Marigold Kitchen Is Teasing Their Secret New Year’s Eve Menu

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Dinner at Marigold Kitchen is always a surprise. The way ex-chef Rob Halpern ran the menu, it was a constantly evolving spread of amuses and tastings that would sometimes change night to night and table to table. And now, the way new chefs Andrew Kochan and Tim Lanza do things is roughly similar–all tasting menus, no a la carte, just a blindfolded adventure every time you walk through the door.

Except for this New Year’s Eve.

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Marigold Kitchen Reopens Tonight

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Marigold Kitchen reopens tonight. The restaurant had closed after chef-owner Robert Halpern moved to California. Halpern then sold the restaurant to his chefs de cuisine, Tim Lanza and Andrew Kochan. Chef Keith Krajewski remains on as the executive chef.

The concept from Halpern’s version of Marigold Kitchen remains pretty much intact. There is no menu, just a question about food allergies or aversions. Then courses of modernist dishes come pouring out of the kitchen. The dinner is $90 per person and reservations can be made online.

One of the plates on the opening menu will be the dish shown above, wild striped sea bass with white bean, egg yolk, pepper and olive.

Marigold Kitchen [Foobooz]

Marigold Kitchen Gets New Owners

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A couple months ago, we reported on the (completely depressing) news that chef Rob Halpern was leaving Marigold Kitchen and that, upon his departure, the place was going to close. At the time, we said:

Oh, and for those of you look-on-the-bright-side types out there who always think something will come along and save the day? Marigold is also being put up for sale.

Well guess what? According to the Insider, some buyers have come along. And those buyers just happen to be Halpern’s chefs de cuisine, Tim Lanza and Andrew Kochan.

There’s not a lot of news other than that–except that the old Marigold will still be closing after Saturday’s dinner service and the new crew hopes to reopen some time around the first of September.

Marigold Kitchen [f8b8z]
Changing Of The Guard At Marigold Kitchen [Insider]

News For People Who Like Bad News: Rob Halpern Leaving Marigold Kitchen

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Talk about going out on top. 3 bells from Laban, a #2 slot on our most recent list of the 50 Best Restaurants in Philly. And now word has come down that chef Robert Halpern is leaving his post at Marigold Kitchen. The reason? He’s getting married. After that, he’s moving to California. And frankly, that would be one helluva commute.

So what happens next?

Three Bells for Marigold Kitchen

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Craig LaBan reviews the modernist cuisine of Marigold Kitchen in West Philadelphia, where chef Robert Halpern is turning out vivid avant garde dishes.

The most memorable course, though, unfolded before us in a multistage presentation that teased several senses. A jam jar filled with a dried porcini, red chile, a bay leaf, and a Japanese orchid petal was covered tableside in warm mushroom dashi and set to steep. Two aromatic minutes later, it was poured like a woodsy tea over a bowl of soy-cured hamachi sashimi. With a “forest” of exotic mushrooms perched like a still life on the bowl’s rim for extra-earthy punch, the entire composition was a deeply layered umami bath – but also remarkably light. The sensation that lingered most was still the luxurious snap of the succulent raw fish.

Three Bells – Excellent

50 Best Restaurants – Marigold Kitchen, #2 [Philadelphia Magazine]

Delectable dishes beyond the razzle dazzle [Philadelphia Inquirer]
Marigold Kitchen [Foobooz]

Foobooz Open Stove XVIII: Hands Up, Knives Down

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So last week, before all the madness of the Thanksgiving holiday (and all its attendant drinking and regrets), we threw a little party of our own. It was just us, twenty or so of our nearest and dearest, and two of the best sous chefs in the city who’d come together for one night only at COOK to battle it out for Thanksgiving supremacy.

Our competitors were Chuck Formoso who possesses a formidable Ron Swanson mustache and will soon be behind the stoves at the forthcoming Petruce et al and Keith Krajewski, who was once kicked out of the CIA (the cooking one, not the other one) but didn’t let that stop him from becoming sous chef at Marigold Kitchen. Despite us saddling them with all manner of questionable Turkey Day staples (like bagged stuffing, fried onions and canned cranberry sauce), and, at one point, making the chefs stop cooking entirely so that their assistants had to finish dishes in their stead, both teams came up with some spectacular plates. Granted, a liberal application of pumpkin vodka and mystery beers to the crowd might’ve helped a little, but if you click through the jump and check out some of what we got to eat last week, I think you’ll agree that both sides handled themselves with skill and brought honor to their houses.

Of course, at the end, only one man could claim victory…

Show me the pictures already…

Marigold Kitchen Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Menus

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Marigold Kitchen is doing away with menus. Now the only choice to make when you sit down to dinner at chef/owner Robert Halpern’s West Philadelphia BYOB is seafood, meat or vegetarian for the main entree. Beyond that, you’re in the chef’s hands.

The $85 prix fixe dinner includes up to fifteen courses consisting of bite-sized amuse bouches, small plates and an entree. Vegetarian options are available and other dietary considerations can be accommodated with notice.

Halpern says “this was always the plan” but he was still nervous about how customers would react. But three weeks in and customers tell Halpern, “that decision-free dining is more fun and that’s what Marigold is all about.”

Marigold Kitchen [Official Site]

Photo by Samuel Markey

Marigold Kitchen Does Away with A La Carte

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Beginning this weekend Marigold Kitchen is doing away with a la carte ordering. From now on you can create your own tasting menus of 4, 5 or 6 courses (plus the parade of amuse bouches). The price starts at $65 per person and goes up from there. Prix fixe has been the way to go at Marigold anyway, but now it’s the only way. We’re just glad they didn’t heed Philadelphia magazine’s note that if Marigold were in New York, it would easily be $150 per head.

Best Restaurants in Philadelphia #2 [Philadelphia Magazine]
Marigold Kitchen [Official Site]

Photo by Samuel Markey

Methodology: How The 50 Best Restaurants List Came To Be

See that little dancing picture up there? That’s how the list of Philadelphia’s 50 Best Restaurants came to be. That’s one wall of Foobooz World HQ, covered completely with 170-odd Post-It Notes, representing every single restaurant that was in contention for a spot in the 2012 rankings. That’s what we lived with for roughly three months–a constantly shifting and evolving representation of Philadelphia’s restaurant scene to be stared at, debated, argued over, torn down, rebuilt and obsessed over until me and Art and the rest of this year’s 50 Best Restaurants crew had gone all A Beautiful Mind and saw the thing in our sleep.

How did Stateside end up at #1? Why didn’t Fette Sau or Rittenhouse Tavern make the list at all? And what were we thinking with Marigold Kitchen? There are answers to all of those questions, and it all began back in August with a deceptively complicated question:

What are your favorite restaurants in Philadelphia?

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Marigold Kitchen’s Turns Three, Releases Fall Menu

The first of the fall menus is in: Marigold Kitchen has released its latest menu, full of autumnal ingredients like sweet potatoes, beets, and more. Highlights from the menu include coffee fried sweetbreads, a Painted Hills’ filet of beef with foie gras, beets, pears, and arugula, plus zucchini donuts. The beginning of the season has us itching for the leaves (and menus) to change.

Also, as of September 1st Marigold Kitchen’s latest iteration turns three years old. Happy anniversary, Marigold!

Look for their full fall menu after the jump »

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