- Neighborhood: Center City
- 1516 Sansom Street, Philadelphia, PA
- Phone: 215-567-7683
- Website | Facebook | Twitter
- Cuisine: Seafood
- Price: $$$
- Accepts Credit Cards: Yes
There are only two reasons why we get so giddy when soft-shell season comes around, two reasons why we like eating them at all:
Digging into them with a fork and knife — really, eating any animal whole like that — is a pretty primal experience in itself.
But let’s take it a step further, shall we? Let’s chomp into them without using any utensils at all. Let’s just stuff them between bread and rip into them like the beasts that we are. We’re at the top of this food chain, so we might as well act like it.
Okay, so there is a lot to do this weekend. With spring here, the sun coming out and people finally shaking off the last of their winter blues, it seems like everybody has some sort of event, collaboration or special menu just waiting for you — everything from oysters, beer and pies to curry rice and a total tiki takeover.
So let’s just get right to it, shall we?
We have done a LOT of Open Stove nights at COOK. The official count is 46, but that number seems low to me. But even if we accept that figure, that means four years of Open Stove. 184 cooks in our Thunderdome. 92 winners and 92 losers and 368 courses and countless numbers of shots.
In all that time, we have had some great dishes. We have had some terrible dishes, too, but most of them have been better than they had any right to be, considering we were making the chefs work with Swedish Fish, Fruity Pebbles, with their hands tied behind their backs, or blindfolded. We have screwed with our contestants mercilessly because I firmly believe that chefs possess some of the greatest, most creative minds on earth, but that their unique version of greatness and creativity is only brought out under stress. The greater the stress, the greater the genius. And these past four years of Open Stove have been like our own private laboratory in which we prove that every month.
Last night’s contest? In a way, it was no different than 45 that have come before. Four rounds, multiple courses, tricks, booze, shenanigans–it had all the requisite pieces. In one way, it was very different: We had bartenders competing instead of chefs. And in one way, it was the most surprising ever because last night’s Open Stove came about as close as I think we’re ever going to get to the perfect contest.