Noord in South Philadelphia, PA

Soft shell crab over asparagus and egg 
Shellfish Waterzooi

While our classmates celebrated an informal reunion the day before, to celebrate 20 years since graduation, my friend and I met up in South Philly to do some catching up of our own. Both of us had prior engagements that kept us from the reported debauchery, but with the food we had, we were not missing out.

My friend's father moved to the old Italian neighborhood along East Passyunk Avenue ten years ago. Even in that short span of time, he has already seen trendy additions by way of shops and eateries, that of course comes with a younger and trendier crowd. One of these additions is Noord, quiet and quaint, yet airy and open with large windows and high ceilings. The decor is clean and simple, as one would expect from a Scandinavian establishment. Our server was a doppelganger for Mad Men's Joan, only slimmer and with half-sleeve tattoos, but just as charming.

My daughter came with me, which limited my selection. It's usually safer to order seafood for her as she is more particular with how her meats are prepared, so I had to forgo the pork meatballs and chicken over risotto which caught my eye. Instead, I ordered the soft-shell crab special, in an appetizer size that included one crab instead of two. It had a nice breading to it that was dense yet crunchy, with a nice mustard drizzle on top, and it sat on a few grilled asparagus with crumbles of boiled egg. We also shared a shellfish entree which had mussels, clams, and prawns, with delicate potatoes, carrots, and spinach, in a light creamy broth. I was craving more starch, like pasta, but alas, the only starches available were already in the dish or just bread.

In all, it was a great place to share a bottle of wine (BYOB), have a nice meal, and marvel at just how old we are. Twenty years from high school is a long time.

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