R.I.P. Mandoline

When my wife and I moved to Philadelphia, we immediately recognized that it was a restaurant town. There seemed to be eateries everywhere, and new ones were cropping up all over the city. Especially ubiquitous were (and are) the BYOBs – flouters of the expensive and difficult-to-obtain Philadelphia Liquor License who allow guests to bring their own bottles of wine (and other imbibles) to accompany meals.

Anyway, within weeks of arriving, the wife and I put together a list of all the restaurants we wanted to try during our time in Philly. Some, like Le Bec Fin, Vetri, and Striped Bass, remain out (way) of our price range, but we’ve managed to hit quite a few others in the past three years.

Last night, in an experimental mood, we consulted the list for a place we’ve always wanted to try. We decided on Mandoline, a romantic BYOB at the outskirts Old City, nightlife mecca of our fair city. After making a reservation, we caught a cab to 2nd and Chestnut, eager for a new culinary experience.

And then something odd happened. The restaurant ceased to exist.

Now, I don’t mean that Mandoline was literally sucked into a black hole or some other matter-eating anomaly right in front of our eyes. Instead, Mandoline had quietly (at least to us) shuttered its doors a few months back and a slightly similar sounding Korean restaurant had taken its places, as well as its phone number. They were only too happy to take our reservation.

Instead of honoring it, however, we were lucky enough to be right next door to another restaurant on our list – the fanatically well-regarded Amada (review coming soon… I promise).

With the rash of restaurant closings lately, I suppose we were fortunate that Mandoline was the only one we didn’t get to try. Also closing up this past year were cross-offs like Pasion, Pif, La Boheme, and Washington Square.

This whole experience makes me hesitant to add any more places to our list. The restaurant business is hard enough without a jinx like ours.


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