Darkness envelops you when you step through the doorway. Slowly, you move through a narrow hallway into a long dining room, hung with lush red velvet draperies and lit by hundreds of candles. Sit back in the cushioned leather chairs, as exotic spicy scents float through the air and soft music coos in the background -- you've arrived at Philadelphia's newest romantic hotspot. Tangerine is the most recent addition to Stephen Starr's rapidly growing fleet of trendy eateries, the most popular being Buddakan. Located on 3rd and Market streets, the restaurant opened in December and has been wowing customers with its stunning decor and culinary flair ever since. On almost any night, the dining room is filled with a diverse mix of people -- local celebrities, rising young professionals and pure food lovers all crowd around the low tables amid the twinkling lights for an eclectic experience. My guest and I started with a cocktail and leisurely surveyed the diverse and ambitious menu, which combines Mediterranean, French and Morrocan cooking styles to create an exciting range of dishes. The meals are served family-style at Tangerine, which means you can share the different entrZes with your entire table, sampling the various international flavors. We started off our meal with Pan-Seared Shrimp ($14), which was served in a tomato couli with warm mozzarella. The seafood was fresh and tasty, complimented by the savory tomato. My guest suggested we try another starter, the Meza Platter el Tangiers ($27) -- a medley of Mediterranean appetizers, chosen by the chef and served on a huge platter. Some of the items on the platter included hummus and tabouli, seasoned olives and eggplant -- providing a diverse variety of flavors and textures. While the introductory courses were unusual and tasty, the entrZes really were the piece de resistance of the meal. I sampled the Crispy Skin Salmon ($22), which was accompanied by a leek gratin and a kumquat salad. The salmon was fresh and mouth-watering, complemented by the appetizing salad. For the second entree, my guest also chose seafood, ordering the Chilean Sea Bass ($26.50). The sea bass was topped with a parmesan basil crust and was served with mashed potatoes. Chilean sea bass is a culinary highlight at many restaurants across the city. But at Tangerine, this dish was truly superb -- soft and flaky, it melted in your mouth. This is undoubtedly one of the best things on the menu. We were now more than pleasantly full, basking in the warm red light of the dining room. But although we thought we couldn't possibly eat any more, dessert still awaited us. And the desserts here are worth waiting for. After lengthy consideration, we decided upon the Tangerine Chocolate Cake for desert. The individual cake was surrounded with a layer of dark chocolate, while the inside was composed of layers of chocolate cake, chocolate mousse and orange-flavored cream. We lingered over frothy cappuccino as our meal drew to a close. And finally, it was time to dim the candle and leave. So, if you're looking for extravagant dining in an exotic locale, look no further than the city's newest super-Starr restaurant, Tangerine.Comments powered by Disqus
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