PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The finalists for the James Beard Award were announced last week and included some Philadelphia restaurants, chefs and restaurateurs.
Jessica Boyington digs into to some top-notch dishes at two special restaurants in this week's Top 6.
MIGHTY BREAD COMPANY - OUTSTANDING BAKERY
Mighty Bread Company has been around for seven years, so owner Chris DiPiazza is thrilled by the recent James Beard nomination for "Outstanding Bakery".
The nomination is well deserved because this menu packs a mighty punch! For the last five years, they've been thriving in their South Philly location, and loved by customers of all ages.
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They're known for their bread and will have up to twenty types at any time, but their menu has a lot of everything!
Get ready for a full breakfast and lunch spread, featuring crunchy salads, avocado toast on everything sourdough, quiche, salmon toast with caviar, sweet or savory Danishes, buns, muffins, tea cakes, chocolate chip cookies, and every drink you can imagine. (The hibiscus lemonade and the oat milk cortado were fantastic!) They also do a spin on the classic bacon egg and cheese that's worth the trip alone.
ROYAL IZAKAYA - BEST CHEF MID-ATLANTIC
With a quick glance at the red lantern off 2nd Street in Queen Village, you might be unsure that you're in the right place, but I promise...you are!
It's the exclusive yet attainable, Royal Izakaya. It's run by Best Chef Mid-Atlantic nominee Jesse Ito, and from his brain came an eclectic Japanese restaurant with anime and old movies projected on the wall in a dimly lit bar.
All the ingredients here are as fresh as could be, with over 200 pounds of fish flown in from Japan weekly. The menu is a mix of modern and traditional recipes, with some inspired by another Chef, Jesse's father.
My personal favorites included:
- Fried eggplant with miso glaze and sesame seeds
- Guacamole roll (king salmon, tuna, wasabi oil)
- Chicken yakitori with soy-cured egg yolk for dipping
- Shrimp shumai with soy vinegar and spicy mustard
- Wagyu over black sesame sauce with a lemon pepper squeeze
In the back of the restaurant is Royal Omakase. Just one of the eight seats is arguably the hardest reservation to snag in the entire city.
There are two seatings every Tuesday through Saturday, with 17 courses meticulously handcrafted right in front of you, by Ito himself.