by Kristin Detterline-Munro
Hash browns at Butcher and Singer
Potatoes: They're a carb-counter’s nemesis and a comfort food lover’s fantasy. Since we’re part of the latter category, we’ve taken the liberty of rounding up the city’s best sides of spuds, in all of their whipped, fried, sour cream-smothered loveliness.
Not surprisingly, potatoes’ versatility makes them the ideal wingman for entrées of all kinds, whether sprung from the hallowed burners of Philly’s most revered kitchens or at your no-frills Saturday brunch spot. Just like its choice slabs of beef, Ruth’s Chris Steak House (260 S. Broad St., 215-790-1515) takes its spuds selection seriously. Purists will love justlike- mom-made standbys like garlicky mashed, three-cheese au gratin or the hefty one-pound baked potato. The irresistible sweet potato casserole, blanketed by a thick pecan crust, is like a taste of Thanksgiving even in the summer. Stephen Starr’s Butcher and Singer (1500 Walnut St., 215-732-4444), a Rittenhouse steakhouse with a swinging supperclub vibe, rivals Ruth’s Chris in nearly every way for its simple potato sides—with just one exception: B&S’s stuffed hash browns. The groupfriendly dish is made up of layers of peeled and diced Idaho potatoes, Vidalia onions, sour cream and butter, and is like nothing you’ve ever wolfed down with a plate of eggs at a late-night greasy spoon.
At Rittenhouse haute spot Rouge (205 S. 18th St., 215-732-6622), the only thing that makes the famous signature burger even more satisfying is a side order of crispy truffle Parmesan pommes frites. Beyond your favorite Jewish deli, latkes are tough to find in this town, but Supper (926 South St., 215-592-8180) comes through, whipping up a potato pancake so perfect—a crab, lemon and caper creation with mustard sauce—that you’ll be too jaded to ever ask for seconds when Bubbe makes them. Award-winning restaurant Lacroix (210 W. Rittenhouse Square, 215- 546-9000) may be the pinnacle of fine dining, but even chef de cuisine Jason Cichonski can’t pass up a chance to test his talents on two seasonal tater sides: sweet potato with smoked soy and horseradish and fingerling potatoes with beef jerky and shallot.
PHOTOGRAPH BY JASON VARNEY