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Pumpkin Restaurant Review

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Pumpkin Restaurant ReviewTucked away on the corner of 17th and South Streets is the quaint little Pumpkin Restaurant, a pleasant eatery that embraces the autumn season with a menu that’s rich with the colors and flavors of the fall season. Before going, you should make sure of two important things: bring cash. A decent amount. The restaurant doesn’t take credit, and even though it’s a BYOB, the check at the end of the night is likely to be pricey. Also, make reservations. At absolute maximum capacity, Pumpkin only seats 30, and it fills up fast on the weekends. 

Pumpkin is elegantly designed; window panes and soft candle lighting adorns the walls, presenting a subtle atmosphere that terrifically compliments the autumn season with a wonderful ambient glow. The waitress’ are enthusiastic and very knowledgeable of a menu that changes daily, and the entire experience is very rewarding. For diners who like their space, I recommend going early, as the dining room is very cramped. 

The menu is small, but offers a wide variety of options for any number of pallets. For starters, the Cider Braised Pork Belly ($12) really gets things going. The pork is rich and tender; you can literally cut it with your fork. Complimented with carrots, squash and zucchini to give it an earthy, fall flavor and tied together with a wonderful cider glaze, it’s the perfect seasonal appetizer to begin your meal. 

The soup of the day, an Apple, Cabbage & Potato soup ($7) served with guanciale and croutons, is creamy and delicious. The tang of the apple really smacks your pallet while finishing strong with smokiness of the potato and pork.

The PEI Mussels ($10), served with shallot and saffron in a white wine sauce, were a generous portion but just ok. Aside from the price and how many mussels you received, nothing really stood out about this dish, so it’s really only for the diner craving shell fish. 

The star of the appetizer menu was, far and away, the Grilled Rock Octopus ($12). Served over fingerling potatoes in a Romesco sauce, this dish blew me away. The octopus is tender, moist and grilled perfectly. Tangy at first that gives way to a soft, subtle sweetness, this is a dish that would turn even the most stubborn diners onto the potential of octopus. 

PumpkinMoving onto the entrée courses, the Arctic Char ($24), served over cabbage, lentils and green apple in a Riesling sauce, was contradictory and fun. The heavy, salmon-esque char is really brought to life by the light, springy apple and cabbage slaw it’s served over. The lentils bind the two flavors nicely, creating a dish that seems like it shouldn’t work, but does. 

The Pork Two Ways ($23) is your bacon lover’s dream, a sausage and loin that’s tender, moist, spicy and sweet, really bringing out the full potential of the pork and quite delicious overall. Served over pipperade and white beans, it might be the safest choice on the menu, and certainly doesn’t disappoint. 

Now, usually I’m reluctant on Hanger Steak. It’s traditionally a tough, chewy cut of meat that’s reserved for the bold and the brazen. As I’m the kind of guy who likes his filet pan seared, I usually steer away from this cut of meat. However, today, I stand before you, humbled. Pumpkin’s Hanger Steak ($24) was so tender and juicy that I almost refuse to believe it was the cut of steak they claimed it was. Drizzled with a sour olive jus and served over a pureed celery root that was so good I don’t think I’ll ever eat mashed potatoes again, it really should change the Hanger Steak reputation. 

Vegetarian? No problem. Pumpkin offers a soup, salad and entrée trio ($35) that could make a believer out of a carnivore. The pumpkin gnocchi entrée was light with a deep, earthy finish that was as autumn as anything I’d tasted all night. The meal was wrapped up with a flourless and yolkless chocolate cake and passionfruit sorbet ($7), which was light yet rich, and a vanilla bean panicote w/ caramel deloche ($7), both wonderful finishes to a wonderful meal. 

The leaves are changing, the air is cooling, and Pumpkin offers a menu that embraces the changing season. Try it yourself, you won’t be disappointed.

Address: 

1713 South Street

Philadelphia, PA 19146

t. (215) 545-4448

Hours: 

Tues - Thurs:

6:00 pm - 12:00 am

Fri - Sun:

5:30 pm - 12:00 am