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Which Philly restaurant won a '$1M review'?

Times of London critic Giles Coren, the latest in a long line of cranky British food-TV personalities, is out with "Million Dollar Critic," a series that documents his dining experience in five restaurants in each of six cities.

What is the value of a positive restaurant review?

To hear Times of London critic Giles Coren, $1 million in additional business.

Coren, the latest in a long line of cranky British food-TV personalities, is out with Million Dollar Critic, a series by Canada's W Network and BBC America that documents his dining experiences in five restaurants in each of six cities, including Toronto, Providence, Charleston and Philadelphia.

The five restaurants vie to be the one that Coren writes about - as in, get the review that will generate a coveted business bump.

(Good luck finding the show on cable, though. I managed to screen it on YouTube. And good luck reading Coren's reviews; the Times keeps its influential critic's work behind a paywall these days.)

The one-hour Philly episode was shot this spring. No hidden cameras are at work in this slick production. Coren seems to have several on him at all times, and he loves to talk.

Unlike the travelogue-type shows that breezily prance through town - generating fawning clips worthy of a Visit Philly sizzle reel - Million Dollar Critic has a slight edge to it.

While enjoying the all-vegetable-based food at Vedge in Washington Square West, Coren talks behind the back of chef Rich Landau and refers to vegans as "simpering steak-swervers." He is snippy with a never-named waitress at the now-closed The Mildred in South Philadelphia, and shoots arrows at a sweet but overeager Laura Frangiosa of the Avenue Delicatessen in Lansdowne. (She hovered after serving him, and Coren tells the camera: "Laura seems to be one of those lovely but slightly pester-y chefs.")

Coren also makes a point of calling Avenue Delicatessen's neighborhood "the wrong side of the tracks" while voicing fears for his safety during a van ride from the city, where the other restaurants are located.

The show includes the obligatory Philly tropes - Rocky and cheesesteaks - but squeezes off winks at both. Coren samples the $100 cheesesteak at Barclay Prime on Rittenhouse Square and shows up at Pat's King of Steaks in South Philly to order a Whiz wit', pumping on sauce, ketchup and mustard (!), taking a bite, and proclaiming: "That is terrible - and fantastic."

You'll spot the Chinatown cocktail bar Hop Sing Laundromat in an unannounced cameo.

Coren, an unabashed Rocky fan, runs the Art Museum steps in a sweat suit. Oh, boy.

In a clever sequence, though, he and sidekick/"researcher" Julia Pileggi visit a meat locker in the Italian Market so he can pound a side of beef. Only they end up at Cannuli's House of Pork, and who wants to hit a small pig? He comes away from the butcher with an important prop.

Coren arrives at Kanella, the BYOB in Washington Square West, seemingly prepared for a fight with chef-owner Konstantinos Pitsillides, known not only for his cooking but his my-way-or-the-highway attitude and blue-eyed death stare. Coren does not get a battle - just an earthy Cypriot dining experience.

Coren enjoys the riffs on Asian cuisine at Cheu in Washington Square West, then asks chef Ben Puchowitz to prepare him something off the menu. Coren is therefore exposed to scrapple.

It's at Cheu where his lunch guest Ed Rendell (identified on-screen as "politician") gets off the line of the episode. He rasps at Coren: "British food sucks!"

Coren grins and rattles off the names of his homeland's dishes, concluding with steak and kidney pudding.

"I'd rather eat dirt," His Ed-ness replies.

The hard-to-find show was posted on YouTube, but it was removed over the weekend. I found another version here.

The review of the winning restaurant is here.