2014 James Beard Foundation Finalists

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The James Beard Awards finalists were announced today. And though Philadelphia had semifinalists in ten categories including nine nominees for Best Chef, Mid-Atlantic, few went through to the finals. Brad Spence was the only local nominee to go through for Best Chef Mid-Atlantic. Marc Vetri was nominated for Outstanding Chef and his Vetri is a finalist for Best Service.

Philadelphia also picked up a nomination for Outstanding Restaurant Design as Tria Taproom was cited in the 75-seats and under category.

James Beard Award Finalists » 

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]

2014 James Beard Semifinalists Announced

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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).

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Three Bells for Osteria Moorestown

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Craig LaBan has tons of praise for Marc Vetri’s Osteria outpost at the Moorestown Mall in New Jersey. Not the least of which is the cheaper wine prices. But other dishes stand out as well.

My ultimate Osteria splurge, though, is the $36 lobster spaghetti, a dish so intensely infused with lobster-ness – the sauce enriched with tomalley and roe, plus a stock fortified with shells – that casual seafood pasta eaters might not love it at first. But with the tender meat from a 11/2-pounder twined up in the al dente strands, a flicker of spice, brandy, and basil lighting the sauce, it was soon impossible to resist. (Plus, it’s no longer available in Philly.)

Three Bells – Excellent

Osteria Moorestown: A Vetri marvel at Jersey mall [Philadelphia Inquirer]
Osteria – Moorestown [Foobooz]

Great Expectations: Pizzeria Vetri Reviewed

Rotolo | Courtney Apple

Rotolo | Courtney Apple

Trey Popp comes to Pizzeria Vetri with great expectations but too many of the pizzas literally flopped.

The further away I got from the pizza menu, though, the better Pizzeria Vetri got. There are lovely salads: arugula and roasted fingerlings slathered with killer pesto, and a “wood oven” salad that’s a belly-filling medley of corn, chanterelles, blistered green beans and top-drawer ham, studded with ricotta salata. There’s exceptionally fresh-tasting kegged wine from the Gotham Project, and bottled sloe-gin fizzes and Americanos that serve two for $12. The rotolos are instantly the best savory pastry in town: crispy pizza dough coiled Cinnabon-style around mortadella and ricotta, doused with pistachio pesto.

Two Stars – Good

Restaurant Review: The Best Food at Pizzeria Vetri Isn’t the Pizza [Philadelphia Magazine]
Pizzeria Vetri [Official Site]

Gastronaut: Getting the Band Back Together

Illustration by Kagan McLeod

Illustration by Kagan McLeod

Back in the day, when I was still cooking dinner for strangers rather than writing about it, there was a kind of running joke that went through all the kitchens I worked in. At the end of particularly long nights, the crew and I would look around and say, “Shit, for a rock band, we’re not a bad kitchen crew.”

The first half of that bon mot would change occasionally, place to place: Shit, for a web-design company … For an artists’ colony … For an architecture firm … The joke was funny because back then, almost no one came to a kitchen as a first choice. Most of us had done something before, failed at it (often spectacularly), then discovered kitchens as places of no-questions-asked reinvention.

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Pizzeria Vetri Is Serious About Pizza

pizzeria-vetri-reviewed-margarita-pizzaAdam Erace reviews Marc Vetri’s temple of pizza, Pizzeria Vetri, and comes away impressed.

They all begin with a dough that eschews oil, per Neapolitan doctrine, and cooks up with a crisp crust and soft but structured center. Most follow with an aurora of the bright, tangy tomato sauce, then a collection of toppings, like house-made sausage, mozzarella, roasted fennel and fennel fronds. That pie, the Salsiccia, was great, but I liked the straightforward Margherita even better.

The shiniest new addition to the Vetri Family is turning out serious pies [City Paper]
Pizzeria Vetri [Foobooz]

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