Eating at Musi is a game of chance - the menu items change every night, they use a lot of unusual ingredients, and the dish descriptions don’t give you much of a hint as to what you’re about to be served. You might order something that looks better than it tastes, or get a plate with a bunch of elements that don’t seem to go together. But even if you get a few duds, you’ll want to come back. Because the things that are good at Musi - well, they’re really good.
Musi is an Israeli-inspired BYOB in Pennsport and it’s one of the best restaurants in an area that’s otherwise full of dive bars and casual cafes. Plus, they’re doing something that most restaurants in Philly don’t do: experimenting with ingredients that almost exclusively come from within a 50-mile radius of the restaurant, like pickled knotweed, fiddlehead ferns, and hakurai turnips. The result is a short menu of unique small plates that top out at $15 - from polenta made with corn milled in-house and accompanied by local edible plants and leaves to citrus and miso agnolotti in fish broth for only $5.
photo credit: Rachel Lerro
Some of these dishes are incredible - we’d like to be put in one of those wind tunnel money-catching cubes with the black pepper sorprese pasta soaked in lemon butter and try and catch as much of it as possible. And the roast bavette steak with a mustard mayo potato salad is tender, delicious, and tastes like you’re picnicking at the park with your whole family for a few minutes. But there are other items where the experimentation doesn’t quite work out. Like some perfectly good mushrooms that are ruined by a layer of flowers and other “foraged things” that includes something called devil’s walking stick. It’s as if the kitchen staff went on a hike and were determined to use every twig and plant they found along the way.
You can easily order the whole menu here if you come with a few friends, and considering the price, it’s a great place to try a few things you might not normally eat. You should take some chances because, just like betting on a horse at the Kentucky Derby or playing the slots when you're in Vegas, the possibility that you might win big is something you shouldn’t miss out on. And the opportunity to get a few incredibly memorable dishes at Musi isn’t either.
The menu changes often, but here are some things you might see.