Dining Review: Her Place Supper Club – Philadelphia, PA
With three supper clubs under our belt (FLX Table, Mosquito Supper Club, Reverie Social Table), I was curious if there were similar dining experiences in our area. No joke, I found one instantly as soon as I had the idea to look locally – Her Place Supper Club tucked away in Center City Philadelphia – a new DESKRIB Discovery! Our unintentional mission to explore supper clubs around the world was starting to become a trend.
I did not do much research beyond that – the name alone had me sold. On Google Reviews, the rating was 4.9 stars for 26 reviews so based on that I thought it may be pretty undiscovered and reservations would not be an issue. Well, I was soooo wrong – this place was extremely difficult to get into.
Reservations here drop every other Sunday at 6PM EST for the following two weeks of dinners that range from various days during the week for times of 6PM or 830PM. You will not find weekend reservations here folks as they are not open. It costs $5 a person to reserve the spot. Getting a reservation here is tough. The first Sunday we attempted, I logged in at 6:01PM and everything was already gone. I did not realize this was going to be so competitive but by the looks of it, seats are extremely limited.
The menu was released ahead of the next reservation drop and it was right up our alley – we were going to grab them this time, we had to. Just look at this menu!
The two Sundays later, we tried to make reservations again. Kevin and I both had computers up with time.gov counting down to exactly 6:00:00PM. We clicked on open times and with each click, a blue bar appeared that the time was no longer available. Our top times and dates gone, we scrambled to just pick any day. And with that, we missed out again on any reservation for the next two week cycle. Shocked and defeated, we did not really know what to do and we were even more bummed because the menu was so perfect! I decided to waitlist any reservation time we could possibly make in the event something changed.
Later that day, I got an email that reservations opened due to cancelation – I was five minutes delayed in seeing the email and by the time I logged on, it was gone. But it did exist – the chance of cancellations were real and I had a fighting chance. Tuesday evening while waiting at the car shop during an oil change, I got a cancellation email and I got on immediately – and there it was – Wednesday at 8:30PM. I just grabbed it. Was this going to be way past my bedtime? Yes. But we were in!
Chef Amanda has quite a resume – her passion for cooking started at a young age and her experiences are top notch with diverse spanning from the Vetri family of restaurants to Joe Beef in Montreal. Total foodie girl crush. Chef Amanda started Her Place Supper Club as a pop up restaurant in June 2021 and shortly after established a permanent residency on Samson Street.
The menu changes every two weeks so you really could come often and try many different things. Chef Amanda works with local farmers and producers for local, fresh ingredients to create these menus. At the time we visited, there was a BYOB policy in place which is subject to change in the future as they just obtained their liquor license. (UPDATE: No longer BYOB and they have a beautiful selection of wines by the bottle! We got the chance to try this on a return visit in October 2022 and we loved the wine list.)
The dining ambiance was exactly the kind we love – homey, casual space with tons of personality as if you were visiting a friend’s home for dinner, kitchen around the corner where you can peak at the action, music from the 2000s, and a room full of foodie loving people. The place settings were antique vintage tea house style. We sat in the back corner of the restaurant with a great view of the prep table so we loved having prime seating for the show.
As we all sat at our tables, we were given a few housekeeping announcements from Chef Amanda. While the structure up until this point has been BYOB, Her Place just got their liquor license so they offered hand crafted cocktails – they will have one sparkling, one shaken, and one stirred. They are starting to develop their wine portfolio now so I am very excited to see how that adds to the experience on a return visit (yes, I am already planning the next meal). We did not indulge in the cocktails this time but reviews around the room were very positive and served in the most beautiful assortment of cocktail glasses.
The next announcement was that there were two additions to the menu that could be added the your dining experience – additions to the menu?! I do not know why I did not see that coming but we were very intrigued. The first addition was … wait for it … soft shell crab – to which I literally vocalized a gasp and celebratory yay – how freaking lucky were we?! The other addition was a roast beef with green pepper mayo, fries and radishes that was on the menu the previous week but was such a hit they kept it another week. We obviously decided to add the soft shell crab into our evening. I did however have to clarify that we each wanted our own crab portion – that alerted me that perhaps the intention was not to each order our own but that we should share it. Only time will tell if we made the right decision here as we did not know what to expect from the dining style.
And with that, the dinner service begun and we could not contain our excitement.
As we watched the Chef plate the first course – the number of plates on the table did not match the number of people in the room. Was the intention to share each course? Was that why I had to clarify two servings of the soft shell crab? A brief nervousness entered that we may have over ordering but then we recalled – there is never a thing as too much soft shell crab. At least now we were aware of how the dining experience worked – courses were shared in pairs – so if you are a group of four, you will get two plates that is to be shared. As a spoiler, this ended up being a perfect way to experience the menu.
Radishes and ramp butter
When we arrived at the table, these beauties were already waiting for us. Fresh radishes with ramp butter drizzled in olive oil. I cannot recall ever having radishes like this but they ate just like a carrot. It was easy to tell they were extremely fresh. Slap that ramp butter on eat bite was delightful. Ever since we discovered ramps last year we became obsessed. The season for ramps is extremely short so it was such a treat to experience them during this meal. This dish is simple and fresh ingredients at its best.
Asparagus with bearnaise sauce
We eat asparagus all the time but my goodness these take the cake for the best expression of asparagus we have had to date. They were blanched preserving the beautiful green color with a little bite to it. And oh my this bearnaise sauce – perfectly balanced with a rich texture to it. The combination of the two was wonderful. And in a strange turn of events, I was not the one licking the plate this time – Kevin could not get enough of the bearnaise sauce.
Calamari, fava beans, and vinaigrette
What a gorgeous dish! Grilled homemade focaccia toast to sop up all the delicious juices. We loved the calamari two ways with rings sautéed and the tentacles deep fried. And if all restaurant fried calamari tasted like this, it would be worth the crazy up charge. Both were so delicious. The fava beans gave such a pop of color to the dish and they were tossed in a citrus vinaigrette. The overall flavors leaned acidic but in a way that really worked together when all the elements were combined. Awesome dish!
Soft shell crab caesar salad
Pure joy of this surprise add on dish to the night. We discovered our love for soft shell crab at Mosquito Supper Club so not surprising to have found this ingredient at anther supper club. The soft shell crab was marinated in buttermilk then dredged in with flour and old bay seasoning before being fried up. It was served among bib lettuce and caesar dressing. The soft shell crab was absolutely perfection. I could have done with a little less dressing on the salad but the flavors of the dressing were spot on. Very cool concept to pair the soft shell crab with the salad and I certainly happy to have more veggies. And we definitely made the right decision each ordering our own of this dish!
I think our minds exploded when Chef Amanda presented this dish. Homemade butter crust with a chilled mushroom custard on the bottom, then topped with sautéed button mushrooms and morel with a final touch of Moonrise cheese 100% cow wished rind from Perrystead Dairy. Everything about this was phenomenal. We tried each ingredient separately before diving into the entire thing. This dish was one I would have liked separate portions of just to not have to share it – it was that good. The outside crust was perfect, the mushroom custard was so creative, morels gave and earthiness that off set the sweetness in the crust, and then the cheese brought the funk. I loved this cheese and I cannot wait to order it from the dairy. Incredible dish that I immediately want to eat again.
Lamb and ramps
For this dish, we each got our on portion so I would assume for the meat courses are given out per person routinely. We have enjoyed the lamb that we have had in the past but we generally do not eat it. When we have, it was either as a roast or the rack. Chef Amanda informed us that this was the neck. I didn’t even think lamb neck meat was a thing but here we are! The lamb neck was deboned, wrapped into a torchon, cured salt and sugar, then smoked with white wine, fennel, celery which also created a jus. This lamb was outstanding. The neck cut is super fatty so it renders the meat to be exceptionally juicy and flavorful, which I feel like lamb often times is too dry. The lamb was also served with ramps which we enjoyed as well. We were also given a side of Greek styled potatoes that reminded us of a potato salad except with less mayonnaise and filler. What a wonderful entree!
Strawberry olive oil ice cream sandwich
Dessert time! This ice cream sandwich was made with olive oil cake with strawberry semifreddo (made with cream cheese) on the inside and then dipped in herby chocolate. Flavors here were fantastic – the creaminess of the strawberry semifreddo and the olive oil cake was so moist then the crunch of they herby chocolate. I can’t even describe the herbiness but it was subtle. The flavors together worked so well and it was not a overly sweet dessert. Delightful!
Sourdough chocolate chip cookies
Funny we were so excited for a bonus dessert that we each immediately took a bite and forgot to take pictures of the cookies whole – so I put our two together to give you an idea of what they looked like. These were sourdough chocolate chip cookies and wow they were fantastic! I am going to have too look up how to make this type of cookie to elevate my chocolate chip cookie game because these were fresh out of the oven perfection. Density of chocolate chip to dough ratio was high and there was definitely some salt actin going on that just popped in this cookie. When we watch Chef Amanda prep this, she brought out a block of dough in wrap and then took off little pieces, rolled them and placed them on the cookie sheet so it must have been refrigerated dough. I will have to keep this in mind as I preroll and freeze my cookies. I do enjoy watching the entire process from start to finish!
Way past our bedtime finishing up the meal around 11PM, we were so happy we powered through and experienced this meal at Her Place Supper Club. The staff were so fun and inviting, the service and speed of the meal was really great where there was not large gaps between dishes, and it really did feel like you were dining in a friends house. The dining style ended up working wonderfully sharing the majority of the dishes were we did not leave explosively full and got to experience a wide variety of food, flavors, and techniques. The overall price of the meal was also a great value for the experience. Chef Amanda truly has pure talent for this. It was easy to tell during the dinner service her passion for this just explodes through how thoughtful and creative the dishes are – thank you for a wonderful meal! We will be back soon!