Looking for a sleek restaurant to impress a first date or a self-proclaimed foodie friend? Look no further. Danlu recently opened on 36th and Market, and it is glorious. The new restaurant offers Taiwanese–style street food and 20 beers on tap, plus wine and cocktails. Street’s personal favorites? The Sake Sangria ($11) and Alcoholic Bubble Tea ($12). But the appeal goes far beyond the drinks.
Danlu has a self–consciously urban feel, with an ambiance that would satisfy the gruffest food critics. An ice sculpture greets guests at the door. The interior is thumping music, amber light, hardwood tables and string lights. There are bold murals on the wall, hexagonal flooring, and, to top it all off, a fascinating architectural design.
“Danlu” means “Nectar” in Taiwanese. Danlu’s menu features small plates, large plates, noodles, rice dishes, Chinese sandwiches and raw compositions. To prepare the menu, Chef Patrick Feury and his partners ate and drank their way through five cities in Taiwan and China. (Ed. note: How do I sign up?) It’s an offshoot of Berwyn staple ; they share an executive chef.
The result is pure perfection. Each bite finishes with a textured crunch. We begin our feast with Danlu crispy edamame potstickers ($9). Chef Patrick Feury greets us, explaining that the delicate ginger vinaigrette was barrel–aged on–site. The potstickers are delightful, with crunchy crackers, smooth edamame fillings, and of course the famous melting vinaigrette.
As the meat–eater of the group, I’m tasked with sampling the Peking duck sandwich ($5). This is the best duck sandwich I’ve had in Philly. The duck is paired with cucumber, scallions, shiso peanut brittle, hoisin sauce, and sriracha for a kick of spice. All these ingredients are elegantly draped across a doughy steamed bun.
Next up: the sea salt–crusted shrimp pad thai ($17). The tofu and shrimp are cooked to perfection. Crunchy peanuts contribute a nice opposing texture. To say the pad thai was divine would be an understatement. If I were a bolder woman, I would bring in tupperware to take home some of the scrumptious goodness.
We rounded out our feast with the mango and chocolate sorbet ($7). The key to this dish’s deliciousness is its contrast. Chocolate and mango are in firm juxtaposition, while the black and white sesame tuile provides a note of the unexpected.