A soaring plate at Jansen in Mount Airy | Photo by Emily Teel
My wife, Laura, hated Jansen as soon as she walked through the door.
To be fair, she actually hated it before she walked through the door. She’d looked at the menu online, with its photos of the dishes available—shellfish sauces, slouching ring-molded tartares with sprigs of thyme poking up like tiny trees, food stacked or clenched tight like fists amid the vast white space of plates doodled with sauce)—and asked why we were doing this.
“I’ve eaten enough country-club food in my life, Jay. Why would I want more?”
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Buckminster’s at 22st and Federal | Photo via Buckminster’s
It was the bologna that threw me.
I mean, really, it was everything. But it was the bologna most of all, because I loved the bologna at Buckminster’s—thick-cut quarters of Ely Farm honey bologna, stiff as salami, delicately sweet, tasting precisely nothing like anything you’re thinking of when you think of bologna—and I truly, honestly believe that everyone in the city who loves food and gives even a passing damn for locality and the bounty of this region ought to go there and eat it right now. It was far and away the best bologna I’ve ever had in my life (a life dedicated, more or less, to finding best things and loudly telling people about them), and like all best things, it’s worth going out of your way for.
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The Melter Skelter at Meltkraft | Courtesy of Valley Shepherd LLC
Grilled cheese is the queen of sandwiches. Say what you will about its simplicity, its lack of intrinsic finesse (only rule: don’t burn), but it is precisely this lack of complexity that makes it perfect. Grilled cheese is tabula rasa—a blank slate onto which can be written anything (a love song for a hundred cheeses, a lust for tomatoes or bacon, a treatise on the comforts of childhood, of moms and dads, of easier times or poverty or innovation)—and that is what makes it so beloved. The grilled cheese sandwich demands nothing, but there isn’t much you can add to a grilled cheese sandwich that will ruin it (broken glass, gum, broccoli). It is, as it is, ideal. But infinitely customizable.
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The Little Lion didn’t make our latest list of upcoming fall openings because, at the time we were putting that list together, we didn’t really know enough about the place to say anything.
Now, though, we’ve got a few details about the new restaurant going into the 3rd and Chestnut space in Old City. We know, for example, that its name pays homage to founding father Alexander Hamilton. We know, for example, that there’ll be an upscale but casual vibe (which means nothing). That they’re hoping to get open sometime in November (which also means nothing until there’s an actual date).
Oh, and now we know who the chef is going to be, too.
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Passyunk Pork – pork chop, sharp provolone polenta | Photo by Caroline Russock
Jeremy Nolen—chef at Whetstone, the man behind Brauhaus and Wursthaus Schmitz, lonely local champion of modern German cuisine and a fella who knows an awful lot about tube-shaped meats—stopped by our table somewhere between the drinks arriving and the menus being taken away. He looked distracted, tired— sucking breath like a boxer in the third round suddenly realizing that the guy across the ring from him is more of a fighter than he’d expected. Read more »
New from Fond
Fond enjoyed an early August vacation and now chef Lee Styer, pastry chef Jessie Prawlucki and front of the house manager Tory Keomanivong are back and showing off a new summer menu, plus a featured dish of the month.
Among the new dishes are tuna poke with yellowtail and albacore tuna served with soy, black sesame, pineapple, cucumber, toasted coconut; scallops with summer squash, fregola sarda, piquillo pepper sauce; and more.
The new featured dish for August is shrimp with watermelon, feta, micro basil and a smoked paprika aioli. The dish is described as smoky but bright and refreshing at the same time. It’s available now as an appetizer.
Fond can be enjoyed a la carte or via five ($59) or seven course ($69) tasting menus.
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Beef tartare with green strawberry | Photo by Neal Santos
On the first day, there were Edison bulbs. Twenty-first-century diners across the land gazed up from rough-hewn farm tables, from their plates of artisanal charcuterie and pork belly with rich-yolked local egg, and beheld the bygone incandescence of the tungsten age.
On the second day, there were Clover Clubs and Aviations. Barmen wearing arm garters and handlebar mustaches shook Prohibition’s elixirs into the Facebook era.
Oh, but on the third day our souls willfinally sing, for the jazz club will rise again! Read more »
Whetstone | Photo by Brian Leahy
Whetstone Tavern, the American restaurant from Brauhaus Schmitz chef Jeremy Nolen is scheduled to open this Wednesday, July 15th at 700 South 5th Street. The restaurant, saw several setbacks as it approached its opening day, including water damage, inspection woes, and even a visit from an inflatable rat. But that’s all behind Nolen and Doug Hager, the Brauhaus Schmitz owner who is a partner in Whetstone. The food veers away from the German food that has brought him notoriety at Brauhaus. Instead expect dishes as diverse as Kung Pao chicken wings and Passyunk Pork, a 12-ounce bone-in pork chop prepared, with a tip of a cap to Philadelphia’s roast pork sandwich, with sharp provolone polenta, broccoli rabe and pork cracklings.
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Vesper Bar | Photo by Neal Santos
Two men walk into a bar.
“May we go downstairs?” one asks, gesturing toward a bookcase that conceals a secret stairwell.
“Do you have the password?” the hostess replies, flashing a flinty sidelong stare. Read more »
￼Tortellini with brussels sprouts | Photo by Jason Varney
You knew this was coming. In Philadelphia, where chefs are constantly popping up in one another’s kitchens or dueling each other at Cook, it was only a matter of time before two of them would notice a FOR RENT sign as they carpooled home one night and decide to take the next logical step and move in together. Read more »