Two Bells for Rosa Blanca

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Craig LaBan finds that Jose Garces’s Rosa Blanca may suffer from a split personality but is worth it when it comes to Cuban classics.

Rosa Blanca is at its best when embracing its Cuban comida soul. The ropa vieja was stewed to brisket silk, profound with a subtle molasses sweetness and sneaky red fresno chili spice. Flavorful cubes of pork-shoulder masitas were intense with savory adobo seasoning, practically melting on the tongue. The garlicky roast chickens, meanwhile, are among the most flavorful in town, dripping oregano and achiote-tinted essence down from the spit onto baby potatoes that turn yellow with flavor. With a crock of perfect black beans and rice on the side, it’s a satisfying value for $18.

Two Bells – Very Good

Rosa Blanca still seeking an identity [Philadelphia Inquirer]
Rosa Blanca [Foobooz]

Jose Garces Is Aiming High with Volver

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From the Garden, including live lettuce from Garces’s Luna Farm.

Tonight is the night that Jose Garces’s Volver debuts its ticketed dining at the Kimmel Center. The restaurant will immediately leap to number one in the city in at least one respect,  Volver will be the most expensive dining experience in town.

What remains to be seen is whether Garces, chef de cuisine Natalie Maronski and their team at Volver can deliver. There are two menus available, the pre-theater tasting of eight-or-so courses for $75-$100 and the performance tasting, which rings in at 12+ courses for $175 per person. These prices do not include tax, gratuity or alcohol. The grand wine pairing, which is available with the pre-theater dinner is $50 and includes tax and gratuity. That means early evening diners can get out for $146 per person with wine pairings. Or if you want to go all out with the performance tasting, it will be north of $300 per person with the drink pairings.

Check out the menus » 

Bar Volver Opens This Evening

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The first-come-first serve part of Jose Garces’s Volver opens to the public tonight. Bar Volver is a champagne and caviar lounge that will feature a selection of small bites including oysters, cheese, charcuterie and three varieties of caviar. Bar manager Gordana Kostovski has created a menu of cocktails designed to pair well with the food coming from Garces’s kitchen. Also available to the Bar Volver customer will be over 1,500 bottles of old and new world wines with a particular focus on sparkling wines.

Highlights and the full menu » 

In the Kitchen at Volver

Kyle Baddorf, Josh Massaro and Jose Garces testing recipes.

Kyle Baddorf, Josh Massaro and Jose Garces testing recipes.

Last Thursday I checked out how menu testing was going over at Volver with Jose Garces, Natalie Maronski and the rest of the Volver team.

I was lucky enough to eavesdrop on the team as they discussed the best way to plate their salad with greens from Garces’ Luna Farm. I smelled water that had the fragrance of pot soil. I sampled “Kentucky Fried Sqab” from the performance kitchen’s pressure fryer. And I got a bite of perhaps the best fish I’ve ever tasted.

Read more »

From the Magazine: Can Wild Boar Save the Suburban Mall?

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In the March issue of Philadelphia magazine, Vicki Glembocki looks at the state of malls in the area, including the Moorestown Mall. Developers are betting that celebrity chefs like Marc Vetri and Jose Garces can resuscitate malls by offering high-end dining in a landscape of Boscov’s and Sears.

But will customers bite?

Can Wild Boar Save the Suburban Mall? [Philadelphia Magazine]

This Just In: Jose Garces Opening In NYC

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This just in to the Foobooz World HQ news desk:

New York, March 12 2014 — Brookfield Office Properties Inc. (BPO: NYSE, TSX) announces that Chef Jose Garces, the Philadelphia-based James Beard award-winning restaurateur will open his first New York restaurant at Brookfield Place in 2015.

Chef Jose Garces is one of only a few chefs in the country to hold the coveted title of Food Network’s Iron Chef.

Read more »

A Preview of Jose Garces’ Volver at the Kimmel Center

Designed by Philadelphian Conrad Booker, the textile mural is inspired by Volver's logo.

Designed by Philadelphian Conrad Booker, the textile mural is inspired by Volver’s logo.

Volver, Jose Garces’ culinary showcase is set to open in April at the Kimmel Center. The space will feature a caviar and champagne lounge as well as a forty-seat performance dining area. Garces, architects KieranTimberlake and interior designer Marguerite Rodgers have collaborated to design a space that highlights the arts, culinary and otherwise.

Read more »

A Look Inside Rosa Blanca – And The Opening Menu, Too

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So Avance’s opening might be the big news tonight, but come Monday at 7am, Jose Garces’s dead-on rendition of a classic Miami Cuban diner, Rosa Blanca, will be hitting the scene.

The Foobooz News Team rolled up on Rosa Blanca (the former Chifa, 707 Chestnut Street) just ahead of tonight’s staff-on-staff dinner, and can I tell you how much I loved this place? Seriously, I’ve been pining for some seriously good Cuban food since leaving Tampa more years ago than I care to mention, and this might finally be the place that brings it home. We didn’t get to try a lot–just a few rum-heavy cocktails (including a very well-served Cuba Libre), some ropa vieja (which was excellent), a bowl of black beans and rice and the best fried yucca I’ve had in a decade or more of looking EVERYWHERE for it.

More on Rosa Blanca » 

Construction Woes Will Delay Volver to January

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We just received word that Jose Garces’ Volver at the Kimmel Center has been pushed back till January, 2014. We’re not surprised, given that we snapped the above photo of the very much under construction restaurant on Saturday morning during ThinkFest.

So we’ll just have to wait a little bit more before we get to check out Jose Garces’ champagne bar and culinary theater.

As for Garces’ Rosa Blanca, look for his Cuban diner to open the week of December 2nd.

Volver [Foobooz]

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