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Crescendo at the Mann
Crescendo at the Mann

Philadelphia

Inside city limits, the site of a massive tent-top typically portends something ominous, like the Army imposing an outbreak quarantine, or, more horrifyingly, the circus. Finally, a big tent worth welcoming, Crescendo at the Mann

Stephen Starr's taken over the hilltop overlooking the Mann Music Center with a 180-seat buffet tent, a designer-rustic, moderately Japanese-inflected space with black & lime criss-crossed asphalt floor, a lounge with white leather/charcoal wicker couches & green Plexiglas tabletops, and huge paper globes dangling from the ceiling, just daring you to make a wishful, glaringly inaccurate comparison. For $46, guests have the run of grub including table-served amuse-bouche; a multi-tiered antipasto station showcasing charcuterie, Italian sausage & peppers, grilled octopus, and bacon-wrapped endive; a carving table topped with Dijonaise rack of lamb, seared diver scallops, and lemon chicken; and a "live action" sushi bar, far more enticing than Mr. Bill's Stop Action Sushi Bar, which was just o-clay. Drinkwise, there's a locally dominated beer list (Yards, Victory, Yuengling), along with a selection of reds and whites, and a rotation of specialty cocktails, like stone fruit sangria, the Crescendo Fizz (Bluecoat gin, St. Germain, ginger liqueur, and prosecco), the Happy (vodka, lemonade, club soda), and, upon request, the Happier (just the vodka)

Smaller à la carte dishes (Amish cheese & preserves, Mediterranean spread, chocolate & strawberries) and pre-ordered baskets are available for "takeaway" to the Mann's sprawling lawn -- where, upon spying you noshing on your precious picnic, passersby will run in horror from the bearded lady.

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1. Crescendo at the Mann 5201 Parkside Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19131

Stephen Starr's taken over the hilltop overlooking the Mann Music Center with a 180-seat buffet tent, a designer-rustic, moderately Japanese-inflected space with black & lime criss-crossed asphalt floor, a lounge with white leather/charcoal wicker couches & green Plexiglas tabletops, and huge paper globes dangling from the ceiling, just daring you to make a wishful, glaringly inaccurate comparison.

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