I recently purchased the 2013 edition of the Zagat Guide, so I sat down with a cup of coffee and immediately turned to the South Philly listings. I discovered The Industry, which opened in Pennsport last summer.
The online menu listed two of my favorite foods: Sweetbreads and brandade. Edward and I drove over to The Industry and looked forward to a delightful meal.
It was, indeed.
The restaurant is a large, open, airy room with a bar, a long community table and comfortable seating. The walls are painted a deep red, which I’ve read is the color that whets one’s appetite.
A gentleman who mixed my perfect Rob Roy ($11), which was icy cold and served in a coupe, harking back to the 1950s and a martini ($9) for Edward as we talked over the menu.
Buffalo sweetbreads ($10) consisted of creamy nuggets of veal sweetbreads done in Buffalo wing style. They were a tad salty, but liked the hot-and-spicy coating that was a bit crisp. They came with shards of celery, pickled vegetables and blue cheese dressing.
We are adding more grains to our diet and found the whole grain salad ($10) prepared with farro, tiny cubes of butternut squash, thinly sliced shiitake mushrooms, tart apples, Brussels sprout leaves and ricotta salata tossed in a sherry vinaigrette. Although the ingredients complimented each other, and I love the use of ricotta salata in any dish, the salad lacked seasoning.
The finest dish of the night was the brandade ($12). It hails from south France, and I have enjoyed it in Paris, at the Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia and most recently at McCrossen’s Tavern in Fairmount.
The Industry’s version hit the mark. It was expertly prepared with salt cod and whipped Yukon gold potatoes, heated in a round cast-iron skillet, topped with a mix of peppers and onions and served with slices of toasted baguette. The seasonings were spot on and since the portion was most generous, Edward and I shared this delight.
I asked our waiter to recommend a glass of wine to go with my scallop entrée.
“I’ll bring you a taste of the pinot grigio and Vinho Verde so you can decide,” he said.
The pinot grigio lacked body and the Vinho Verde was too sweet. I ordered a glass of Chardonnay ($8) from Western France, which was a bit oaky and buttery and drank well with the scallops. Edward enjoyed a Côtes du Rhône ($9).
My entrée ($21) consisted of three pan-seared scallops nestled on a bed of fresh succotash and cream of wheat. Although the scallops could have been hotter, the combination of sweet corn kernels, bits of ripe tomato, fava beans and bacon was original and fresh tasting. Cream of wheat may sound weird, but it worked.
The special fish of the evening was Arctic char ($24), which was seared so beautifully, we even enjoyed the skin. The slightly oily fish, which was served on a bed of lentils and topped with a small mound of frisee, tasted a bit like salmon.
We nibbled on warm, house-made donut holes, ($6) redolent with sugar and cinnamon, a tasty way to end a fine meal.
The staff at The Industry was friendly, accommodating, professional and exhibited a down-to-earth sense of humor. They made us feel welcome in a room that was quite filled, however, the acoustics were just right and free of noise.
The Industry is now on my go-to list when facing the stove at home is just too much. I want to try the burger that looked so appealing as it whizzed by our table. And, the restaurant is open for lunch.
Three tips of the toque to The Industry.