Hot Plate: Lobster Ravioli at James

Hot Plate: Lobster Ravioli at James
Jennifer Logue

It’s not often that I walk all the way down to Arch Street, especially when it comes to a night of fine dining. However, with Philly’s ever changing landscape, locals can now experience impeccable cuisine a few blocks north of Rittenhouse, with the opening of James at 1835 Arch. The new restaurant opened to the public on Sept. 21 and offers an exciting spin on American cuisine featuring comfort food favorites, wines on draft and more.

Always in the mood for pasta, I decided to dive into their lobster ravioli which was much raved about by Chef Michael Suminski, who created the menu.

First impressions are everything and this dish is an unforgettable feast for the eyes. The ravioli comes perfectly striped, injected with black squid ink, providing a beautiful contrast against the beige of the pasta. On top of each lobster-filled ravioli is a tiny piece of shrimp and to the side, a tiny edible clam or “cockle.” At the center of this flowerlike display of seafood is a heart of braised greens in a pool of shrimp veloute, a sauce made from shrimp stock, butter and flour.

While the lobster ravioli seems like a lot of food, it’s not overly satiating. The ravioli themselves aren’t stuffed to the max, but moderately portioned with lobster. The shrimp and cockles add an extra dose of protein to leave you feeling satisfied and the squid ink is barely noticeable in terms of taste. Finally, the braised greens are a juicy, flavorful finish thanks to the addition of the velvety shrimp veloute.

If you love seafood, this is a dish to try as it celebrates many elements of the sea simultaneously, with the braised greens almost making me think of seaweed in terms of color and texture. The overall tone is flavorful but not at all spicy so if you’re a fan of more mild dishes, that’s an added bonus. What’s more, you’ll be the envy of Instagram foodies everywhere because it’s not everyday you see ravioli this stylish.