So remember when we told you about Fork’s Eli Kulp stepping in as a partner at a.kitchen and a.bar in Rittenhouse? Yeah, well it looks like Kulp has had time to look over the space, the set-up and the menu at a.kitchen and decide how he’d like to make his mark.
He’s going to do it by changing just about every single thing about the place.
Okay, maybe not every thing, but he’s certainly changing a lot of it. Like the concept, the basic operating gear of the line and the entire menu. Hell, even the PR people are calling it a “reinvention”.
While there's no finalized menu yet, we do know that Kulp will be restructuring it into 5 categories:
Tastes To Start, shareable snacks, designed to jump-start taste buds by using only simple and fresh ingredients; Mostly Raw, an assortment of seafood, meats and greens, all prepared to highlight their natural or barely cooked flavors; Small Plates, composed dishes that reflect Chef Kulp’s keen ability for taking classic flavors and cultivating new ones; Charcoal Grilled, featuring a variety of land and sea selections, cooked simply over the red-hot charcoal; and Sides, with an emphasis on seasonal produce and vegetables, as well as a continued focus on the best bread program in Philadelphia [by which they mean the bread program at Fork and High Street On Market, which really is remarkable], including seasonal rolls and house-made butter.
Further, he's going to be concentrating his efforts (and the efforts of the kitchen) around a new charcoal grill that's just been installed, aiming for the flavors that only open, hardwood grilling can achieve. Bearing in mind that this was also the nut of the California Cuisine revolution of two decades ago, I'm still curious to see what Kulp does with the new equipment. The only hints we have so far are sample dishes like shitake mushrooms wrapped in pine paper (no, I don't know what that is either) and toasted with seaweed and thyme, chicken thighs with mustard, dandelion and sesame, or grilled prawns with chile vinaigrette that the house will be selling at $7 per piece (which strikes me as a bit pricey, but we'll see).
The new menu is scheduled to launch in mid-March. And once things get settled, Kulp is also hoping to use the 12-seat chef's counter at a.kitchen to do tasting menus and his own version of omakase--which will undoubtedly make those seats some of the most sought-after in the city.
Which is not something I've been able to say about any of the seats at a.kitchen in quite some time.