Brussels sprouts weren't always this trendy. They first appeared in northern Europe in the 5th century and were later grown in Brussels in the 13th century — hence the name. Brussels sprouts are part of the cabbage family, including broccoli and kale. Perhaps that's why brussels sprouts were grouped into the "yucky" category of vegetables for years; they've only recently re-emerged as a millennial obsession. We took some time to survey the sprouts in our area and have crafted a merit-based list of the top 10. Philly foodie reacts only (Ed. note: this is subjective and we are aware that this is a highly contentious ranking):
1. Tap House
How it’s prepared: charred with white miso, pomegranate, truffle salt.
The distribution of flavor is unparalleled and each sprout retains a balance of pomegranate emulsion and crispy. Lydia Roberts (C'17) says that "these sprouts are fried to perfection."
How it’s prepared: roasted with an anchovy vin dressing, brussels and hazelnut baba, and toasted hazelnuts.
In my opinion, Zahav is the best restaurant in Philly, so obviously their brussels will be high up on my list. However, they are seasonal and are not on their menu currently. In the meantime, check out the daily menu posted from Dizengoff to try and order them atop a bowl of creamy hummus.
3. Sampan/Double Knot
How it’s prepared: crispy with puffed rice, fish sauce, chili.
“These are the best in the city,” says Grant Proctor (C’17). “Something that’s super critical when it comes to brussels sprouts is getting those outer couple leaves to a crunchy brown point while maintaining a moist flavorful center.”
How it’s prepared: crispy with fig marmalade, goat cheese, bacon, candied walnuts.
Aksum brussels sprouts are so very unique. Nicole Luo (C'17) adds that, “The contrast between the sweet and the creamy from the goat cheese makes it more unique and the hefty portions make it perfect for sharing!”
Though they weren’t number one in my book, I get these sprouts without the bacon and they never fail to impress. The balance of the goat cheese with the fruit marmalade adds a creamy texture to the crispiness of the sprouts.
5. Harp and Crown
How it’s prepared: roasted with garlic, chestnut streusel.
Points for creativity on the chestnut streusel. The garlic comes through and the bites are well portioned.
6. Local 44
How it's prepared: fried with soy-chili vinaigrette.
These are only $4 during happy hour. That is all. You can’t go wrong with these!
How it's prepared: fried with yuzu salt, truffled cashews, and parmesan cheese.
How it's prepared: shaved with smoked mustard.
Points for creativity with these brussels sprouts! They are shaved and stand out in a restaurant filled with only veggies cooked to perfection.
How it’s prepared: crispy with roasted garlic yogurt and coriander dressing.
Lydia tells us that “these bad boys are are perfectly crispy and a good portion for sharing”.
10. Audrey Claire
How it's prepared: seared with shaved parmesan.
Darby Mason (C’18) confidently claims that, “Audrey Claire is one of the cutest, freshest, most friendly and delicious restaurants in Philly and their sprouts exemplify all those qualities and then some. They’re freshly seared to perfection and heaped with parm and every time I go I wish they could be served as a full entree rather than an appetizer because I could probably eat them for a straight two weeks and never get tired of them.”
Ingrid Hung (C’17), better known as @ingridhungry, makes all kinds of brussels sprouts— she even dabbled with brussels sprouts chips this week to switch it up. Follow Ingrid on Instagram to see the most amazing home cooked meals at Penn and beyond!