Thursday, August 27, 2009

Dragon Dance on 2nd Street

In the bad old days, John and I lived in an apartment on 2nd Street that we affectionately called "The Shoebox." It was a painfully small but happy place. Since we didn't have a dishwasher, there were too many dirty dishes all the time. But we were in love, the rent was ridiculously cheap and we wanted to go out anyway. I'm sure you recognize the symptoms.

There wasn't much in the neighborhood back then, but just a few steps away there was a glimmer of what might happen on the Northern Liberties restaurant scene. There Hadar Nisimi and his staff made Aden the perfect neighborhood byob with attentive service and simply prepared fresh ingredients. Up the street, the historic Bull's Head Inn became Standard Tap. And 702 North 2nd Street, which has housed Pigalle and Sovalo, established itself as a location with good restaurant karma. Kong has brought exotic flavors to this location.

Kong arrived with a flourish of firecrackers and a traditional dragon dance, which for me bodes well for its success. Michael O'Halloran, chef-owner of Old City's Bistro 7, brings this taste of Hong Kong street food to the Liberties. We enjoyed all of the dishes we sampled there last week, including the Stir-fried Egg with crab, asparagus, rice, and Lap Cheong (think sausage) and the Dan-Dan Noodles with snow peas and peanut chili sauce. Best of all, you can get a good glass of wine to accompany your meal. I enjoyed the Torrontes Finca el Retiro and the Falanghina Terra Dora di Paolo. Michael has put together a nice selection of beers, too.

Now it is hard to believe that there was life before the Piazza, and the 2nd Street Renaissance, as my friend Rich envisioned it many years ago, is in full swing. We're homebodies since we've acquired more space and a dishwasher, but when we venture out it will be nice to dine at Kong and reminisce about the days in our little shoebox.

Note - You may enjoy reading Rick Nichols' article about Kong here.

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