Rittenhouse Square’s lost weekend returns anew

Rittenhouse Square’s lost weekend returns anew

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Longtime fans of the old Friday Saturday Sunday, 261 S. 21st St., might not recognize the place now — as the fish tank in the upstairs dining room, the somewhat-kitschy décor and the old comfort-food menu are all things of the past.

Chefs Chad and Hanna Williams purchased the building in late 2015 and spent more than a year renovating the space, creating a more refined and upscale-looking interior with a New-American menu to match.

The first thing you notice upon entering is the sleek downstairs bar, which now serves up such timely named cocktails as the Safe Space ($13) and the Alternative Fact ($12).

Then you can head upstairs to the dining area. People familiar and enamored with the original restaurant might have trouble adjusting to the revamped vision and direction, but trust us when we tell you there is more to the menu than meets the eye. At first glance, you might think the thrill is gone because the chefs don’t really oversell the dishes. But the magic in the execution is amazing.

For example, the escargot ($13) have an irresistible Southern decadence, with the dish served on a buttermilk biscuit with hazelnut butter. The result is something akin to an elevated biscuits-and-gravy crossbred with classic French flavors. The octopus ($16) had a smoky Southwestern feel and was served with perfectly roasted and tender menudo, rancho gordo beans and pickled red onions. Think of it as gourmet franks and beans with lovely tentacles taking the place of hot dogs. The confit carrots ($12) take your palate on a colorful trip through the garden with a burnt-coconut crumble and salsa verde balancing out the slight sweetness of the glazed carrots and carrot yogurt.

Seductive flavors and textures dominate the menu. The scallop ceviche ($17) has delicately sliced scallops and a powerfully bright garnish of grilled pineapple and radish. The chicken liver mousse ($13) is silky smooth and pretty much melts as soon as it hits the tongue. Equally delicate is the roasted potato gnocchi ($15), as light and airy as you can find in the city, and backed by flavorful potato gremolata and burnt cream.

Yes, Friday Saturday Sunday made a lot of changes and took its sweet time doing it. But taste the results and you, like us, will agree it was well worth the wait.

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