Philadelphia Restaurant Received “Million Dollar Review”

Coren at Vedge. He called Vedge "the best vegan cooking I have ever had."

Coren at Vedge. He called Vedge, “the best vegan cooking I have ever had.”

Times of London restaurant critic Giles Coren was in Philadelphia this spring filming his TV show Million Dollar Critic for Canada’s WNetwork. The show visited five Philadelphia restaurants in order for Coren to bestow one of them with his million dollar recommendation (because the review could be worth more than a million dollars in business).

Coren visited Vedge, Cheu Noodle Bar, Avenue Delicatessen, The Mildred (now closed) and Kanella. In the end, Coren heaped the most praise on Kanella, the Cypriot BYOB by Konstantinos Pistillides.

Kanella is the sort of place I wish I could review every week: a buzzing local taverna on a lively city corner, people of all ages and ethnicities sitting at outside tables, simply decorated inside, full of laughter, friends and family, and charming staff serving a cuisine rooted deeply in a foreign culture rather than just ripping it off, with a deadly serious chef at the helm.

Read the full review of Kanella on Huffington Post’s Canadian edition.

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Cured & Crafted Coming To Philly

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You know what’s awesome? Beer. Know what else? Prosciutto. Add in whiskey and Skittles and a man could live on not much else.

Which is why we’re already excited about Cured & Crafted–a celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Consorzio del Prosciutto di Parma–coming to Philly on February 20, because it’s an event that’s basically all about drinking craft beer and eating as much prosciutto as possible.

Nice.

Oh, and did we mention there are free tattoos?

The Mildred Ups Its Game For The New Year

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Over at The Mildred, the crew has decided to use the (mostly) new year to shake things up in the kitchen and at the bar.

First up, a new menu from chef Michael Santoro. He’s always tinkering with things there, but is now working on a bunch of new plates, including a venison burger (someone has been paying attention to the Philly mag Gastronaut columns…) with triple creme cheese, maitake jam and fingerling potatoes, salt cod gnudi, a fish stew. He’s already got a new seaweed bucatini on the board with little necks and clam butter, so that’s a good start.

Starting this month, The Mildred is also running whiskey flights with paired dishes from the menu. The first pairing will happen tomorrow night, and go on every Wednesday night at the bar and in the dining room. As if anyone needed a special night of the week to eat duck confit mac and cheese and knock down a $7 pour of Bulleit.

The Mildred [f8b8z]

Mildred Celebrates Cochon Epic with Pork Menu Through August

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Cochon Epic is coming to Philadelphia on Sunday, July 28th. The event, which is slated for 10 Arts, promises to be a “once in a lifetime epic ‘heritage pork’ experience and features more than two dozen local and nationally known chefs.

As part of the build-up, the Mike Santoro and the Mildred are showcasing a pork-inspired menu now through the end of August. The heritage pork tasting menu is $45 per person and requires the whole table to take part.  The tasting menu will change often but look for items like:

  • Ratatouille stuffed Squid with Tomato Escabeche and Black Pudding
  • Fried Head Cheese with Bread and Butter Pickles
  • Porchetta stuffed with Mortadella and Pistachio

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Six Pack: Sunday Tasting Menus

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There’s the glitz and the glam, and then there’s the humble and the honest-to-goodness, the unaffected and the unassuming. To each his own, but I prefer the latter.

I get a kick out of the quirky buildings’ awkward seating arrangements and tiny menus—menus that need not say much, and food that says all too much; the chef-driven and food-focused holes, often orienting themselves in such a way that the preparer and prepared are shown off, experienced only through an intimate three-part channel between the chef, his food, and his guest. When done well, the following few weeks (or longer) will pale in comparison. That’s why the tasting menu is so important; it’s a facilitation of exchange between the hand of the cook and the consumed palate it feeds.

Some tasting menus you’ll find in places that don’t deserve them, and others are just a second menu to the main. Some are only available on weekdays, but there are those you can only take part in on a single day: Sunday, perhaps.

An ode to the tasting menus of Sunday »

Enamel and Iron Star Alongside Michael Santoro’s Cooking at the Mildred

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Michael Santoro’s cooking at the Mildred might seem like a departure from what he did at Talula’s Garden but rest assured, Trey Popp finds lots of good work in those cast iron pots.

[E]ven if no one’s tweezing microgreens onto sheets of asparagus gelée at the Mildred, there’s more to Santoro’s homey cooking here than meets the eye.

Take, for example, the pickled dates hiding among rustic sunchoke knobs, sweet-potato tortellini and still-crunchy fronds of flowering kale I had one evening by the barroom log fire, the tortellini’s filling balanced by bursts of sugared acidity. Or the brace of quails served over beluga lentils and diced beets. The pair looked so simple until a knife-stroke revealed them to be stuffed with ground veal and pork, dried cherries and sage, all wrapped in a delicate lace of caul fat. Delicious.

Two Stars – Good

Philadelphia Restaurant Review: American Eats at The Mildred [Philadelphia magazine]
The Mildred [Official Site]

Philadelphia Restaurant Review: American Eats at The Mildred

At Mildred, chef Michael Santoro is playing with fire through his seasonal american dishes.

It may not generally be wise to judge a restaurant by its logo, but it works for the Mildred. There it hangs, above the quiet 8th Street sidewalk where its predecessor, James, ultimately folded under the weight of high prices and conceptual overreach—that most humble icon of comfort-first cooking, a soot-black Dutch oven.

It has about 200 cousins in Michael Santoro’s kitchen: Staub cast iron skillets and soup-bearing teakettles and enameled cocottes, some for serving, others for cooking, and all of them to remind the former Talula’s Garden head chef of his simpler new mission: Think inside the pot.

Fans of Santoro’s delicately embroidered cooking at Talula’s—and I was one of them—may glimpse a stewy skillet of chicken and biscuits here, or unadorned mounds of oxtail served over pearled barley risotto, and fear an apparent U-turn. But even if no one’s tweezing microgreens onto sheets of asparagus gelée at the Mildred, there’s more to Santoro’s homey cooking here than meets the eye.

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