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[Will Burhop/DP File Photo]

Like many of Stephen Starr's other restaurants, Tangerine fuses a variety of culturally flavorful cuisines with a strong emphasis on aesthetic appeal -- both in presentation and environment.

The facade of the restaurant on Market Street near Penn's Landing has glowing orange lettering, providing a glimpse of the spirit of Tangerine.

232 Market St. (215) 627-5116 Fare: North African and Mediterranean fusion Exotic flavors and family-style portions round out this Stephen Starr experience.
Inside, my guest and I found ourselves surrounded by decor that is Mediterranean, Spanish and North African inspired. Cloths hang billowed from the ceiling, walls are inlaid with several hundred individually lit candles and rooms are separated by hanging tapestries of beads. The dark environment helped create an intimate setting which made my guest and I feel as if we were eating in a sanctuary.

This visual array is supported by an extensive menu filled with a variety of vegetarian, seafood and meat dishes. Though my guest and I were overwhelmed by the choices on the menu, as it is full of references to exotic spices, our waiter was able to explain each dish fully.

When it came to choosing an appetizer, my guest and I struggled between the harissa gnocchi ($8.50) and salmon ceviche ($14), finally settling on the salmon ceviche as the gnocchi was described as a "meal in itself" by our waiter.

Though the appetizer was small in portion, my guest and I soon discovered that the dish was packed with flavor. The chilled sashimi salmon cubes, black olives and red onions were laced with a pleasantly tangy lemon marinade. Beneath all this was an avocado paste, which added an extra dimension to the flavor and texture of the appetizer.

For the entree, my guest and I chose the pistachio crusted duck breast ($27.50) and the Tuscan steak ($29). Tangerine serves its food family-style, which means entrees are shared by all the guests at the table, and my guest and I took advantage of each other's choices. The Angus New York strip was cooked to a perfect medium rare and was served sliced atop a bed of spinach and tomato with a shallot-potato galette. Essentially, it was steak and potatoes taken to another level, encapsulating the fusion spirit of the restaurant.

The duck was prepared rare atop a bed of onions, along with seared foie gras and a caramelized pear. The creamy onions balanced out the crunchy pistachio crust of the duck.

After our entrees, my guest and I chose the chocolate intrigue ($9.50) for our dessert, though we were also tempted by the warm apple cinnamon baklava ($9). The dessert came to us in three parts. Composed of a mousse-like cake, a "chocolate pot de cr‹¨«me" -- which could be likened to a chocolate cr‹¨«me brulee -- and a chocolate brownie topped with praline ice cream, the dessert was a trio of rich chocolate flavor in every consistency imaginable.

At the end of the meal, we ordered the Tibetan tea ($4) at the suggestion of our waiter. The warmth and bitterness of the tea opposed the sweet richness of the meal and dessert to help our taste buds cope with the welcome shock of flavor we had just experienced through dinner.

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