Restaurant critic and Drink columnist for the Inquirer.
Townsend a worthy refined French cuisine restaurant
Philly's gastropub boom was a part of this hungry city's recession reply - beer-soaked, boldly flavored and casual - to the demise of glitzy haute cuisine. But in these postrecession days of heady restaurant growth, a new generation of more refined projects has lately emerged, including one notable newcomer in Townsend that reaffirms the timeless virtues that carefully measured fine dining can still hold.
Not surprisingly, it is the creation of a chef who's cooked his way through the entire roller-coaster cycle of recent culinary tumult. Townsend "Tod" Wentz has gone from the haute-hotel heights of the Four Seasons to temporary refuge in New York, followed by a worthy gastropub bounce-back stint at McCrossen's Tavern, where he helped transform the longtime tappie with roasted marrow bones, craft beers, and slow-braised oxtail pasta into a bar with one of the better menus in town.
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