It’s 5:15 p.m. on a Wednesday, and Friday Saturday Sunday, Rittenhouse’s tucked–away gem of elevated American food, isn’t as crowded as you might expect. It’s one of the harder reservations to snag in Philly, and we’re here to see if the food is worth the wait.
Ambiance–wise, Friday Saturday Sunday fits well in the bi–level townhouse it occupies. It’s reminiscent of the townhouse from the Gossip Girl series finale, somewhere your fanciest relative might host Thanksgiving. Tufted leather chairs and soft lighting lend a touch of hominess, and waiters in matching black suspenders and white shirts swirl through the restaurant asking if there’s anything they can recommend. The walls upstairs are covered in realistic paintings of Greco–Roman–seeming architecture and bathed in candlelight—a random choice, but it works. The restaurant itself is far enough away from Rittenhouse Square to feel removed from the hustle, but close enough to walk right to it.
We’ve requested a table by the window, and as we settle into the corner, our waiter comes over. He’s a good sport about the camera rigging and our insistence on getting “photogenic” food, and recommends the Arctic char from the raw bar ($17), the confit carrots ($13), and the roasted chicken ($25).
The char comes out surprisingly fast—or unsurprisingly, when you consider it isn’t cooked—bright pink, almost alive–seeming, swimming in a soup of the greenest cucumber green chiles and garnished with crispy nori. We dig in and drown the pieces of fresh fish in the sauce, finishing it quickly and feeling, if not full, at least amuse–bouched.
The carrots and the chicken come out together, vibrant oranges on both plates playing off each other—carrot yogurt on one side and butternut squash garnish on the other. The carrots taste like fall, sweetly glazed and crunchy but with enough give that you can tell they’ve been slow–roasted. A burnt coconut crumble on top of the carrots adds to the sweetness and gives a little extra texture.
We swirl them in the carrot yogurt and alternate bites of the chicken. And that chicken. It’s perfectly roasted, a portion big enough to share, topped with broccolini and accented with butternut squash puree. We tear into it. Though it’s early spring, it feels decadent and wintry, the kind of food best eaten near a roaring fire with a hefty glass of red wine.
With our three plates to share—two small and one main—we come away feeling full but not stuffed, having spent more money than is advisable on any given Wednesday night. As we walk down the stairs, we pass couples on dates, patrons sitting quietly at the bar, and a smiling staff in minimalist quasi–uniforms. Friday Saturday Sunday isn’t for every day (hence the name) and you definitely can’t wear sweatpants, but if you can snag a reservation and you have something to celebrate, it’s worth it.
TL;DR: Come here to celebrate with some fancy classics done right—if you can get a table.
Location: 261 South 21st Street, Philadelphia, PA
Hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday
Tues—Thurs, Sun.: 5 p.m.—10 p.m
Fri.—Sat.: 5 p.m.—11 p.m.