Adam Erace recently visited The Mildred, the new restaurant by former Talula’s Garden chef Michael Santoro. Expecting to find over-the-top plates, he was surprised to find dishes as simple as chicken and biscuits on the menu. However, his did not stop The Mildred from setting a great first impression.
What we’re doing here is more personal, straight-up good cookin’ with less reliance on garnish for garnish’s sake,” says the chef. “The food looks a lot different [from Talula’s], but there’s a thread running through everything I’ve been doing for the past several years: low-temp cooking, marinading, brining, braising, the application of food science, how it affects vegetables, eggs, milk.” In Philly, we don’t have the luxury of having known Santoro for the past several years. We don’t know the Santoro of the Blue Duck in D.C. or the Santoro of the Fat Duck in London or the Santoro of Gilt in New York. All we know is the Santoro of Talula’s Garden, which is why the rustic persona of the Mildred’s menu feels like such a curveball. But what’s happening in the kitchen, behind the scenes, Santoro insists, has always been the same.
Photo by Neal Santos