If there were any doubts on the legitimacy of "new American cuisine," let Chloe try to silence them. The quality of the food at this intimate little place was above and beyond any normal American bistro food, even though a few dull spots marred an otherwise superb meal.

The appetizers prove that Chloe doesn't shy away from strange or unique flavors, sometimes with mixed results. The grilled pizza ($11) had a chewy, grilled crust, topped by a sweet fig paste that complemented the gooey mildness of the gorgonzola cheese. However, if eaten in more than small bites, the fig paste quickly becomes overwhelmingly sweet and too much to handle without a couple of brisk swigs of water. The melt-inyour-mouth gnocchi ($8) were accompanied by a tasty though standard tomato ragu that added to the delicateness of the dish.

The entrees of Chloe provide just as much variety as the appetizers, and deliver on almost every front. Although the ravioli dish ($16.50) actually had very few ravioli, the honey goat cheese and toasted pine nuts provided contrast to the texture and flavor of the creamy dish. The butterfish on a bed of polenta with lump crab meat ($23.00) was a mishmash of different flavors and textures. However, the bed of polenta and the lump crab meat in an herb tomato sauce made up for the otherwise ordinary taste of the fish.

The rack of BBQ pork ribs ($22), with macaroni and cheese and collard greens, was a stand-out, both flavorful and filling. Surprisingly, this chic urban BYO makes this Southern staple well, despite the lack of a smoker out back. Crispy on the outside, the tender meat falls off the bone, while the sauce has a vinegary, spicy kick to it. The mac and cheese is unlike any you'll find elsewhere, as creamy, dense parmesan makes for a much more flavorful and assertive side dish. Even if the dish was a bit heavy, Chloe excelled with this gem of down-home Southern cooking.

The cheesecake ($6) provided a perfect way to top off the meal, since it was fluffy and creamy enough to be extremely satisfying and not dense enough to weigh down the rest of the meal. Surrounded by a bed of raspberry sauce and two strawberries, the cheesecake had a soft graham cracker crust that barely yielded to the fork.

Despite the wealth of very good food at Chloe, there may well be cheaper alternatives to sate your new American cuisine needs. Still, despite the price, Chloe provides a delicious dining experience with a wealth of savory options, and if you happen to be in Old City with money to burn and a date to impress, head over to Chloe early and grab a table.


All comments eligible for publication in Daily Pennsylvanian, Inc. publications.