In the Kitchen at Volver

Kyle Baddorf, Josh Massaro and Jose Garces testing recipes.

Kyle Baddorf, Josh Massaro and Jose Garces testing recipes.

Last Thursday I checked out how menu testing was going over at Volver with Jose Garces, Natalie Maronski and the rest of the Volver team.

I was lucky enough to eavesdrop on the team as they discussed the best way to plate their salad with greens from Garces’ Luna Farm. I smelled water that had the fragrance of pot soil. I sampled “Kentucky Fried Sqab” from the performance kitchen’s pressure fryer. And I got a bite of perhaps the best fish I’ve ever tasted.


living-salad-volver-940

Volver is under a month away from opening and the performance tasting menu, which will be $175 per person, is being fine tuned. When I arrived, Garces was reviewing how the "From the Garden" salad was being plated. The team discussed the different approaches. Was an arc of ingredients the best approach? Would a stacked look work better? The team wondered which method would encourage diners to dive right in and get a good mix of food on their fork. The process was photographed and Garces would review the results.

Next up was  Kentucky Fried Squab. Again the chefs had their own takes on how to present the dish. But what was most important was that squab. It's fried up in a pressure fryer that is just one of the many cool tools that are available to the Volver team. The squab is served medium-rare with an impeccable crispy exterior and the most intense squab flavor I've ever come across. The bird was popular with the chefs as they carved up an extra order and quickly devoured the pieces.



Also on the agenda was the "Warm Milk and Cereal." This playful take on breakfast featured a base of chicken oysters with truffle rice cakes, bacon, white asparagus spears and thyme marshmallows. It was served with a glass vessel of asparagus milk. The marshmallows, which are a fun homage to Lucky Charms, made the dish.



Volver means to return in Spanish, and the restaurant will feature dishes inspired by Jose Garces' trips around the world. This is particularly true in the Veta La Palma Corvina. Veta La Palma is a sustainable aquaculture farm, 10-miles inland from the Atlantic Ocean in Seville, Spain. Everything on the plate comes from that area including the corvina, which was as spectacular a piece of fish as I have ever had.



Garces was pleased with the work and gave the team the rest of the night off. But Garces and culinary director Michael Fiorello were just getting started. Up next was a dessert tasting. Garces expected it to go till midnight.



From its ticketed pricing to modernist kitchen toys, Garces and his team are creating something the city has never seen before. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out.

The dining room at Volver opens on Wednesday, April 16th. The lounge, which will feature a menu of caviar, bruschetta, cheese and oysters opens a week earlier on April 9th.

Volver [Foobooz]

Be respectful of our online community and contribute to an engaging conversation. We reserve the right to ban impersonators and remove comments that contain personal attacks, threats, or profanity, or are flat-out offensive. By posting here, you are permitting Philadelphia magazine and Metro Corp. to edit and republish your comment in all media.

  • Bloom-Trade

    Can’t wait for Volver to open! This restaurant team is the best around, always bringing great concepts to the community.

  • JJJ

    Will bomb.

  • Hmmmm

    The plate with the hands holding the food is the WORST.
    So basically they are re-hashing El-Bulli and the Fat Duck in Philly without the technical skill. Good Luck.
    Obviously we should wait to eat before commenting but all those alginated caviars and serving stuff in sardine cans does not bode well.

  • Denise Rambo

    Those hand plates are very distracting.

  • SB

    Wow such vicious comments! The food looks great to me!

  • Chris Meffe

    The plates with the open hands seem a bit hokey and I think totally unnecessary to convey the message that the food is fresh from the garden. It just seems to detract from the beautiful presentation of the food itself. White plates are always best!