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.
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).
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”.
The good stuff keeps coming from Eli Kulp and the Fork and High Street on Market crews. This spring, Kulp is teaming up with self appointed “cheese courtesan” and author of The DiBruno Brothers House of Cheese book, Madame Fromage (née Tenaya Darlington) to host a series of monthly dinners. The dinners will happen on Tuesday evenings March 4th, April 1st, and May 6th, when High Street normally does their friends & family dinner series. Each evening will feature the products of a local cheesemaker in a three course prix fixe menu for $25.
The 2014 James Beard Foundation Semifinalists have been announced. Local chefs and restaurateurs and restaurants made it to the semifinals in ten categories including Outstanding Restaurant, Fork, and three nominees for Rising Star Chef of the Year, Chris Kearse, Will, Ben Puchowitz, Cheu Noodle Bar and Ben Nerenhausen, Mistral (Princeton, NJ).
Fork already has a tasting menu, but that wasn’t quite enough for chef and serial overachiever Eli Kulp. Starting tomorrow and running Tuesdays through Saturdays, he’ll be serving a new tasting menu called “Our Terroir,” inspired by the local meats and produce available during winter in the Philadelphia region and creating “a strong sense of place by incorporating the traditions, foodways and culture for which Pennsylvania is known.”
So what’ll he be serving other than snowballs dusted in road salt? How about shaved apple salad with wild hickory nuts, or Dallastown venison carpaccio with charred local cabbages and pine tip tea (which he’s calling “The Pine Barrens”). There’s “Kennett Square à la Pascal Barbot,”–local white button mushrooms turned into a galette inspired by the famed Astrance chef, but substituting cashew cheese, smoked sweet potato and citrus for Barbot’s French foie gras, and “Brown Butter Noodles,” the classic Pennsylvania Dutch dish with house-extruded spaghetti served carbonara-style with smoked pork jowl, farm egg and local pecorino. My favorite thing listed on the early preview provided by Fork? “Saffron’s Revenge,” which is rabbit from Bucks County grower Justin Hulshizer whose grandmother’s saffron is grown and eaten by the wild rabbits around his property. Nice.
But hey, don’t listen to me. There’s a video where Kulp explains the whole thing.
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Over on the Insider, they’re reporting on a deal reached between a.kitchen/a.bar’s David Fields and Ellen Yin and Eli Kulp from Fork. The way things look right now, Fields and Yin are throwing in together at a.kitchen and a.bar, becoming partners in both operations, and Kulp will be taking the position of executive chef–designing menus for an as-yet-unnamed chef de cuisine.
The new Kulp-designed a.kitchen and a.bar menus will debut in March. For more details on how this all came together, check out Michael Klein’s interview with Yin and Fields below.
Craig LaBan’s Year in Bells came out last weekend. The annual feature includes some revisits to restaurants reviewed earlier and the announcement of a Chef of the Year award.
The Saint James in Ardmore, which was skewered a year ago in its initial review has now been upgraded to a single bell (hit-or-miss). Citron & Rose, which lost its partnership with Michael Solomonov and his Zahav team maintained its two-bells, based on the strength of new chef, Karen Nicolas.
Tiffin Bistro and Red Owl Tavern rounded out the revisites. Each managed to hang on to their one bell ratings but frankly, each sounded lucky to have done so.
Chef Eli Kulp, who came to Fork and High Street on Market from New York’s Torrisi Italian Specialties was named Chef of the Year. LaBan said of Kulp’s cooking, “his knack for unexpected combos and rustic techniques (offbeat pastas, fermenting, charcuterie) produced grand presentations like his whole-duck feast – a multi-part poultry masterpiece that was among the best birds (and meatballs) I’ve ever eaten.”
Craig LaBan’s Year in Bells [Philadelphia Inquirer]
As if chef Eli Kulp didn’t already have enough on his plate, the new(ish) High Street on Market (which replaced Fork Etc in the space adjacent to Fork-the-restaurant) is starting up a special, prix fixe “Friends-and-Family” dinner service tonight.
The dinner starts at 9pm. There are both share plates and individual entrees involved (making the whole things 5 courses, give or take). But the coolest thing? The entire dinner is just $25 per person (drinks not included)–which is a helluva deal no matter how you look at it.
According to Eater, this is going to be an every-Tuesday-night thing at High Street, with new menus being posted on Twitter every Tuesday at noon. And lo and behold, the menu for tonight’s dinner is already up. Check it out after the jump.
Today is the official opening day of High Street on Market, the new concept in the former Fork, Etc. space by the team behind Fork: Ellen Yin, Roberto Sella, and chef Eli Kulp.
In less than a month the space has been significantly transformed. Instead of a refrigerated case along the back wall, there is now an L-shaped butcher block counter stocked with baked goods and a new espresso machine brewing Rival Bros. Coffee. Behind the counter is a small open kitchen and the communal table has been replaced with café seating. Breakfast and lunch options abound, and the team plans to add dinner service, complete with wine, as well.
The food itself seems both original and appealing. There are inventive breakfast sandwiches and a lineup of pastries that doesn’t include a single usual suspect. Instead on offer are “escargots”, swirled buns with fillings of pistachio and golden raisin cream, or romesco sauce with grilled vegetables. We loved the cannoli danish, which looks more like a muffin than a typical danish–a flaky pastry with a heart of ricotta cream, mostarda cherries, and bittersweet chocolate.
We didn’t stay for lunch on this visit, but we’ll definitely be back: Sandwiches we can’t wait to try include duck meatballs with spicy marinara, liver and onions, Swiss cheese on seeded semolina, or roast pork with sharp provolone and fermented broccoli raabe. Salads look just as good, especially the autumn panzanella of roasted squash, marinated and crispy kale, orchard fruit, pecorino, pepitas, and rye croutons.
Check out the photos of the space after the jump.