Alright, Philly, It’s That Time Again: Gordon Ramsay Available For Shouting At Your (Least) Favorite Philly Restaurant

gordon_ramsay-730834Last time Gordon Ramsay and his Kitchen Nightmares crew came to Philly, they settled upon a worthy contender — the humble, weedy but-with-its-heart-in-the-right-place Hot Potato, a BYOB on Girard Avenue. By all accounts, the experience taught Hot Potato a few crucial lessons, and to their credit, they’ve lived to fight another day. Now, Gordo is looking in Philly at restaurants to tempt his meat-grinder of a mouth, and as it was last time, yep, we’ve got ‘em to spare. For here is the dirty secret of Philly’s restaurant boom: For every new spot that opens up to raves and becomes a regular go-to for phoodies-in-the-know, there are at least ten that are counting down to their death from the second they open their doors. So, Gordo, if we had to pick, off the top of our heads, we’d say PLEASE lay your tough love all over:

· Darling’s: It’s a goddamned mess, but it’s a potentially great spot. An identity crisis has plagued this place from the get-go, and we think you might be able to straighten it out.

· El Camino Real: This one would be a more subtle challenge, as Camino does a lot of things right, but also does a lot of things wrong. Inconsistency, coupled with lackluster service and a revolving door of chefs (wait until you get a load of the current one) could make for some great TV.

· 10 Arts: In which you’d visit Eric Ripert‘s absent-minded flop, convince Jen C that she’s better than this (after Top Chef, we’re convinced that she is) and shame Ripert himself into finally taking some responsibilty for this mess.

· Alfa: If you don’t tear this confused mess of a we-don’t-even-know-what a new asshole soon, we will. Oh, look! We just did!

· Marathon Grill: Again, a more subtle challenge: We love the entire Marathon franchise (except maybe for the 10th & Walnut one, which is always a shitshow for some reason), but they need some waking up. A famously rough-and-tumble atmosphere could be to blame here, but in any case, it’d be interesting to see Gordo tackle a handful of restaurants with the same menu (but which are not a national chain) all at once. And, oh, the servers he’d destroy! Tee-hee.

But, like we said, that’s just off the top of our heads. Commenters, we know you must have more. Do please go on.

  • jeno

    South Street is ripe for the picking:

    - Downey’s
    - Bridget Foy’s (lovely owners but the food is terribly bland)
    - Copabanana
    - Dark Horse (their food was once amazing)
    - Cafe Nola (see above. wait, is this place even still open?)

  • Alex

    My wish would have been Coquette, which was great and awful at the same time, but alas, it’s done up and died already. I’ll go with a simple one – my favorite bar in the city – POPE. While POPE does everything else right, the food is cafeteria-level sad. While this would be ok in many cities, in one with all the pub fare Philly has to offer, it disappoints me to the level of anger. Not that it keeps me from going back and opting for liquid dinner.

    /apologies for the Yelp-level of detail.

  • Alex

    plus, there’d be a decent chance one of the POPE faithful would stab Ramsay to death. Or at least run him over with a fixie.

  • Dirtygert

    Downey’s is a great pick.

  • Christine

    Please, Devil’s Den! It’s such a nice spot and great beer list, but their food has always been subpar, especially since they try to bill themselves as a gastropub. The old chef was up and up terrible, new guy is better, but totally inconsistent. Got the worst “octopus salad” the other night that was 2 TINY pieces of octopus with an enormous plate of farro and 3 asparagus wrapped in ham. Wuh? Just pick some simple things and do them right, please?!?!

  • cdags

    World…Cafe…Live… That is if anybody still cares.

  • Marty B.

    I second or third on POPE and Devil’s Den. Great beer bars, but after a couple of tries I just don’t consider either as an eating option. Maybe a South Phillie 2-for-1? Devil’s Den aspires to more than bar food, POPE just needs to make good bar food.

    Fixie death near POPE would only be due to a sidewalk riding accident, only stabbing barbs would happen on Twitter. For real rage violence, you’d have to send Ramsey to Geno’s (any day) or Grumpy’s on the occasions when the one percenters hang out.

  • John Lightstone

    Bistro St. Tropez fits the bill perfectly for Kitchen Nightmares. Formerly good restauarant where the food has gone way downhill and which has completely fallen off the culinary map. Last time I ate there it was terrible, which is too bad, since it’s a nice spot and used to be a great place (10 years ago).

    And if Ramsey can fix there service at a Marathon, he’s a fucking miracle worker. The next time I go to a Marathon and everybody in the party gets what they ordered in a timely manner will be the first time. It’s truly one of the few restaurants where I like the food and avoid going because of the service.

  • John Lightstone

    Fixie Death would be an awesome band name. Just sayin’.

  • steveeboy

    the winner is…


  • morebeer

    POPE’s food has improved drastically (from inedible to pretty damn fine) with the addition of Pete Miller- I’m guessing you haven’t eaten there during his tenure. Agreed on the Den though- the duck fries are worth trying, but everything else is disappointing, considering the high caliber of the beer.

  • hk

    food was good for a hot minute.. didn’t the chef go to royal tavern??
    last time I ate there it was freaking AWFUL and I’m sure all the screaming italians and whatever sketchy transient is running the kitchen would make for some great TV

  • billy

    Devils Den, for the love of god. I so want to like going there, it’s very close and the beer is great. But I just can’t get anything worth eating to save my life. Even the duck fries are a disaster more often than not. The duck tastes rotten and the “gravy” is just nasty. Flavors just aren’t right together. I feel like the first time I had it it was good but never again.

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