The Queen of Sandwiches: Meltkraft Reviewed

The Melter Skelter at Meltkraft | Courtesy of Valley Shepherd LLC

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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Some Details On The Opening Of The Little Lion


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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Twice in a Lifetime: Whetstone Tavern Reviewed

Passyunk Pork - pork chop, sharp provolone polenta

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 Seasonal Menu for Fond

New from Fond

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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Rebirth of the Cool: Heritage Reviewed

Beef tartare with green strawberry | Photo by Neal Santos

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 »

Opening Menus for Whetstone Tavern

Photo by Brian Leahy

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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Restaurant Review: Vesper

Vesper Bar | Photo by Neal Santos

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 »

Of Vinyl, Ramps and Stinging Nettle: Helm Reviewed


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 »

Three Bells for Mainland Inn

Courtesy the Mainland Inn

Courtesy the Mainland Inn

Craig LaBan finds a much needed wake up to the farm-to-table trope at chef Ezra Duker’s Mainland Inn in Harleysville. La Ban finds lots to praise in Duker’s use of Quarry Hill Farm, the farm two miles away that is owned by Sloane Six, who also owns Mainland.

The extraordinary lamb dish, meanwhile, was a snapshot of two farmyard generations on one plate. A roulade made from a yearling, its braised neck meat shaped into a disk glazed coal-black with olive puree, anchored one end, while the long bones of two amazingly tender chops from a milk-fed baby arced over a spring montage of new onions, favas, and a salsa verde piquant with sorrel and boquerones.

Three Bells – Excellent

Mainland Inn: Direct from the farm, with flair and flavor [Philadelphia Inquirer]
Mainland Inn [Foobooz]

Restaurant Review: Aldine

Photos by Courtney Apple

Photos by Courtney Apple

Everyone knows that opening a restaurant is the surest path to an empty checking account, but George and Jennifer Sabatino know better. For truly shredding your bankroll, nothing beats not opening a restaurant — as the couple spent an agonizing year doing before the first customers finally came to Aldine in October.

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