Review By: Eric Hoover -
Live in Philadelphia long enough and you’ll hear the name Jose Garces in reference to delicious dining. Just throughout Philadelphia alone, Garces Group manages six eateries featuring Spanish and Italian cuisine, a gourmet taco truck, and a whiskey bar. His Atlantic City noodle bar, Yubōka, features Ramen-inspired dishes that even Nucky Thompson would enjoy serving in a speakeasy.
I’ve been eating at Garces Trading Co. for years. The family style seating and seasonal menus have become a backdrop for important events in my life as a Philadelphian – Garces is almost always my ‘first date’ spot, when I want to impress a girl just enough without setting the bar too high. It’s been somewhere I’ve taken close friends and my parents to eat. And believe me, they are all picky when it comes to Italian food. I’ve even gone here alone, quietly celebrating a new job offer or post-apartment lease signing with a glass of Merlot or Bordeaux.
This time around, I dined with a cousin in from New York for the evening. One of the great things about Garces is its location, a spacious establishment in just about the center of, well, Center City. Have someone in from the train station, Greyhound terminal, or downtown for the weekend? Garces should be the spot for a meet up, and not only for its convenience.
There are many flavorful summer specials on the menu this year, including squashes and sweet cured meats. I opted for the Tuscan Fusilli Alla Carbonara, catching my eyes due to the runny egg served on top. Let’s face it; eggs are on everything these days – from burgers to pizza to, well apparently pasta dishes. I for one am totally ok with this.
You break into the beautifully soft-boiled oval and let its yoke drizzle over slightly al dente fusilli that’s been topped with pecorino cheese.Many would go for a white wine in this instance; frankly I was never good at pairing wines (except that red usually goes with steak and white with seafood, right?). As I’ve stated, my cousin (and entire family) and I are very into being of Italian ancestry and take the red wines seriously. This time we opted for the delicious (and not insanely overpriced) Château Bellegrave Bordeaux. Along with our pasta dishes this wine certainly met with approval. We also skipped dessert; because when you eat at Garces one typically doesn’t have room left in the digestive system for much else.
Garces is many things to me, and I hope it will become a location of special occasions for you.
Make a reservation at Garces Trading Company.