Nick Elmi on CBS This Morning

Nick Elmi is having quite the 2014 so far. His win on Top Chef became public, his Laurel has been praised by the critics and has just been nominated for a James Beard Award for Top New Restaurant. All of this has made his restaurant impossible to get into. Elmi is preparing to open up June resteverations to Laurel sometime next week.

This past weekend he appeared on CBS This Morning and talked about his start in the kitchen and prepared a  rustic cacciucco dish for the show.

Laurel [Foobooz]

The PASS adds “Oysters and Charcuterie” Sunday Supper

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Matthew Ridgway, owner of The PASS in Rosemont, NJ is hosting a new Sunday supper, simply named “Oysters and Charcuterie.” The meal is served from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Ridgway says, “we know our local guests will love it, and we think it will be a great light supper for weekenders and daytrippers who are shopping in Lahaska, New Hope and Lambertville, or antiquing in Bucks and Hunterdon Counties.” Ridgway, who has made his name with his PorcSalt brand of sustainable, artisanal and local charcuterie.

Philadelphia diners may recognize the guy running the front-of-the-house, it is  Steve Schiavo, who won the 2011 Best of Philly award while he was working at Fond.

The PASS is open for dinner Wednesday through Saturday.

The PASS [Foobooz]

Townsend Wentz Opening a Fairmount BYOB

townsend-wentz-400Townsend Wentz, who already is working on taking over the former Sophia’s one East Passyunk is also looking to open an Italian BYOB at 23rd and Fairmount. Wentz is appearing in front of the Spring Garden Civic Association meeting today at 4:30 p.m. at 19th and North. Wentz is hoping to see some familiar faces at the meeting who may have enjoyed his food at McCrossen’s, where he was the chef until recently.

More Townsend Wentz news »

Chris Kearse Updates Will’s Menu for Winter

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Will BYOB has updated its menu for late winter. Chris Kearse has hearty dishes that might make you grateful that it’s cold out. Dishes like foie gras and rabbit terrine, whole roasted hen of the woods mushrooms and a Berkshire Pork neck and sausage might just be enough for you to forgive this winter.

Also coming up at Will, a special “Heart” menu on February 18th.

The menus » 

Three Bells for Laurel

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Craig LaBan finds that Nick Elmi is doing more than just turning out fantastic plates at his BYOB, Laurel. It appears the chef has also found serenity.

His albacore starter may be the best raw tuna dish in town, firmed ever so slightly in tepid olive oil before being dressed with the delicate sweetness of shaved Asian pears and a powder of frozen horseradish and yuzu “snow” that melted in mouth with a cooling sparkle. A bracing edge of mustard oil, chile-spiked ponzu, and fermented daikon cubes were the perfect foil to assertive Spanish mackerel seared crackly warm on the skin side and sashimi raw on the reverse. A study in Berkshire pork – loin roasted, belly braised, tender shoulder pulled then formed into a patty – was memorable for its elegant necklace of huckleberry, kale, and chestnut sauces.

Three Bells – Excellent

A “Top Chef” champ returns to his roots [Philadelphia Inquirer]
Laurel [Foobooz]

Cafe Ynez Is Coming to Washington Ave

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Jill Weber, who has brought Jet Wine Bar and Rex 1516 to South Street is bringing another business to the Graduate Hospital neighborhood. Cafe Ynez will be her next restaurant, opening in the NextFab Studio space at 2025 Washington Avenue, her husband’s business.

Cafe Ynez will be a Mexico City style diner operating from early morning to early evening, including brunch on weekends. The menu will include coffee, pastries, cemitas sandwiches and rotisserie chicken.

As for an opening date, like many Philadelphia restaurant openings, it will depend on Licenses and Inspections.

Cafe Ynez [Foobooz]

Nick Elmi Breaks Free at Laurel

Daurade at Laurel | Photo by Jason Varney

Daurade at Laurel | Photo by Jason Varney

Trey Popp reviews Nick Elmi’s Laurel for the February issue of Philadelphia magazine. Popp writes that Elmi’s cooking has been unshackled from cooking other people’s food and has found his way. It’s a three-and-a-half star review, the highest rating Popp has doled out as reviewer for the magazine.

The dish I least wanted to order—pork with acorn squash and
chanterelles—turned out to feature loin and belly and the best “sausage” I’ve ever had: pulled pork shoulder perked up with sherry vinegar, set on brioche, and wrapped in caul fat that, when pan-fried, transformed the bread into the Platonic ideal of crispiness. And the accompanying pumpkin seed vinaigrette revealed itself as a rustic cousin of marmalade, sharpened by the trace bitterness of oranges blanched 10 times.

Yet never did this finely wrought food feel fussy. Some chefs put so much intellectual effort into a dish that the plate resembles a notebook crammed with all the scratch notes that preceded it. Elmi doesn’t show all his work, only the elegant answers.

Three-and-a-half-stars – Excellent to Extraordinary

Laurel [Foobooz]
Restaurant Review: Nick Elmi’s Laurel [Philadelphia Magazine]

 

Multi-Sensory Pop-Up with Inspiracle

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Chef Rob Sidor is an industry vet. Before being the Chef de Cuisine of Di Bruno Bros., he cooked at both of Dan Stern’s restaurants, Gayle and Rae, Chip Roman’s Blackfish, and he’s been doing some tasting/special menu consulting with Chris Kearse at Will BYOB over the past year.

He’s also been doing a series of pop-up dinners under the name Inspiracle, and it’s what he describes to be a “multi-course, multi-sensory dining experience.” We’re talking visual effects, auditory effects, scents and vapors and all their palatal effects. Plus things that engage the attendees, table-side: siphon infused sauces, edible “perfume”, and smoking cinnamon at the table. On January 28th, for $100 a ticket (tickets include tax and gratuity), you’ll be completely immersed in six-courses (plus a few surprises) of body-shaking, mind-baffling food.

Want a sneak peak? »

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