They say the area around 13th and Sansom/Chestnut is the new hot spot of dining in Philly. It's hard to disagree with El Vez, Zavino, Sampan, Vintage, etc. Two people are largely responsible for the renaissance in the area, Marcie Turney and Valerie Safran. Their two established places include Bindi and Lolita (sorry, we've haven't been to either).
Their latest place is Barbuzzo, Mediterranean farmhouse theme. It's a must visit. The food was amazing and the atmosphere was quite festive.
We started the meal with mediterranean olives and barbuzzo "pig popcorn" (aka pork rinds). The olives were top-notch and the pig popcorn was a nice starter - not the best thing on the menu, but a nice novelty worth trying if only for the horseradish aioli.
The skirt steak and the gnocchi were the highlights of the meal. The skirt steak was cooked perfectly and melted in your mouth. The rosemary fries were the perfect complement. We both devoured the steak. The gnocchi was light and fluffy, while the sauce was delicious and took extra bread for dipping (always a good sign!). Lastly we had the beet ravioli, which was different and not as good as the gnocchi and steak. Still worth ordering.
We ended with the "salted caramel" dessert. It is served in a small glass and consists of layered cookie crumb, vanilla custard, caramel and creme fraiche. The perfect ending to an amazing meal.
It was crowded so we did our usual of sitting at the bar. We recommend sitting at the bar at most places if two people since you can still enjoy good conversation and the servers are more conversational. True with Barbuzzo!
The rest of the place looked perfect for small group (4-6). It is not the place for a large group of people. Barbuzzo is a welcomed addition to the area and Philly! Certainly one of the better places we've visited and look forward to trying more dishes. The menu has a seasonal flavor so you are likely to see changes on the menu.