We needed another New American restaurant in Philly like we needed another ad trying to relate to people by using “wooder” in the copy. By that we mean, not at all. But we got Friday Saturday Sunday and we love it. Normally we’d come up with a witty angle for exactly what makes this place so worthwhile, but this time we’re skipping the metaphors and the lengthy comparison to a movie we saw 15 years ago. Instead, we’ll just say this: it’s a really good restaurant making food that can sometimes be a little boring, like charred cauliflower and dry-aged duck, but done in a way that’ll get you excited about coming back here again and again.
Friday Saturday Sunday is a small, two-story restaurant in Rittenhouse and at a glance, it’s just like all of the other contemporary American spots in the city. You’ll see at least one crudo on the menu, along with some pastas and a roasted chicken, and it has the same beige-y color scheme and plates that look like they’re handmade, but are actually from Crate & Barrel. But unlike most other places with similar menus, each dish at Friday Saturday Sunday is so perfectly executed that you’ll want to erase every other beef tartare and charred octopus you’ve ever eaten from your memory. Kind of like Matt Damon’s situation in The Bourne Identity, but ideally without the whole forgetting about your family and friends thing.
The menu changes up pretty often, but there are a few dishes that you’ll always see. Like the charred cauliflower, which is sweet from the caramelized cauliflower puree underneath it, but also kind of smokey from the citrus mojo it’s glazed in. If the menu was the 76ers roster, this dish would be the Joel Embiid (in that it’s inarguably the best thing here). There’s also always at least one crudo on the menu, and our favorite is the cured arctic char with crispy nori and some cucumber agua de chile that’s equal parts refreshing and flavorful. And even though you’ve seen it done a million ways at a million different places, Friday Saturday Sunday has roasted chicken down to a science. It’s crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, and the sunchoke puree is almost the consistency of whipped cream. If it came in an aerosol can, you’d have four of them in your fridge to squeeze directly into your mouth after a long day of work.
You come here for the food, definitely, but you also go to Friday Saturday Sunday for the nightly party happening at the downstairs bar. It’s almost like they hire people to hang out here and laugh and talk to each other like they’re extras on a sitcom, because even if you walk in at 5pm, it’s always full, and it’s where you want to be when you come here. There’s a second floor dining room that you have to make reservations for as well, but unless you’re trying to impress an out-of-town client or your high school fling who just got divorced, the bar is an easier and more casual place to eat the same great food you’ll get upstairs.
So, yes, Friday Saturday Sunday is another New American restaurant in a city already full of places with similar menus, but this one’s got excellent food, a bar that you’ll want to replace your dinner table at home with, and they accomplish the almost impossible task of making dishes you’ve seen a thousand times exciting again. Plus, we only needed one (very relevant) Sixers comparison to make our point.
A perfect plate of cured fish served with agua de chile and some crispy nori. Always a good choice.
This is a seasonal dish and isn’t always on the menu, but when it is, you should order it. It has a light brown butter sauce with braised oxtail, and is one of the best pastas on the menu.
Cauliflower is on so many menus these days that it’s tough to find one that actually stands out. This one stands out. It’s also always on the menu, so you don’t have to worry about eating as much of it as possible before they replace it with summer squash or winter squash or autumn squash.
There are a lot of flavors going on here, from the smokiness of the beans and octopus to the sweet pickled red onions and spicy jalapeños, but it all works together very well.
We know it’s just roasted chicken, but the skin is so crispy and the sauce underneath is so excellent that you’ll want to broadcast a PSA about it on that local channel that always lists which public schools have snow days.