I am completely obsessed with the show Top Chef. The winner of Season 7, Kevin Sbraga, was one of my all-time favorite contestants. He is from the Philadelphia area (New Jersey) and for the past several years I have kept tabs on his plans to open a restaurant in Philly. A few months ago that finally happened and I have been waiting for the perfect opportunity to go to Sbraga. I decided turning 30 was a good reason, and my amazing friend Rae came with me on my birthday.

I was beside myself with excitement. Walking in to the restaurant the first thing I noticed was how great the space is: open, rustic, classic, beautiful. Then I saw the open kitchen, which is really cool, and then immediately saw Kevin in the kitchen. I was grinning from ear to ear and exclaimed “That’s Kevin!” Our really nice server smiled and I started rambling about how today was my 30th birthday and how I’m a huge fan of Kevin and how I’m just so happy to be here. Our server said, “Oh, I’ll take you to meet him, and you can get a picture with him!” I never would have asked for that, so it was so kind of him to offer. Sure enough, Kevin was happy to have his picture taken with us. I couldn’t believe how genuinely nice and welcoming he was. Even when my flash wasn’t working he patiently waited while several photos were taken. Here we are, what a great way to start the meal!

The table bread is the most delicious puff bread with truffle oil. I ate two of them 🙂

We were then served an appetizer, compliments of the chef, celery flan with lobster. It was so unique and delicious. Sbraga does a four-course prix fixe, so Rae and I got a variety of dishes and tried each other’s meals. I tried several things for the first time: foie gras, sweetbreads, quail, escargot and granita. The foie gras soup was so rich and good.

Black cod with kimchi and apples; gnocchi and goat cheese:

We also had parsley risotto with escargot, quail with sweetbreads, chocolate granita with mascarpone, and frozen hot chocolate with Grand Marnier ice cream.

Everything was SO good. It was for sure one the best meals I have ever eaten. The service was amazing and the overall experience was such a pleasure. About halfway through the meal our server brought me a Sbraga card, signed by Kevin, wishing me a happy birthday. I could not have been happier!

When the meal was over I really didn’t want to leave, so we moved over to the bar to get a drink and soak in the atmosphere a little bit more. While we were sitting at the bar, Kevin came over to the bar. He shook our hands, and asked me how my birthday was going, and we chitchatted about Philadelphia! At this point my cheeks were hurting from smiling so much. Chatting with the nice bartender, I somehow mentioned that Rae is a singer, and both he and Kevin asked her to sing something, so she sang a high note. They were both very impressed. It was just such a cool moment – we were all just talking and laughing like we all knew each other. I’m so impressed with the friendly, relaxed atmosphere while serving such delicious and impressive food. I highly recommend Sbraga!

About couchcuisine

I like traveling, cooking and eating...especially with friends.
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