202 E Girard Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19125
I am loathe to review this place for fear of never getting a seat here again, but I’m just a generous kind of guy, so do us all a favor and make this a special occasion place.
Murph’s looks like any dive Irish Bar one might find in Fishtown/Northern Liberties / Kensington. You can get a PBR for $4. There are no fewer than SIX busts of Elvis on the shelves behind the bar.
You would expect to find cheesesteak egg rolls, burgers, and wings as highlights of the menu. You would NEVER have been so wrong in your life.
Toiling away in the basement is an Italian import named Francesco Bellastelli who crafts pasta and sauces and seasonings the likes of which one expects at a four star. The ingredients (and even the paired wines) are Italian imports, and not the kinds you will find in even the best-stocked supermarket or State Store.
The food is INCREDIBLE, fresh, homemade, and expertly prepared. Our first appetizer was the “Taste of Home” antipasto comprised of Speck, Prosciutto di Parma, Capicolla and a Caprese salad with homemade fresh buffalo Mozz. This apparently changes depending on what is on hand. We also shared (3-people) an order of homemade (actually EVERYTHING is homemade) lobster ravioli in a cream sauce, each accompanied by a perfectly plump and juicy shrimp.
My wife had Fiocchetti alle pere con salsa di taleggio (little purses of pasta with pear and cheese) drizzled with honey.. She ordered the honey on the side, because this WAS a little sweet.
Son had manicotti filled with ricotta, lobster and shrimp (again in a cream sauce.) He is 6 foot 5 and a hearty eater, but could not finish (even with our assists.) I blame the bread with EVOO and Balsamic (not pictured.) A second basket of bread was automatically provided after we’d demolished the first. You WILL want a second one to sop up every drop of the creamy sauces.
To ensure we had adequate protein, I ordered the rack of lamb (the most expensive dish they had, at $20) which was a full rack of tender lamb roasted with olive oil, roasted garlic and sprigs of rosemary. This is as good as lamb gets in the city.
Too full for dessert, we were offered complimentary shots of a lovely orange limoncello. As good as they were, I wish we’d saved room for dessert.
Service was pure “Yo!”, but supremely knowledgeable about all the food (and wine pairings.)
Let’s keep this “hidden gem” to ourselves, Capisce ?