Also reviewed by Lari Robling:
Cafe Con Chocolate, 2100 S. Norwood St., 267-639-4506.
This small cafe in the western edge of South Philadelphia is often called Mexican Japanese fusion. Best to say the chef/owner's heritage makes it a mixed menu of Mexican dishes and Japanese dishes. This is a welcoming place that offers a good brunch as well as dinner. Menu is heavier on the Mexican side with some stellar egg dishes and a sweet and spicy mole. Service is very personal, but on the slow side, so relax and take your time. 2 forks (4/23/10)
Delicatessen, 703 Chestnut St., 215-923-4560. It's said there are no small bites at a delicatessen. True enough, so come here hungry. You'll find traditional deli fare, but the menu is also inspired by playful fusion. The Benny Rubinson blends eggs benedict with pastrami and Russian-dressing hollandaise. There's a nice assortment of sample platters so you can have a "bissel" of this and "nosh" of that. The dinner menu is a good bargain for hungry students or large families. 2 forks. (6/18/10)
Fork And Barrel, 4213 Ridge Ave., 215-848-1990. Definitely a haven for beer geeks, but the unique selection offers such variety that even a lukewarm beer fan will find something to enjoy, including lukewarm European tapped casks. The thoughtful menu pairs well with the beer. Small plates are a good way to go, and be sure to try the Bavarian pretzel. Upstairs offers the American Cask Saloon with a selection of bottled American beers and upscale hot dogs. 2.5 forks (11/18/10)
Le Cochon Noir, 5070 Parkside Ave., 215-879-1011. A marriage of art, music and smoky ribs, Le Cochon Noir is part of a Parkside renaissance. The restaurant lives up to its name and offers pork barbecue as well as Kurobuta Pork chops. The rotisserie chicken is also highly recommended. It's BYOB until the license is approved. 2.5 forks. (8/27/10)
Paloma, 763 S. 8th St., 215-928-9500. Paloma is French technique applied to Mexican ingredients and the experience is white tablecloth. The Caesar Salad gets interest from dried Jamaica flowers, while the Sopa de Poblano is rooted in a childhood dish of Chef Saavedra's. His wife, Barb Cohan-Saavedra, unleashes her creativity in the desserts. Be sure to try the sorbets; each has its own unique combination of flavors you won't find anywhere else. 2.5 forks (10/14/10)