Le Bec Fin Is ‘Exciting and Relevant’; El Jarocho’s Tacos Al Pastor Are ‘Succulent and Greasy In a Good Way’

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• Craig LaBan returned to Le Bec Fin for the first time since downgrading it from four to two bells, and finds the restaurant has “escaped its near-death to become as exciting and relevant as it has been in a decade” under its new guard of French Laundry alumni. Chef Walter Abrams and his fiance, Pastry Chef Jennifer Smith, get props for their “knack for sourcing great seasonal and local ingredients, then spinning them into elegant combinations.” But LaBan questions whether “they can surmount Le Bec's serious image problem as an anachronism.” Based on the three bells he awarded them, there seems to be a good chance. [Inquirer]

• At chef’s favorite El Jarocho, Adam Erace comes across a “heady” posole rojo that had the color of “stark scarlet and smelled like roasted chilies and pork fat.” The broth was so “rich” and had a mouthfeel “you could almost chew.” A monster chicken, ham, Oaxaca cheese, avocado and jalapeno-stuffed torta required unhinging his jaws “like a python” just to take a bite of the “messy construction.” Nachos at Jarocho “succeeds where others fail,” with toppings spread evenly throughout the layered heap of chips. A chicken burrito proved to loosely wrapped to contain its contents, but the tacos al pastor were “succulent and greasy in a good way,” and made a “better handheld option.” [Courier-Post]