You know those people who go to new restaurants purely to order the same dish they order everywhere else? Because the “litmus test” of a good place is how well it makes a roasted chicken—or guacamole, or steak frites, or chocolate mousse, or whatever that person has arbitrarily determined to be the whole point of eating out?
It’s a dwindling species these days. Fewer and fewer chefs want to cook what the other guy’s cooking; straight-up comparisons are harder to find. And I’ve never counted myself part of that tribe anyway. Meals out are too ripe with potential adventure to waste them looking for litmus tests.
But there’s no need to be dogmatic about it, so today I’m going to nominate one anyway: stuffed squid.
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Not sure how many of you have noticed yet, but a.kitchen was closed Monday. There’s a sign on the door and everything, explaining simply that “a.kitchen will be closed Monday, March 17 in preparation for the highly anticipated new menu by chef Eli Kulp.”
So yes, as promised, Kulp (who has already made his mark at Fork and High Street on Market) has put together a new menu for the space, which will be launching tomorrow. That snap above? Those are his uni rice cakes. There’s also pork jowl, kelp salt, potato skins, dill salsa, potato soup, chicken thighs, pine (as an ingredient) and deviled skate. And we’ve got a couple more pictures of his new dishes plus the complete new menu below. Check it all out after the jump.
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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”.
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Photography by Michael Persico
Over on the Insider, they’re reporting on a deal reached between a.kitchen/a.bar’s David Fields and Ellen Yin and Eli Kulp from Fork. The way things look right now, Fields and Yin are throwing in together at a.kitchen and a.bar, becoming partners in both operations, and Kulp will be taking the position of executive chef–designing menus for an as-yet-unnamed chef de cuisine.
The new Kulp-designed a.kitchen and a.bar menus will debut in March. For more details on how this all came together, check out Michael Klein’s interview with Yin and Fields below.
Fork’s Yin and Kulp partnering with Fields at a.kitchen [Insider]
This Monday, December 9th is going to be all about Sherry at a.bar. Though many people’s only experience with sherry is on the sweet side, there are dry Sherries that work very well with food.
From 3 to 6 p.m., all oysters are $1.50 each and several local wine reps will be pouring multiple Sherries, ranging from $5 to $10 a glass.
At 7 p.m. chef Terence Feury (Tavro 13) will prepare a four-course dinner with Sherry pairings. The dinner is $85 per person and there is only one seating. Contact beverage director, Tim Kweeder for reservations.
The menu and what’s happeing late night … »
David Fields posted this photo of a.bar, the new, corner addition to a.kitchen that we’re hearing will open by Tuesday, July 9th. It’s looking ready.
Last night, it was Jonny Mac. Tonight, Sixpoint and David Katz (ex of Meme) are getting together at a.kitchen for a four-course beer pairing dinner. And not only does the grub look good (excellent news for you Katz enthusiasts out there who keep managing to find him whenever he wanders back into the kitchens around Philly), but the beers are… Well, this is Beer Week. And no one is pouring anything less than their best.
Check out the pairing menu after the jump.
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Back in April we gave you details on a.bar, the sister restaurant to a.kitchen that is opening this summer. Now we have a full menu, featuring some snacks, an extensive raw bar highlighted by the American white sturgeon caviar, seafood like barbecued octopus, charcuterie, and an ice cream sandwich. The menu is short and sophisticated, much like the a.kitchen menu. We have not gotten our hands on a drink menu yet, but expect we have been promised a wine list designed to match with the seafood menu.
a.bar Opening Menu (PDF)
The annual Rittenhouse Row Spring Festival is this Saturday, May 18, from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.. The festival extends from Walnut Street from Broad to 19th and on 18th Street, from Locust to Sansom. Over 40 of the areas best restaurants will be serving up their cuisine for your enjoyment at an affordable price. Some highlights of the participating restaurants include a. Kitchen, Barclay Prime, Continental Mid-town, Di Bruno Bros., El Rey, Le Bec Fin, Oyster House, Parc, Sbraga, Shake Shack, Vernick, and Village Whiskey.
If that doesn’t make you want go, maybe this will; there will be a tasting area with 20 of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board’s Chairman’s Selection wines with a concierge and on-site store.
Other stands will offer Peroni beer, Rex Goliath wines, Cintron, and cocktails. Also, there will be cooking demonstration at 19th and Walnut courtesy of Starr Restaurants. The great food, booze, shopping, activities and weather make the Rittenhouse Row Spring Festival a can’t miss.
Full list of participating restaurants »
So it’s not looking at an opening until later this summer, but some details are coming to light on the new AKA Rittenhouse project (and sister operation to a.kitchen), a.bar. Here’s what we know:
- a.bar will open this summer on the corner of 18th and Walnut
- It will be open to the public but will offer priority seating and a separate entrance to residents of the AKA property.
- The space will once again be designed by Edward Asfour–same guy who did a.kitchen. Expect “natural materials, coffered ceilings and a 17-seat pewtered bronze bar.”
- The menu will be “pared down yet sophisticated,” offering oysters, charcuterie, bar snacks and small plates ranging in price from $4 to $22. At the bar, expect craft beers, lots of cocktails, and a wine list of rarities not often offered in Philly, in addition to a selection of fino and Manzanilla sherries.
- a.bar will be open for lunch and dinner, 7 days a week.