I recently dined at Irwin’s in Philadelphia. The restaurant is located on the rooftop of the Bok Building, a former school turned collective of small businesses, non-profits, artist workshops, a bar and restaurant. I previously visited Bok for the bar and yoga classes, and I was excited to experience the restaurant.
We arrived ahead of our reservation and decided to have a drink in the open seating area before making our way to our outdoor table. Irwin’s currently requires diners to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination, which we showed the hostess upon arrival. It was a beautiful September night and we were happy to take in the city skyline while enjoying our meal.
The restaurant serves modern Sicilian cuisine. Our waiter took our drink order, explained the menu and asked about any allergies. We decided to participate in the chef’s tasting menu, which included a selection of most items from the small menu.
Our friend mentioned a melon sensitivity to our waiter and they still brought us a dish with watermelon from the mezze menu. They apologized and took the dish away immediately. They brought a fritto misto plate in its place, which came with fried sea bass, shrimp and lemon. We agreed frying the lemon was an odd choice, and the bite of fried lemon rind I had was too bitter for my liking. I did enjoy the fried seafood.
Up next was the pastas. There are five on the menu (gnocchi, bucatini, spaghetti, trofie and maisino) and we tried each. I enjoyed the various pasta sauces, though the pasta itself was more al dente than I prefer. Of these, my favorite was the bucatini, with tomato sauce and ricotta. The rest of my group wasn’t impressed with the pastas.
There are only two entrées on the menu and we had both: chicken and fish of the day. The chicken was prepared bone-in, in a sweet and sour agrodolce sauce. The fish of the day was mahi mahi served whole, grilled with citrus and salsa verde. I enjoyed both dishes, though the chicken was the more interesting bite. We had a fennel salad and broccoli rabe on the side with our entrées.
The view is one of the big draws to Irwin’s. While I enjoyed the meal more than the rest of my group, there are other Italian restaurants I would prefer to revisit.
800 Mifflin St.
Philadelphia PA 19148
tel 215 693 6206
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