We browsed the dessert menu, which offered the standards—chocolate cake, cheesecake, apple pie and a banana split—but ultimately decided to pass. Next time.

Salt and Pepper kind of reminded me of another of my favorite places, Friday, Saturday, Sunday. There isn’t necessarily a wow factor associated with food—the dishes are just traditional favorites that are moderately priced and well executed. I’ll be adding it to the list of my favorite South Philly restaurants.

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