You grew up in Mossyrock, Washington. Is that a town of more or less than 100 people? Ha. Last time I saw, it had 498. My mom is from Holland; my dad is from New York. And they were sort of hippies traveling in the ’70s, doing their thing. They met and found this little plot of land in the middle of nowhere and bought it, put a single-wide trailer on it, and that’s where I grew up.
At noon on July 17, Ellen Yin and chef Eli Kulp (the dynamic duo who took over both a.bar and a.kitchen a couple months back) are going to be debuting a new menu at a.bar to celebrate the Rittenhouse bar’s first anniversary. Here’s what they have to say about the change-up.
“Chef Kulp’s menu will expand upon a.bar’s already diverse fresh-shucked oyster program, and adds a globally-inspired selection of crudos, shareable snacks, more substantial salads and sandwiches [as well as] a few select whole fish. In addition, a.bar’s hours of operation will be extended, serving [the] new menu all day long, Monday through Saturday, from noon until 10 p.m, with the raw bar offerings available until 11 p.m.”
So what does Kulp have in store for this new menu? He gave us a few clues…
On Wednesday, May 28th our friends at City Paper are throwing the Great Sandwiches Event at Union Transfer.
The event runs from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and tickets are $35 per person. Guests will sample sandwiches, sandwich-inspired desserts, beer, wine and liquor from area restaurants, distilleries, wineries and breweries.
There will also be a Chopped-style competition where Scott Schroeder (American Sardine Bar, South Philly Taproom), Brad Spence (Amis) and Eli Kulp (Fork, High Street on Market) will battle in front of a panel of local food experts.
Last night it snowed. Today the wind howled and you had to wonder if this winter would ever just give up. But Twitter is abuzz with photos and tweets that proved spring is indeed here. Local chefs are tweeting up a storm of the ramps they’ve foraged and already gotten onto their menus.
Okay, so at a certain point someone is going to have to go after chef Eli Kulp with a tranquilizer gun just to get him to slow down a little. He already has like nine different menus working between Fork and High Street on Market, he’s overseeing A.Kitchen and A.Bar and doing events like Franklin Flea and Taste of the Nation. But that’s apparently not enough for him. Because he also does special Friends and Family dinners on Tuesday nights at High Street, which are continuing throughout the spring.
For example, on Tuesday, April 22 he’ll be doing a dinner with Phickle’s Amanda Feifer which will continue their Fermentation Series celebrating all things fermented–from coffee and chocolate to cheese and yogurt, beer and wine to pickles and kim chi. (Other dates include Tuesday, May 13 and Tuesday, June 17.) And on Tuesday, May 6, it’ll be a cheese dinner with Valley Shepherd Creamery, with cheesemaker Jaenine Dargis and some of her 30+ Basque-influenced cheeses. All the dinners start at 9pm and are just $25 per person (plus booze, tax and tip).
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.
Yup. That’s him with (half of) Dana Cowin from Food & Wine. Cowin is currently announcing all the Best New Chef winners via Twitter and Instagram, and word about Eli Kulp’s win just came down a few minutes ago.
So congrats, chef. You are having one helluva year.
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.
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”.