Yet another fantastic dish was the Korean-style fried tofu, super spicy and dense and delicious. (Charlie does like adding the "-style" to titles lest someone accuse a dish of not actually being authentic or something, though what does that even mean.) This was really great, garnering two thumbs up from each of my omnivorous fellow diners. Just delicious. I keep wanting to call it Korean BBQ tofu, because I feel like every tofu dish that claims to be Korean is always Korean BBQ. So plus 1 to Charlie for being different, I guess. Anyway, I really want some of this tofu now.
As you can see in these pictures, Charlie can apparently read my mind, because all the dishes have the perfect vegetable accompaniment, which I always want. The crab cakes had an arugula salad, and the tofu had pickles, the perfect choice.
On that note, you'd probably expect me to tell you to stick to spaghetti and meatballs in Italian restaurants as well, but you'd be wrong. Charlie's bucatini and "meatballs" were fantastic! The bucatini was as thick and perfect as any I've had, and the meatballs were fun. It's served with a chickpea ragout as well. It's such a yummy little pile of comfort that it's worth ordering even if it might not match the rest of your meal.
Lastly, I adored Charlie's chickpea fries. I actually think these are ten times better than the award-winning, super famous chickpea fries at Peacefood Cafe in NYC. While Peacefood's Indian-spiced fries are more like patties that must be eaten with a fork, Charlie's are actually crispy and can be eaten like fries, dipped into a garlic aioli. Wow, I could eat so many of these. They are fantastic! They are a little salty for me, but I think that's how fries are supposed to be.
The service at Charlie was pretty great as well. On my first trip there, I ordered the basil fennel lemon soda, but they were out of fennel. So the waiter brought me another impressive non-alcoholic option, the raspberry ginger soda, on the house. That's nice! I had the basil fennel soda at a later visit, and both were lovely, though the basil soda could have shared some of the raspberry's sweetener and then both would be perfect.
I obviously know that if you are visiting Philly, you have too many fantastic vegan options than you know how to handle. But if you are looking for a fancy-looking place with a great vibe, nice service, and wonderful food, try to get to Charlie was a sinner.. (I added an extra period I think that's right.)
CHARLIE WAS A SINNER., PHILADELPHIA
Water speed: What's my favorite thing, people? Glass water bottles on the table. They even had herbs in them!
Service: Very nice!
Bathrooms: Two fancily decorated and enormous singles.
Food: Delicious small plates so you can try a lot, especially during the crazy good happy hour specials.
Bonus: Great cocktails and mocktails, happy hour specials, chickpea fries.