Menu testing at Volver | Photos by Joni Nimrod
A couple weeks back, we got the chance to bop over to Volver and sit in on one of their menu testing sessions for the new season. It was a pretty cool experience (read: super-cool, and basically one of my favorite parts of this job–getting to witness the way chefs think and work when they’re not in the thick of service), and also represented our first look at what the menu at Volver might look like in this new season.
Well now, with the scheduled resumption of service set for Wednesday night, we have the full menu for you to look at.
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Yesterday, we told you all about the new season and promised re-opening of Volver’s main dining room on September 2nd. Today, there’s word from the other half of the operation–Bar Volver. It will be re-opening tomorrow, and comes back to the scene with a new menu, new cocktails and more.
Want to know the details? Of course you do…
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We’ve said a lot of things about Volver over the past two years. From excitement over its potential, to bewilderment over its policies and pricing, to amazement at our first experience with a full-on performance dinner, to more bewilderment as the menu resolutely refused to change over the course of many, many months even as the concept got tweaked to make it more approachable in the second “season”.
Along the way, Volver picked up the only 4-star review that Trey has ever handed out at Philly mag, warranted a special, extra digression online after the review went up, discussing the booze, the price, the stars and the fish with its own TED Talk, and then frightened us all deeply when it announced a summer vacation–a two month long summer vacation which, not for nothing, seemed extraordinary and odd. I mean, what restaurant just gets to close down for two months in the middle of summer? What is this, France?
The team promised that they’d be re-opening on September 2nd (with Bar Volver debuting early–this Wednesday, as a matter of fact), reinvigorated and with brand new menus. We were skeptical, but hopeful. Volver has had a weird, bumpy run. We have been both fervent supporters and aporetic assholes, loudly voicing our worries and complaints in public. But the place still served me (and several of my colleagues) some of the best plates we’ve had in years, and considering the professional mouths I associate with, that’s no small thing. So when they invited us down to the kitchen late last week to show us what they’ve been working on during their summer vacation, we wasted no time.
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Volver is done for the summer. Not for a week (as is becoming almost standard among many of the more notable Philly restaurants), or for two weeks (which is the point at which we grow nervous about them ever opening back up again), but for a full two months.
The final night of service was June 30, at which point the whole place (Bar Volver included) went quietly dark. This is the message left on their Open Table page:
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Concept for The Playground’s T Street.
With record speed, the first phase of The Playground, known as “T Street,” is officially opening its doors to the public this Friday in Atlantic City.
The Playground is Bart Blatstein‘s reinvigoration program for the Pier Shops at Ceasars, which will hold 14 music venues, two private clubs, a bowling alley and a massive sports bar when all’s said and done. Since we’ve already talked venues, attractions, and construction, how about we talk eats?
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Did you know Canada geese were big fans of Iron Chef Jose Garces’s pork belly bao buns? At least that appears the case as a goose has built a nest just above the Chifa stand at Spruce Street Harbor Park.
The Spruce Goose has been nesting on the container since it was installed, around May 15th. The Delaware River Waterfront Corp’s Emma Fried-Cassoria says no one has gotten a good look inside the nest to see if there are any eggs or goslings in the nest. But as soon as we find out, we’ll let you know.
Spruce Street Harbor Park [Foobooz]
Fish Tacos at Buena Onda | Photo by Jason Varney
Strange things are afoot in Fast Food Nation. McDonald’s, whose 2013 Mighty Wings promotion left the chain sitting on 10 million pounds of unsold chicken, is so deep in a corporate identity crisis that it just gave the Hamburglar a makeover as a suburbanite hipster. Meanwhile, Shake Shack’s stock hit a P/E ratio nearly 10 times higher than Facebook’s. And now Jose Garces is leaping into the quick-serve sweepstakes with a value proposition of his own: $3.50 fish tacos, and free beer while you wait. Read more »
Alicia Vitarelli with Le Virtu with a cameraman and Brigantessa chef Joe Cicala (far right)
Set your DVR: At 1 pm this afternoon, 6ABC Action News anchor Alicia Vitarelli will appear on The Chew, where she’ll take the show’s crew to three local restaurants with family-influenced recipes on the menu. The segment will find her visiting South Street West dessert queen Holly Ricciardi of Magpie, a Jose Garces spot and Joe Cicala of East Passyunk’s Le Virtu and Brigantessa.
Foobooz has more on the actual food they’ll be preparing here.
Vitarelli with Magpie owner Holly Ricciardi (center).
On Sunday, June 7th, Jose Garces is opening up his Luna Farm in Ottsville, Bucks County for a summer barbecue.
The $75 per person ticket includes a barbecue lunch with chef Jose Garces, tours of the farm, a Tito’s Handmade Vodka infusion workshop, plus much more.
The details on Luna Farm barbecue »
Volver, which recently overhauled its dinner menus has also redone its bar menu. And for fans of Avance’s lamb burger, the appearance of lamb burgers under the Snacks section has to set their hearts aflutter. For those not quite as obsessive as we are about Philadelphia’s restaurant scene, this looks like the result of Jose Garces bringing Justin Bogle on as corporate executive chef for the Garces Group. Bogle was integral to the “Season Two” menu at Volver and it would appear, at least one of the new bar menu items.
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