My mom was at a conference for nurse practitioners right in Center City Philly — how convenient! I met up with her after work to do a little window-shopping and enjoy a little dinner. As we moseyed around, we found ourselves near the always-enjoyable 13th Street shopping.
Dinnertime approached, and we decided to be adventurous and try something new. The unique exterior of Sampan drew our attention, and we decided to give it a shot.
The restaurant had a very cool vibe, nice seating, and an urban feel. The tree wall (pictured above in the upper right) changed colors every few minutes, which was an unexpected touch. This restaurant also has a lot of different nooks throughout it — it seems like a fun place to have a few happy hour libations.
Speaking of libations, my favorite part of our dinner at Sampan was the delicious drink I ordered called Ume Tea. It was Pearl Plum Vodka, oolong tea, and lime, and man was it tasty. A delicious glass of home-brewed herbal iced tea is on my list of favorite things, so this was right up my alley.
And now for the food. Sampan is a small plates kind of place, so you need to order several dishes to make a full meal. My mom and I ordered four dishes total...
Starting and the top left and working clockwise, we ordered:
- Shrimp satay: Thai basil, pine nut, and lemon
- Vietnamese spring roll: shrimp, mint, jicama
- Roasted broccoli: Pine nut, white soy, garlic
- Roasted scallop: Tempura squash, ponzu, and daikon
We loved all of the dishes, though some seemed pretty small for what you got. The shrimp satay was just two skewers of very small shrimp — to the tune of about $8. The roasted broccoli, while delicious, was $6 on its own. And the scallops — oh the scallops. These really were delicious, but I don't know if the dish of four scallops warranted a $25 price tag.
All in all, the atmosphere was great, the drinks menu was really fun and creative, and the food won't disappoint in taste. I don't know if I would go back again for dinner, but it might be a fun spot to have a drink and get a small plate of something.
We left somewhat hungry. And rather than pay another $8 for few bites of fancy dessert, we decided to walk across the street to Capogiro, where we knew we wouldn't leave disappointed!