Of Vinyl, Ramps and Stinging Nettle: Helm Reviewed

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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 »

Marigold Kitchen Launches Test Kitchen Tuesdays

marigold-hostess-stand-940Marigold Kitchen is doing something special on Tuesdays. Each Tuesday this summer, the Marigold team will be offering a five-to-eight course experimental menu highlighting ingredients sourced from local farmers’ markets and foragers.

The dinners are $65 per person and limited to 25 diners a night. The staff at Marigold will explain the inspiration behind each dish as well as discussing the farmers who grow the produce.

In addition to the Tuesday night dinners, Marigold Kitchen has also rolled out their new early summer menu.

Check out some highlights »

Roberto Cafe Becoming Ti Penso

ti-penso-400Roberto Cafe at 2108 South Street has closed and is under renovation. The BYOB will reopen under new management and with the name Ti Penso which, according to Google Translate, means “I think of you” in Italian.

When we get more details, we’ll be sure to let everyone know.

Ti Penso [Foobooz]

Update: Italian BYOB by Townsend Wentz

townsend wentz at cook

Exciting news: we have some updates on the heretofore unnamed Italian BYOB by Townsend Wentz that’s going to be at 23rd and Fairmount (formerly the space occupied by Garden Fresh).

Wentz plans to open the 50-seat BYOB in about four months (which seems like a totally reasonable time frame in that, when it takes six months, it really won’t seem like he blew past that proposed opening date by all that much), and the menu will be seasonal and heavily Italian-influenced. The highlight will be homemade pastas, which makes sense. It would’ve been weird if the highlight was going to be ice cream sundaes.

It will be open for dinner 6 nights a week. No word yet on if he plans to call the place, “Wentz,” but our fingers remain crossed. We’ll keep you updated as we learn more.

All Townsend Wentz coverage [f8b8z]

Total Rampage at Matyson

ramps2

I’m pretty sure by now you know that spring is here. But it’s not just the warm weather, the longer days and a sudden revival of Philadelphia’s greenery that has us excited.

We’re excited for the multiple spring menus we’ve been showing you, which debut more fresh veggies and cocktails that have us ready to ditch work and spend the day drinking outside.

But we’re also excited because spring means ramp season. It’s that almost sweet type of onion that sort of resembles a scallion, but has the odor of garlic. You can only find it around this time each year and, ladies and gentlemen, it has arrived in Philadelphia.

To celebrate the veggie, Matyson is throwing a rampage (get it?). From Monday, April 27 through Thursday, April 30, the Rittenhouse restaurant is featuring a ramp tasting menu.

The menu is five courses for $55 per person. If you’re pretty excited for ramps, than you can make your reservation here.

Check out the Rampage menu »

Blackfish BYOB Hosts Four Course Dinner

tautog-blackfish-940Blackfish in Conshohocken is hosting a four-course menu on Tuesday, April 28. The restaurant will be fittingly featuring the eponymous blackfish on the menu.

No, blackfish isn’t the killer whale, so don’t get all worked up about that documentary. But rather the tautog, a species of fish found along the eastern seaboard from Nova Scotia to South Carolina.

The menu is $49 per person and you can call and make reservations at 610-397-0888.

Check out the menu »

Mercato Debuts New Spring Menu

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Spinach Cavatelli

As the trees turn green once again, so do our dinner plates as restaurants transition their menus to lighter and brighter fare.

Mercato, the longstanding Italian BYOB on the 1200 block of Spruce Street, just introduced its spring menu, with new appetizer, pasta and meat dishes.

The new market salad includes ricotta salata, shaved asparagus, fava beans, strawberries, bibb lettuce and balsamic. Their pasta dish is a spinach cavatelli with veal ragu, pecorino romano, cream and fava beans. They also have a grilled spring onion risotto with (you guessed it) fava beans, mint, fennel, meyer lemon and pecorino romano.

Mercato also recently left OpenTable for Yelp’s reservation system. You can make reservations on their website here or give them a call at 215-985-2962.

Check out Mercato’s full menu »

Like a Nice Cabernet, Every City Wants a Sip of Philly’s BYOB Culture

Philadelphia BYOB laws

Delicious, and affordable. | Shutterstock.com

There are more than 200 BYOBs in Center City alone, some of which count among the very best restaurants in Philadelphia. They’re an essential part of the city’s dining culture, and a legit engine of neighborhood economic development. Many people, including Craig LaBan, have credited BYOBs with shaping Philly’s dining scene in a unique, patron-friendly (no 3X markups!) way.

And none of it would be possible without the state’s permissive laws on restaurant patrons bringing in alcohol. The state’s BYOB law has given restauranteurs who can’t hope to afford one of the limited number of liquor licenses a chance to open new dining establishments nonetheless.

Diners aren’t so lucky everywhere in the country. Over a dozen states, including Ohio and Wisconsin, ban BYOB policies. Last year, the city of Atlanta cracked down on them, enforcing a little-understood policy that requires any establishment with patrons providing their own liquor to buy a special license from the city. Read more »

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