The Gaslight Is Taking A Do-Over

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Things did not go well for Jason Cichonski when he debuted his Old City bro-haven and drink-a-teria, The Gaslight. He got kicked around pretty good by our own Trey Popp, who handed down one lonely star (“The Ela chef’s sophomore effort feels like an Old City boite for singles who’ve almost outgrown them, but who aren’t quite ready to choose between Manayunk and Cougar Town.”) and given a single mercy bell by Craig LaBan in a review most notable for the fact that the chef himself knew an ass-kicking was forthcoming.

Still, he kept things going–serving crowds who didn’t seem dissuaded at all by the bad press. Right up until February 28 when a burst pipe upstairs forced a “temporary” shutdown (which has now lasted nearly a month) and Cichonski decided to use the time to re-do, well, pretty much everything.

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Get Drunk for Puppies

Wouldn't you drink for this guy?

Wouldn’t you drink for this guy?

Finally, this is your chance to use that drinking problem of yours for good.

Tomorrow night (Wednesday, February 18), Old City’s The Gaslight is hosting a happy hour event to benefit The Morris Animal Refuge (America’s first animal shelter).

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The Gaslight Pairs Up with Franklin Fountain and Dad’s Hat

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It’s an Old City collaboration with the Gaslight’s Jason Cichonski and The Franklin Fountain’s Eric and Ryan Berley. The four-course dinner will pair Cichonski’s food with the hot drinking chocolates developed by the Berley brothers. The dinner takes place on Thursday, December 18th and costs $45 per person. A Dad’s Hat cocktail pairing will be available for an additional $25.

Though Cichonski has taken a critical beating recently at the Gaslight, $45 is a reasonable price for the dinner and if you’ve had a Franklin Fountain drinking chocolate, you’ve wanted to have a reason to have several. So here’s your chance.

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Laban Gives One Bell To The Gaslight For Its “Flicker Of Hope”

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Ouch.

Over the weekend, Craig Laban finally dropped the hammer on Jason Cichonski’s Old City tavern, The Gaslight, giving serious consideration to handing out zero bells, but finally offering the arguable mercy of a single bell in recognition of the fact that Cichonski apparently already knows how badly his restaurant sucks.

But chef-owner Jason Cichonski is the one here with the jittery hand. The poor fellow’s nerves have gotten the best of him as we speak on the phone, and his voice oozes the dread of self-recognition – without any prompting on my part – that things have not gone as hoped with his second restaurant, even nine months after opening: “I’m going to have to take this one on the chin.”

1 Bell – Hit Or Miss

The Gaslight: A flicker of hope for this Old City pub with the cool chef {Philadelphia Inquirer]
Sex Panther! Gaslight Review [Philadelphia magazine]
All of Craig Laban’s Zero Bell reviews, 1998-2013 [f8b8z]

Ela Offering Special Monday Night Prix Fixe

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Jason Cichonski’s Ela is offering a special $30 prix fixe on Monday nights. The three-course dinner options for each course, if we were ordering, that would mean:

  • Melon Gazpacho
    mango, hibiscus
  • Pennsylvania trout
    pumpernickle orecchiette, horseradish, mustard chips
  • Cookie Dough
    vanilla-bay ice cream, warm cookie dough

To further sweeten the deal, select bottles of wine are half-price on Mondays.

Ela Monday Prix Fixe Menu (PDF)

Ela [Foobooz]

Top Chef Donuts at The Gaslight Today

stackeddonuts-gaslight-squareTop Chef contestant Stephanie Cmar is in town today at castmate Jason Cichonski’s Gaslight in Old City. Cmar is in the midst of a national pop-up tour for her Stacked Donuts and Trademark Tarts. The pastry chef is joined by Justin Burke-Sansom to form Party of Two. The pair have been popping up in Boston every week for the past five months offering their Stacked Donuts and Trademark Tarts. They have now joined forces and are working as a collaborative.

Today they will be offering three donuts and two types of tarts, starting at 11 a.m. Each sweet treat is $3 and is cash only. Get there early, there are only 100 donuts and 80 tarts to go around.

Gaslight [Foobooz]

New Summer Bar Menu for Ela

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Eggplant Tots

Ela has added new cocktails and bar menu items for summer. Chef Jason Cichonski has added dishes like:

  • Pork Belly with watermelon bbq, pickled rind, arugula
  • Lamb Pita with sesame cucumber, salsa verde, yogurt and radish
  • Eggplant Tots with piperade, shaved fennel and pecorino

The bar is also celebrating summer with several new cocktails including:

  • Divine Intervention with Lillet, Uncle Val’s Botanical Gin, Orange Bitters, Lavender
  • I Am Fred Astaire with Vodka, Mango-Rosemary-Red Bell Pepper Shrub

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Restaurant Review: The Gaslight

Chips with charred eggplant salsa | Photo by Courtney Apple

Chips with charred eggplant salsa | Photo by Courtney Apple

If you’re comfortable looking a bartender straight in the eye and asking for a Sex Panther, then girl, does Jason Cichonski have the bar for you.

That Granny Smith-and-cranberry cosmo isn’t the only cocktail on offer, of course. You could also order a Red Hot Mama (black cherry margarita) or a Mr. Muffin (gin and tonic with strawberry and sage) — though, as with the Pirate Hooker (red currant Bellini), propriety would seem to dictate tacking a “for my friend” onto such requests.

But then, hitting Old City for the propriety is like going to Thailand for the cheese.

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Where We’re Eating: Brunch at the Gaslight

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Brunch is an all day affair on Sundays. But there is this burger, the best in Old City.

Brunch is typically the most fun meal of the week. Friends get together, tell stories of the weekend and, hopefully, laugh a lot. At the Gaslight, the new bar from Jason Cichonski, brunch is an especially good time, and on Sundays it’s an all-day affair, as he and sous-chef James Fujioka whip up eggs, waffles and sides of bacon even after night falls. It all manages to be satisfying without taking itself too seriously — which is a good thing, because who wants to think too hard on a Sunday? If birthday cake waffles are just a bit too silly, the ones stuffed with savory sausage and herb butter are worth ordering, if only for the smoked whiskey syrup that comes with them — provided that’s not too painful a reminder of your Saturday night. Another must-order: buttermilk fried chicken that can be served as a main course or as an inspired side. Refuse to get behind the late-night brunch? Then order the GSLT Burger. It’s the best burger in Old City. And like all those brunch plates, it’s a lot of fun, too.

The Gaslight [Foobooz]

Originally published in the May 2014 issue of Philadelphia magazine.

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