Although East Passyunk Avenue is home to some of my favorite restaurants, I recently enjoyed a delightful dinner at Fitler Dining Room.
There are a few places in Fitler Square that rarely disappoint. I always enjoyed Mama Palma’s pizza and the Mediterranean-inspired dishes at Dmitri’s. But Fitler Dining Room brings an upscale, casual atmosphere to the neighborhood.
The 22nd-and-Spruce location was first Melograno, which moved to Sansom Street. Then it morphed into the delightful Meme. For the past few months, FDR, as it is called, has featured local, in-season ingredients that are turned into unique and unusual dishes.
The small space features white subway tiles on one wall and an open kitchen. FDR has a license to sell beer and wine. The carefully-chosen list of wines by the glass enhances the appetizers and entrées on the menu.
Edward and I sipped a glass of Paul Mas Picpoul ($9), a dry, fruity white wine from Spain that we enjoyed with the complimentary one-bite gougere. This savory cheese pastry created in Burgundy is often served as an amuse bouche with a glass of wine.
We began dinner with gnocchi ($15) and butter poached oysters ($16). The light-as-a-feather potato gnocchi were bathed in a sauce of peekytoe crab with fresh herbs. It hails from the East Coast, particularly in the cold waters off of Maine. It imparted a sweet, succulent flavor that married beautifully with the seasoned potatoes used to fashion the gnocchi.
I never met an oyster I did not like. My appetizer consisted of five plump, briny Wellfleet oysters lightly poached in sweet butter and served in a light chowder with potatoes, aromatic fennel, herbs and topped with homemade brioche croutons.
It was not a thick, rich chowder, although the broth had a light and creamy texture. It was bursting with flavor and was served warm. This was a fine idea. If the broth were too hot, it would’ve destroyed the flavor and texture of the oysters. We nibbled on homemade potato rolls that had the flavor and texture of a slightly sweet brioche slathered with soft butter.
My duck entrée ($27) was attractive to the eye and taste buds. A Moulard duck breast was prepared medium-rare and sliced prettily. It was served with several batons of crisp-on-the-outside, creamy-on-the-inside potatoes. Since stone fruit is in high season now, the duck was beautifully set off by peaches and plums which were bursting ripe with slightly sweet flavor. I do not usually like fruit with duck or any fowl, but this worked perfectly.
Edward’s striped bass ($26) was an unusual dish as it was served in minestrone. Actually, the base for the fish were the types of vegetables you would find in a first-rate minestrone. Onions, carrots, celery, white beans, a bit of tomato and fresh herbs served as a thick pool on which a plump piece of wild striped bass rested. The fish was seasoned and seared to perfection before it spent a few minutes roasting in the oven.
Don’t miss dessert at FDR. A tasty twist on the classic pots de crëme au chocolate replaced the chocolate with rich dark coffee ($6). It was served in an espresso cup and came with two rich chocolate biscotti.
The Bavarian cream roll ($8) was bursting with fresh tart lemon, lightly sweetened whipped cream and a scattering of blueberries. The combination was a marriage made in culinary heaven.
Our server brought us two small homemade vanilla cookies to go with the French press coffee ($4) that I found a little too weak.
The Service was perfect. Edward and I sat at a small round table for two which was nestled up to a comfortable banquette. Our server navigated around the table with ease, bringing fresh silverware and filling our water glasses.
Fitler Dining Room is a fine addition to the neighborhood. Soft music was playing on the sound system, providing the perfect backdrop to a fine evening.
Three-and-a-half tips of the toque to Fitler Dining room.
Fitler Dining Room
2201 Spruce St.
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