First of all I would like to say that if I lived closer to Derek's I would eat there every night.
I only eat whole organic foods and Derek's is one of the only places around that serves up meals that taste as good as they are for you.
They are also one of the only places in Philly that will serve you a truly rare piece of meat.
Other reviewers here that complain about the seating, food or the owner must be living in some other dimension than I am. Derek is probably one of coolest chefs in Philly. He is as down to earth as they come, he talks to every one that comes into his place. He is a gentle, kind person who actually listens to you when you talk to him.
If you want to talk about food Derek is full of information and anecdotes. Every ingredient he uses is the freshest and best available. Most of the ingredients are from small local purveyors and you can taste the freshness.
As far as the seating goes, the place is a bit cramped, yes. But this is Manyunk, the restaurants are all in row homes, same as Sansom St. in West Philly or Downtown. If you want to eat in a warehouse you can always head to a chain steakhouse in King of Prussia and spend twice as much money on meat and veggies that show up on an eighteen wheeler twice a week.
Derek's beer selection is tremendous, wines are superb.
The problem is Derek has taste, real taste. He is not a trend follower, he is not a poser, he is a Philly native who brings his own style and passion to his dishes. The food at Derek's is exactly the same food Derek serves to guests at his home. Its food that Derek loves himself, its not meant to impress reviewers.
His menu varies from day to day but at its core its been very much the same for years -- because its truly good local cuisine, like Chez Panice in Berkeley.
If you want to impress your date take her to some flashy new joint opened up by some restaurant developer.
But if you want to eat good food, that's good for you, that's good for the community and that's prepared to perfection by one of Philly's own great chef's then eat at Derek's
Pros: Food Is Great. Derek uses only the best local ingredients
Cons: People in Philly are Clueless About Food