Astral Plane is just one glimpse into Philadelphia's diverse history.
In the early 19th century, one might have heard the roar of printing presses at this quaint townhouse on Lombard Street, now home to this cozy, intimate and warm restaurant, which originally housed The Philadelphia Independent, the first newspaper to be owned by a black woman in the country.
Although the only reminder of the woman lies in several photos and newspaper clippings by the bar, endless photographs and artwork have continued to mask the red walls and cloak the restaurant in a rich and inviting history since its opening in 1973.
Resisting the urge to scour the fascinating wall decor, my guest and I were led through the bar into the dimly lit dining room. Our table, nestled in the corner, was home to numerous quaint animal figurines and candles.
|Astral Plane 1708 Lombard Street (215) 546-6230 Fare: American $7-$14 Excellent comforting cuisine served in an eclectic, cozy setting with soft jazz.
Despite my love of the atmosphere, true joy came with the numerous vegetarian choices on the menu. The chosen field greens salad with goat cheese, sun-dried cherries and pecans ($7) was perfectly covered in a balsamic vinaigrette that was nothing of the ordinary.
The fresh ravioli "Red and Green" ($12) was truly red and green and truly delicious. The pesto cream sauce perfectly accompanied the sun-dried tomato/mozzarella and Boursin/basil ravioli in the most beautifully presented pasta plate I have ever seen.
The cashew-crusted brie ($9) looked and tasted so delectable that I could not help but sneak several samples off my guest's plate.
As we sipped our drinks, a crisp glass of Pinot Grigio and a delectable Mango Lassie, our second course was brought out within moments. My quesadilla de flores ($13) did not only contain squash blossoms but chevre, red pepper, zucchini and onion and was simply delightful. The smoky chipotle sauce added the perfect spice to the quesadillas and the mixed green salad finished the plate off with a cool crisp finish.
My guest's filet mignon with a whole grain mustard/Cognac sauce ($24) was succulent and tender, it even looked delicious to a vegetarian.
The desserts were great as well. The chocolate cake with fresh raspberries ($7) melted in your mouth while the apple tart ($7) with a vanilla cream was simply irresistible.
The warm atmosphere, the lull of faint conversation and the extraordinarily friendly wait staff kept us sipping our coffee well into the evening.
If you want to spend a pleasant evening with mouth-watering food, an amiable staff and a cozy and intimate atmosphere that will leave you wanting to just soak up the history captured on its walls, Astral Plane is the perfect place.
But watch out. If you were looking to reserve your favorite table, you better do it in advance -- the best table in the house has already been reserved for this Valentine's Day.Comments powered by Disqus
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