Adsum’s Wild Week(s)

Even at the very beginning of this story, something seemed…off.

It started back in July with the announcement that Matt Levin, chef and owner (along with partner Kar Vivekanathan) of Adsum, was going to be stepping back from the stoves. This was at toward the end of the month, and word on the street was that Levin was easing his way out in order to focus on some new project he had his eye on. There were promises that he was still going to be involved in the restaurant–that he was still going to be kicking around the joint and acting as an “inspiration” for the kitchen–but not, you know…cooking anymore.

A couple days after that, there was another announcement. Levin had named his sous chef, Rah Shabazz, as his successor and chef de cuisine. This seemed like a wise move: Shabazz had been there since day one, working alongside Levin, and was a man who understood the sometimes bizarre notions that whipped through the Adsum kitchen. You know, like making Tastykake sliders or doing a dinner based around the much-maligned 4 Loko. Shabazz got it, in other words. And even though his style was not quite so extreme as Levin’s, he vowed to maintain some of that spirit of weirdness that had animated Adsum under Levin. He worked up a new menu. He did tastings for the staff and for Vivekanathan. Everything seemed to be progressing smoothly.

Then, last Monday, the news broke that Shabazz had quit–walking out over conceptual differences with his new boss. And it wasn’t just Shabazz, either. His sous, Mark Regan, walked out with him. And suddenly, the Adsum team was three men down in a week.

Since then, the position has been filled. Vivekanathan brought in Matthew Harnett from Hop Angel Brauhaus, and Harnett already has a new menu in place–a very basic board of fried oysters, tuna tartare, mussels in white wine broth, hanger steak with frites, a cheeseburger and ricotta beignets. Matter of fact, less a couple salads, that’s most of the new menu right there.

I talked with Shabazz this afternoon, trying to get some sense of how everything went down. And he explained that his disagreement with Vivekanathan was a fundamental one: over the nature of what it means to be a restaurant in this city, at this time.

He explained that he’s been tasked with making a lighter menu, one that fell within the bounds of a reasonable food cost while still offering lower prices for the customers. All reasonable requests. And according to Shabazz, he did that. But it wasn’t enough, apparently, because Vivekanathan had “a different idea of where he wanted the restaurant to go.”

That, of course, is the polite answer. The less polite one came a couple minutes later when I asked Shabazz for specifics. “He [Vivekanathan] wanted to downgrade us to the point where we were like everywhere else,” Shabazz explained. “Like a [T.G.I.] Friday’s or something. But I have integrity. I have pride. And I couldn’t do that, so I left.”

So here’s what bothers me about this whole story. While I understand Vivekanathan’s desire to have a menu at his restaurant which will satisfy the maximum amount of customers (thereby making him the maximum amount of money), and while I certainly understand Shabazz and Regan’s need to walk out under these circumstances, this is really a question of what a restaurant is supposed to be in an economic climate where every operator is scrambling for every last nickel they can get. Is a restaurant there purely to serve the customer exactly what they want and what they’re comfortable with (like every Olive Garden, Applebee’s and T.G.I. Frday’s on earth), or does a restaurant bear some responsibility to educate, enlighten and surprise its best, most engaged customers?

More to the point, is a Tastykake slider (or a 4 Loko dinner or a “Super Poutine”) ever anything but a gimmick?

I say yes. I say that every city needs a few high-flying weirdos and damn fools to subvert the paradigms and upend the expectations of diners; to save them from what can eventually become a rather grim progression of tuna tartare, hamachi crudo, goat cheese salads, short ribs with farm-to-table whatevers on the side and chocolate lava cake, served night after night at hundreds of fine restaurants around town.

I’m not saying that Philly needs an Alinea of its own. Four months into this gig and I know beyond any shadow of a doubt that that shit would never fly among the moneyed Rittenhouse park-strollers or blue-collar neighborhood crowds. But what this city–what any serious food city–needs is a couple of restaurants with chefs animated by that same rebel spirit. Chefs willing to take a few chances, to stretch the boundaries of the possible, and to have a little fun with their food.

Levin, for a time, was that guy. And it’s not like he didn’t bring down a rain of love for doing so (witness: Serious Eats, Chowhound, Huffington Post, Slashfood, Eater, et cetera). But now that he and his loyalists are out and looking for work (Shabazz told me he’s already been talking with folks from the Starr organization, which was where he spent years before signing on with Levin at Adsum), who else is there to blaze the fresh trails and prove that a thick steak, a roasted chicken or a pan-seared bit of fish are not the only dinner options on the table?

Adsum Review [Philadelphia magazine]

Adsum [Official website]

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  • ASM305

    Levin never worked in that kitchen because he was too busy on his iPhone. I highly doubt Adsum will be here next year. Too many people in the kitchen and while I love “strange” foods…I highly disagree, Adsum was all about gimmicks…even the cooks there admitted that the 4 Loko dishes were disgusting!

  • Fescert

    That new Adsum menu looks dreadfully boring. Oh well, it was good while it lasted.

  • Stone Bologna

    can someone just put a Fatty Crab in that spot, already!

  • http://twitter.com/alexrolfe alex

    I personally thought Adsum sucked, but i wish there were ten more places like it in Philly, and I agree with the basics of what Jason is saying.

    You saw the same thing with Santoro. He pushed the boundaries, albeit less…obnoxiously(?)…than Levin, but LaBan doesn’t like finesse, so he’s out the door, even though he was doing 200 covers on Sunday nights.

  • Buckethead

    “who else is there to blaze the fresh trails and prove that a thick steak, a roasted chicken or a pan-seared bit of fish are not the only dinner options on the table?”

    Isn’t it your job to know the (many possible) answers to that question?

  • http://www.HollyEats.com Holly Moore

    “I certainly understand Shabazz and Regan’s need to walk out under these circumstances”

    I’d add: with a week or two notice which hopefully, being professionals, they gave.

    I’d also give the new chef some time to settle in. The new, temporary, short menu is not the least bit TGI Fridayish.

    That said, Ad Sum better bring back the poutine.

  • Anthony

    Could it have anything to do with that location?

  • Nicole

    No, not a TGI McFunster menu but it is a boring menu. This Canadian expat is glad she got to sample the poutine while it was still on the menu.

  • J

    I do have to say that I think there is a difference between a cook and a chef. Anyone can make a steak frites or moules frites or whatever frites dish (well… anyone but me). Kudos to Levin and Shahbazz for wanting to be chefs instead of cooks… even if it leaves them unemployed.

  • tomfoodlery

    While gimmickish the tasteykake sliders were fun and memorable, and isnt that what dining is about?

    I enjoy it there, though I wish it was less heavy. Especially at brunch. Too much duck fat, too little fruit/veggies.

  • http://philadelphia.foobooz.com/author/jsheehan Jason Sheehan

    @Buckethead It is, and my problem here is that I don’t think there are “many possible” answers to that question. Off the top of my head, I can think of two (other) guys who fit this bill. And if you want to make a game out of it, one of them is currently not cooking and the other is working in a hotel restaurant.

    So 1) can you guess who these two are
    And 2) can you name me someone else who is really hanging it out there on the edge

  • http://tcshillingford.org TC

    I agree with Tomfoodlery. The meal I had there was definitely memorable, and entirely overly filling. Best of luck to Levin and Shabazz and Regin, wherever they land. I very much enjoyed Adsum, and I don’t expect to go back if the menu really has become burgers and fries.

  • D

    In 2008 when Levin left his job at the Rittenhouse, he told the Inquirer his next restaurant would be “great food at a price point that even a guy making $10 an hour at TLA Video can afford — three plates for like $35.”

    Now, sadly, TLA Video is no more. And in large part because he never kept that promise of affordable dining for regular folks, so is Matt Levin.

  • http://twitter.com/alexrolfe alex

    @Jason

    Ansill was (when Ansill existed).

  • http://cephood.blogspot.com CE Phood

    @Alex

    Have to agree with you…I never saw anything coming out of that kitchen that warranted all the love and adoration from the Philly food press.

    Best fried chicken? to quote a buddy of mine, it was the Barry Manilow version of what good fried chicken should be.

    During my visits – with pics here – I saw flashes of interesting dishes but there were some head-scratchers too

  • http://www.HollyEats.com Holly Moore

    Jason,

    I considered Chef Levin’s AdSum both interesting and solid (as in chefcraft), but not edgy, rebellious or molecular. Levin’s whimsy brought spectacular PR to Adsum and great fun.

    Adsum is not the venue for a WD-50 or Alinea. I’m not sure Philadelphia could support molecular five or six days a week though I’d like to see someone try – maybe Chef Levin in a concept that was less dependent on turnover and moderate pricing.

    At the same time, between the gastropubs and the BYOs there is plenty of innovative cooking quietly happening.

    PS One of those guys you’re thinking of probably doesn’t need any more “help” from Philadelphia Magazine.

  • Amanda

    This is a bummer, but personally I thought Adsum was at it’s best in the non-gimmicky items. The test for me between gimmick and innovation is how amazing it tastes. The Adsum gimmicks never tasted anywhere near as balanced or interesting as some their more simple items.
    Seems like we’re screwed. One thing I unequivocally loved about Adsum was that it brought big crowds to my ‘hood. Can’t see moules

  • http://philadelphia.foobooz.com/author/jsheehan Jason Sheehan

    @Alex

    Yeah, I missed Ansill in its original iteration–before my time in town. But if I’m not mistaken, the idea there was more about offal and unusual ingredients than doing something amazing or innovative with common stock. Not that there’s anything wrong with cooking low on the beast (I’m a fan of all the ears and feet and tails and tripe).

    So while he wasn’t one of the two I had in mind, it was a very fine guess.

  • Buckethead

    If you know two people who fit the bill (one is Shola, I’d guess the other is Bryan Sikora), why not just put that in the piece? I don’t want to make a game out of it, I want to get food and restaurant news.

    2) you didn’t say “really hanging it out there on the edge”, you said “Chefs willing to take a few chances, to stretch the boundaries of the possible, and to have a little fun with their food.”, and “who else is there to blaze the fresh trails and prove that a thick steak, a roasted chicken or a pan-seared bit of fish are not the only dinner options on the table?”. “Really hanging it out there” only works if the food is good.

    Some possible answers include:

    - Mike Solomonov
    - David Ansill (even at Ladder 15)
    - Johnny Mac (though he’s toned it down at P+K)
    - Bryan Sikora
    - Jason Cichonski
    - Chip Roman (though he has his flops)
    - Rich Landau
    - Mark Tropea (though I haven’t been there in a while)
    - Jesse Prawlucki
    - the new guy at Marigold (though I haven’t been there yet)

  • Anthony

    ” Buckethead It is, and my problem here is that I don’t think there are “many possible” answers to that question. Off the top of my head, I can think of two (other) guys who fit this bill. And if you want to make a game out of it, one of them is currently not cooking and the other is working in a hotel restaurant.”

    Jason, are you talking about Shola and Caspi? M Restaurant needs to knock about 5 dollars off of every dish and get a better publicist. They have some very interesting food.

  • http://philadelphia.foobooz.com/author/jsheehan Jason Sheehan

    Between Buckethead and Anthony, the two I was thinking of have been named: Cichonski and Caspi.

    @Anthony: Regarding M, you’re absolutely right.

    @Buckethead: Sikora is still trying to get it together at a.kitchen, but it ain’t there yet. And Shola doesn’t even enter into this. You have to run an actual restaurant before you get to be called a chef. That’s how we keep the Rachael Rays of the world from claiming the title.

  • rory

    hooray, foobooz has hit another of the exhaustingly annoying Negadelphia tropes: the we don’t like interesting enough food snobbery.

    i really don’t like this new foobooz.

  • Michael G

    I think the other partner of Levin, panicked over the lack of profit margins and decided to make the place more nighborhood friendly(ie busier). However, this change is going to blow up in his face because if he thought getting people to eat out near South Street on weekends with Levin’s destination place was difficult. How long will they last doing 50 covers a weekend.

  • Buckethead

    Jason Cichonski is cooking, at Mica in Chestnut Hill. Shola did run an actual restaurant, Neil Stein’s Bleu.

  • Anthony

    With all due respect to you Jason, that Shola-Rachael Ray bit was disrespectful. No one would say such things about Ludo, Wolvesmouth, or pre-bricks Shin Thompson. Please, Please, PLEASEEE don’t turn this into an off topic comments thread, but that statement just isn’t correct.

    I look forward to Kevin Sbraga and what he will bring to the dining scene in the fall.

  • http://www.HollyEats.com Holly Moore

    “And Shola doesn’t even enter into this. You have to run an actual restaurant before Not you get to be called a chef. That’s how we keep the Rachael Rays of the world from claiming the title.”

    A bush league, cheap shot. And inaccurate. Don’t believe everything you read. Have you sampled Shola’s skills? Very few Philadelphia chef’s could turn out a Studio Kitchen dinner a few times a week.

  • Pacojette

    Jason, your article displays a stunning lack of understanding about what it takes to run an independent restaurant in Philly.

    You are quick to defend Levin and his band of crybaby line cooks, but the fact is that Adsum never made a dime while Levin was “blazing fresh trails”. Vivekanathan is the one responsible for making payroll. How much money did Shabazz have on the line?

    It’s fun to make the owner the bad guy here, but it’s just not the case. And Holly, i think the term “walked out” implies that 2 weeks notice was not given.

  • Alabama Whitman

    I agree with Pacojette.
    I also find it curious that a “journalist” would only interview 1 source. Where is Vivekananthan’s take on the situation ?
    I wish Adsum the best of luck as it moves forward

  • pj

    I really like Adsum and other places like them who try to do something diferent. The kitchen and the bar at Adsum both tried to be progressive.

    Unfortunately,the recent drama at Adsum reminds me of El Bulli on a smaller scale. The most critically praised restaurant in the world supposedly received a million reservation requests per year and recently closed because they weren’t making any profit. Eventually the financial backers at Adsum had to make cuts in food and beverage costs which seems to explain the changes.

    Chefs refusing to work for a place making menu changes because of econoic realities might feel differently if their own money was on the line.

  • lovesfood

    Maybe the chefs left because they love cooking more than money? What kar had to do as a business man is perfectly unerstandable. But why is it bad for a passionate chef stay at a place he no longer believed in? Should Shabazz stay and make food he doesnt have faith in or agree with? What would you do? Its easy for an outsider to bad mouth anyone involved in this. I dont know the whole story but I do know that towards the end rah and mark were the only guys adsum had working for them for about a month. I also know they have the hottest kitchen in philly, hands down. Both these guys worked their asses off for kar and adsum. I know because I actually worked there. The most important thing to a real chef is food not money. Cooking is An art that happens to be very profitable. I personally find it refreshing to know that there are chefs out there that want to cook good food rather than make a quick buck. Sticking to what you believe in is hard, conforming is easy.

  • http://www.HollyEats.com Holly Moore

    “Should Shabazz stay and make food he doesn’t have faith in or agree with?”

    For at least two weeks, yes.

    Beyond that, it depends. The owner has the right to set the parameters for his restaurant. A savvy owner works with the chef to arrive at those parameters.

    A professional chef may be an artist but he must also be a business man. Creativity needs to be balanced with controlled food and labor costs; passion – tempered with practicality. Fresh trails blazed without sufficient sales and a profitable bottom line lead only to failure.

    It is totally understandable that a chef will leave because he feels unfulfilled or stifled. But another chef in the same situation may use his art, passion and creativity to stretch his wings and find fulfillment within that restaurant’s parameters.

  • Meh-

    Had a buddy who was (still is) a wonderful chef who walked out of restaurant after restaurant because of creative differences between the pursestrings and his vision.

    He now works in a warehouse.

  • rory

    so in sum, Jason Sheehan was incorrect about Shola’s past, was incorrect about Cichonski’s current employment situation, knocks working in a “hotel restaurant” (meanwhile, Lavin first made his name at…a hotel kitchen, same with Cichonski), and while basically bashing the owner of adsum in his original post, didn’t seem to place a call to said owner (or at least never mentioned such an effort).

    well done. well done indeed.

    all that said, if a person is offered a job and promised certain conditions (like, say, write the menu) and within a month suddenly those key conditions are no longer his role, I’m willing to forgo the standard 2 week notice. Considering how quickly a new menu and new chef and put that menu online, it seems like there’s more to the story, but i’m not pushing to spend any more time talking about adsum, especially now that it looks like a standard neighborhood spot (which, tbf, was what Levin originally claimed he wanted even as he didn’t really go that route at all in terms of price and food type).

  • Dan

    Let’s see, if a restaurant is going out of business, how often do they give the employees 2 weeks’ notice?

    This whole 2 week sanctity thing is like the one way NFL contracts. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander!

  • Pacojette

    Dan, the fact that restaurant owners often behave badly when it comes to closing up shop does not excuse employees from behaving professionally and giving proper notice.

    There is no law that provides for two weeks, it’s just professional courtesy. Hard for a “chef” to claim “integrity” as the reason for his decision to leave and then walk out with no notice.

  • pj

    when employees are fired are they given two weeks notice?

  • ilovefoodtoo

    Employees are not given two weeks notice because they usually rob the place blind, treat everyone (co-workers and clients, alike) like total shit, and are generally a cancerous member of the business on their way out. Business owners (restaurants or otherwise) are aware of this because they have experienced it. This is why you were escorted out of your cubicle by security when they fired you from Amway. They don’t give you two weeks notice.
    Also, it is especially rude for people who decide on a whim to screw over the ENTIRE business. Remember, that these two line cooks who were apparently the backbone of the kitchen colluded to “walk out” and screwed over their coworkers – who could not work due to their extremely inconsiderate decision. They neglected to consider that fact that the restaurant business already sucks in the summer – and a day out of work hurts us servers. A LOT. I hope this message is loud and clear for any future employer of these two. Vivekananthan must have expected what was coming down the pike since they were open for business a day later with an entirely new kitchen staff.

  • Frank

    Seems weird that this entire blog post was based upon a single disgruntled employee’s account of what went down. Just sayin’ I don’t think this is good “journalism” i think it’s getting a lot of attention, though! Good job Jason, at least on that.
    Hmmm. Who can we talk shit about next week???

  • Sarah

    Wow. All this drama over my spot!

    I had the mussels there tonight.

    They were delicious. So were the fried oysters and the burger.

    I say these guys will be successful! And I wish them the best of luck.

  • Gastro nut

    Reading along I can’t help but notice that comments have more reallity then the actual post. Funny how things come to light in the late summer nights in Philadelphia. This city is too small to have this much drama over a small restaurant. There are over 9000 bussiness licenses in this city and a hand full get press. Whether good or bad never believe stories from disgruntled “line cooks”.

    Ps: to Jason
    I understand if you’ve never cooked before. TGI Fridays and chains like them serve prepared reheats out of 5000 dollar microwaves. “bistros” serve made to order fresh food and personal service this is the main difference.

  • Jon Dough

    Jason HAS cooked before. He wrote a book about it, which I enjoyed. But he’s learning the hard way that the so-called philly food scene likes things to stay the same…boring. That’s why all of our most “famous” restaurants and chefs turn out such rustic, minimalistic grandma food. Because if you try a little “too hard” and put some pizzazz on the plate, LaBan will trash you publicly. So everyone is trying to out-farm, out-local, out-reclaimed wood each other…and the philly food scene continues on it’s boring and stagnant path. The only reason Levin got a glowing review from Laban is that Levin has a PR team similar to the Mafia in it’s reach and influence. Imagine another chef trying to make cupcake burgers and red bull tasting menus…Laban would have literally burned the place down himself. Matt Levin will land on his feet again, get three or four bells again, and trash the dreams of whomever is stupid enough to partner with him again. And the critics will slurp it up. That’s why I’m copywriting my new dish of “Mike & Ike Crusted Sweetbreads with Yoohoo Gastrique and Smoked Gummy Worms”.

  • Thingamajig

    Maybe had they had this on the menu it all would have worked out: http://eater.com/archives/2011/08/10/a-whole-stick-of-fried-butter-on-a-stick-at-the-iowa-state-fair.php

    Jon Dough you have some great points…Nice also that everyone has so much time to contemplate their navels.

  • cleevus

    told you so.

  • chubster

    Jon dough you’re right on the money…finally someone who knows what theyre talking about. But, don’t forget that Laban did give Chris Lee four bells. Lee was the first to do “molecular gastronomy” in this town, and he was successful at it too. Unlike Levin, Lee knew how to cook before he tried to use agar or ultra-tex or whatever. This city will support a chef who is cutting edge, as long as he can cook and isn’t a fraud.

  • Realty Sets In

    If it was easy to make money in the restaurant business – there wouldn’t be so many restaurants closing. (noble, Suzanna Foo, Snack Bar…) It is not all about reviews. It is obvious that the business partner was trying to save an unsuccessful concept economically. Artists can play as long as someone else is willing to pay. I wonder that if all these ‘artists’ used their own money would they walk away or would they try to figure out how to survive? The bottom line is that a restaurant HAS to work as a business also. OR have an endless supply of capital. Adsum failed as a business. This is not surprising as Levin has been removed from other chef-dom heights because he has no concept of costs as he has proven once again. May I ask the question again, how many of these chef ‘artists’ put up their own money and continue to operate at a loss? Anyone have an example of that – the chef footing the bill? I wonder what all these ‘artists’ eat at home when they have to pay for it? Kool-aid flavored duck fat?

  • burger boy

    Fatty crab please.

  • fyclb

    Way to go Reality! If they wanted patrons instead of restaurants they should have tried hanging that in a gallery.

  • lilpit

    Mmmm – Fatty Crab pork belly & pickled watermelon salad is fuckin’ crazy, crazy good. Add me to the list, doesn’t have to be in the Adsum space but a Fatty Crab would be a great addition to our scene.

  • ASM305

    Seriously…food writers don’t know the first thing about how a restaurant kitchen actually runs. Adsum had like 5 people working in the kitchen at the same time…the size of the restaurant does not warrant that many people. I’ve worked in busier, larger restaurant with fewer people on the line. Shabazz (who was on salary) would cut himself before he cut line cooks (who got paid hourly) on a slow night. They fired the cooks that actually worked because they weren’t good enough friends with the chef. And their idea of “cutting edge” is just making things more “fatso”.

    And no I’m not a disgruntled employee…but I’ve worked in kitchens that have closed and not only not given us notice…but let us going on vacation for 2 weeks…spend all our money…and then come back to find out that we weren’t going to open again. So while I don’t think Shabazz or Levin are the “great chefs” people think they are…I also don’t blame them for not giving notice. Cause when Adsum does close they won’t give their employees notice…guaranteed.

  • Sarah

    Actually, this menu seems like exactly what my neighborhood needs. http://adsumrestaurant.com/pdf/dinner.pdf
    not trying to plug them, but levin’s menu was WAY to much for normal people. Cost AND calories. Wowza. not to mention how weird it was.
    The brie and fig grilled cheese? Welcome home.

  • lilpit

    Sarah, I agree with you 110%. If Shabazz thought that a menu like this was akin to TGIF’s, he needs to get his pretentious head out of his own ass. It’s nice menu of things PEOPLE WOULD ACTUALLY LIKE TO EAT. Good for you, Kar & Co, you’re on the right track to actual success as a functioning restaurant as opposed to a succesful hype machine that fails as a functioning restaurant.

  • http://www.adsumrestaurant.com Kar

    This was from last night’s event:

    http://www.yelp.com/topic/philadelphia-yelp-lab-the-science-of-happy-hour-at-adsum

    http://www.yelp.com/biz/yelp-elite-event-at-adsum-philadelphia

    We are not trying to be anything that we are not.
    We are a welcoming neighborhood place. Good food. Good drink. Good service. Great value.
    This is what we were supposed to be from day 1.

    Menus below:
    Neighborhood food; neighborhood prices.

    http://adsumrestaurant.com/pdf/dinner.pdf
    http://adsumrestaurant.com/pdf/beer.pdf
    http://adsumrestaurant.com/pdf/cocktails.pdf
    http://adsumrestaurant.com/pdf/wine.pdf
    http://adsumrestaurant.com/pdf/brunch.pdf

    First, experience it. Then, decide for yourself.

    Kar

  • lilpit

    Hey Kar – I think your new menu will be a winner. It might not garner you the hype & publicity that Levin’s menu did, but you will be more successful as a neighborhood restaurant than you were. Given were you are, you were never going to be much of a destination restaurant, but you can be very successful on your own terms. I really wish you the best of luck.

  • Little of this Little of that

    I have to agree with what some other people said: the fact that the original article only quotes an employee who walked out (and is thus “disgruntled”) and neglected to quote, or even contact, anyone else to try and see if that’s the whole story makes me think that perhaps the author has a dog in this fight. I could be wrong, and likely am, but what other conclusion is there to be drawn?

    As far as claiming Adsum is becoming a TGIF, really? I mean, really? While that menu isn’t as exciting as some might wish, it’s not bad at all. I’d liken it more to a Royal Tavern or Standard Tap than anything. And is that such a bad thing in that neighborhood?

    And lastly, if a restaurant is losing money – as Adsum obviously was/is – and the chef(s) refuse to compromise in order to help save the business (and in turn, their jobs), doesn’t that speak more the the character of the chefs than anything else? Isn’t the goal of any business to be profitable? I heard (unconfirmed) that Adsum grossed over $1M last year and still wound up in the red. That tells me something was very wrong in the kitchen, since you know they weren’t losing money on alcohol.

  • whistleblower

    Sorry. I tried to keep quiet.
    I worked at Adsum through the nonsense. Matt Levin made a good menu. I will give him that. That was it. He never worked the line. He never prepped. He tweeted and played angry birds. He never managed anything. He was inept as a functioning member of a restaurant kitchen. He insulted us all and threatened to hurt us sometimes. And Rah took his lead. Rah could not run a kitchen to save his life. He stared down every woman who worked here and made lewd comments. They acted like they were the primadonnas who could do no wrong when their food was wrong and cared about nothing but their silly reputations. Massive jokes. Charlatans! Best thing to happen was for them to GO AWAY! My friends there tell me Levin still has the balls to come back every other Friday to pick up a paycheck from Kar. It’s pathetic. Plus, what’s he doing? He’s still unemployed. Why? cause the world knows!
    And, I know for a FACT he stole money from this place. MY money. My hard earned tips! What a loser.

    Rah? Not worth the characters. Line cook is all he’ll ever be.

    Want the truth, Jason Sheehan? You’re a joke too. Reporter? My ass. Muckraker. Yellow journalist. Wonder how long before you’re “moving on.”

  • fuwhistleblower

    ell to all of you talking shit on my boy Rah need to stop. You don’t know him. He is nothing like Levin and he actually ran that place. I was a cook there and he was always. Nice to me. All of you people need to get a life. Whistleblower whoever you are you’re a tool. Rah is actually very humble when it comes to being a chef and part of the reason why adsum has made it this far is because of him.

  • Whistleblower

    @fuwhistleblower (I mean @Rah). You learned all the bad stuff from a lazy dude who was talented. You cooked and you prepped. True that you did a whole lot for Adsum. But, a Chef and a Sous Chef’s job is a WHOLE lot more that what you two did. You guys had to leave bc you couldnt/didnt/wouldnt handle the business side of your jobs. noone taught Matt Levin and noone taught you and you guys only cared about cooking. I agree too that you were a humble line cook. art without commerce is a hobby. let us all know when you’re the “boss” someplace “again.” And dont deny that you sexually harrassed about every woman who worked there. Fuck you for that you creepy asshole. And fuck you for all the unbelievably inappropriate shit you said to me and made me quit. run and tell THAT to your girl. I hope shes reading this.