Saturday, October 16, 2010

West Side Gravy – Collingswood, NJ

Well, last night we really wanted to go to Blackbird for dinner, which is Chef Capasso's first restaurant, however, they were booked until later in the evening when I had tried to call for a reservation.  That said, I posted a note on our Facebook Page about going to Blackbird tonight, but one of our fans who works at Blackbird said they were closed for a private even tonight.  We had to get our fix somehow, so we hit West Side Gravy for lunch today!

We walked in and were glad to see about 10 tables seated in the restaurant.  This has been a topic of conversation in a few online forums, and someone actually wrote in to the Philly Inquirer about it, and the thread can be seen HERE.  Unfortunately, I posted comments on this, but they have since been removed.  I also received comments on our blog in my last West Side Gravy post, from fans of write Craig LaBan, saying that I shouldn't mess with Craig LaBan, because he will own me, as well as shut my blog down.  WOW!  People are ultra sensitive these days!  Quite honestly, I am sure Craig LaBan has no idea who I am, nor does he care about what I have to say.  Up until that point, I didn't know who he was either.  But whatever, that is water under the bridge...nothing like censoring readers questions and comments do.  That is one thing at least we do not do here!

Noelle greeted us as we came in and told us to grab a seat anywhere.  We took a table in the back left hand corner of the restaurant near the kitchen.  No reason for this really, other than the fact that we wanted to be away from the door as there was a bit of a chill in the air.

We sat and looked at the menu, and once it again, it looked as though it had changed a bit since our last visit, which is not a bad thing in the least!  There are so many things that we both want to try on the menu here, and I really thing that we need to just move to Collingswood so we can eat here on a daily basis!  The 40 minute drive makes it a bit more difficult to frequent than we'd like to!  ;-)

A couple of soda's and we were ready to order.  As always, I cannot come here and not order the West Side Gravy fries, but today I kicked it up a notch, and went for the cheese and bacon version!  As usual, these were awesome, and the gravy once again was a reason for living!  This is just so damn good!  So yeah, these are a staple, and I can't imagine not ordering these here.  These cheese and bacon really set the tone for this dish, and there is nothing to say other than excellent!  I can't imagine not loving these!

For Zelda's starter she went for the Mac and Cheese.  This is yet another dish that I have been dying to try.  There are just so many things that I love on this menu, but it makes it hard to try them all!  But she went for it today, and this one didn't disappoint in the least.  The texture in this rocked!  It wasn't too cheesy, but there was more than enough cheese to keep you more than interested even!  The 3 different cheeses in here work very well together:  fontina, gruyere, and cheddar!  This also has a fresh herb medley of parsley, and who knows what else, but it really has a vibrant freshness to it.  Finally, it is topped with toasted breadcrumbs that are very nice and buttery!  Again, comfort food at its best!

From here, I went for the Cheesesteak Egg Rolls, and what an awesome combination this is.  I've wanted to order this too since our first visit, but haven't gotten around to it.  Who doesn't love a cheesesteak?  But now wrap it in an eggroll wrapper and deep fry it, and you have an awesome combo.  These were then topped with friend onions, and had nice long hot peppers on the side, and a horseradish sauce that was to die for.  All in all, an innovative dish that was delicious!

Zelda went for the Fish Taco's, and although they were not the friend fish tacos like we had last time, they were still good.  This was sushi grade ahi tuna, with a short sear on it, then staked on a mini tortilla shell, topped with a fresh avocado of sorts and a sweet and sour chili sauce.  Again, nice fresh flavors, and another winner.

As we sat after lunch, out came Chef Capasso from the kitchen, and we shot the bull with him for a bit.  It's always great to see him, and to hear that things are going well.  We talked about all kinds of stuff, and as always he was very gracious!  I asked him how Chef Allgood was doing, and he made that comment that she said that she was tired.  He then made the comment saying that at least he knows he is getting his money's worth from her!  I found this pretty amusing!  For those of you who do not know who Chef Siobhan Allgood is, she was on Season 7 of Hell's Kitchen, and her fan page can be found HERE.  She is a heck of a great chef, and has been a wonderful addition to Chef Capasso's empire!

All in all, well, I needed my Blackbird fix since they were booked solid both nights of the weekend to the point where we couldn't get in, so this was a heck of a worthy substitute!  Another great meal at what I think is going to turn out to be our restaurant of the year!  Time will tell, but as of right now, there is no competition anywhere close!  Stay tuned!  Cheers!  -F. Scott

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