So it’s not like Laurel was easy to get into before chef Nick Elmi was named Top Chef last week. With 22 seats, a five-night-a-week dinner schedule and an already well-known white jacket in the kitchen, it was never going to be a walk-in kind of joint.
But now, with the TV and the fame and everything else, it’s just bonkers. As I’m writing this, Laurel’s Open Table reservation system is down–I assume because it has just plain melted–but last I heard, you were looking at a wait of months for a prime table, and weeks for anything at all. But there is another way…
See, Laurel is one of the restaurants that’s going to be at Philly Cooks this year. And there are still a few tickets left for the big event, happening Wednesday the 19th. So if you’re interested in tasting the food that won Elmi the big prize, this might be your only chance for a good, long time.
Here’s hoping we see you all there.
Philly Cooks Tickets [The Big Event]
With Top Chef in the rearview mirror, we look back at Nick Elmi’s career at Le Bec Fin, Rittenhouse Tavern and now at Laurel.
Elmi through the years and in photos and dishes »
Congrats to Philadelphia chef Nicholas Elmi, who won Bravo’s Top Chef competition on Wednesday night. Read more »
Join Philadelphia cheftestant Jason Cichonski for a Top Chef Finale viewing party at The Gaslight, his recently opened bar in Old City. Root for Laurel’s Nick Elmi as he looks to bring home Philadelphia’s second Top Chef crown (Kevin Sbraga also won Top Chef).
The Gaslight, which has taken the place of the former Philadelphia Bar and Restaurant at 120 Market Street will be offering $5 hot and specialty cocktails as well as craft beer and wine specials from 8 p.m. till the show’s start at 10 p.m., so get there early.
Watch a preview of tonight’s finale »
While many of us were watching Top Chef last night, Nick Elmi was at Laurel where he was just finishing up cooking for Top Chef former castmates Jason Cichonski and Travis Masar.
And what did they think of the Elmi’s cooking at Laurel? »
Brian Freedman reviews Nick Elmi’s Laurel for Philadelphia Weekly. Freedman calls the East Passyunk BYOB “stellar.”
Berkshire pork lavished in its triumvirate of treatments, and each one, from silky slices of belly to roasted loin to a crepinette of braised shoulder meat secreted inside a cocoon of crisped-up brioche enshrouded in caul fat, had me longing for it days later. Dragging one bite through the mashed chestnuts, dunking another into the shimmering huckleberry-kale vinaigrette, and leaving a third one unadorned became an in situ study in the range and vision of this kitchen.
New East Passyunk BYOB Laurel serves brilliantly imaginative seafood [Philadelphia Weekly]
The second annual East Passyunk Restaurant Week will run from Sunday, February 23rd through March 1st, 2014. The week of restaurant deals will include Noord’s Joncarl Lachman and Laurel’s Nicholas Elmi for the first time.
Twenty-four restaurants will participate in total, offering brunch, lunch and dinner menus for $15, $25 and $35. Look for specific menus to start being announced on the official web site on January 29th. Reservations are now being announced.
The participating restaurants »
Back to school. Back to school. To prove to Tom, that I’m no fool…
But first, Questlove. If you don’t already know, Questlove is the coolest person in the world. Seriously, the old man who doesn’t always drink (shit) beer has nothing on him. He let me judge a cooking competition once, and everybody says that this famous guy or that famous gal is super humble and blah blah blah, but unless they’re talking about Questlove, they’re a bunch of filthy liars. And you shouldn’t lie around Christmas time, because lies make baby Jesus cry. It may also net you a lump of coal in your stocking.
Read more »
The wind in our sails is at full gale force! Philadelphia is riding high! Additional assorted sailing metaphors to describe Dr. Elmi’s momentum and our enthusiasm for his win last week! The other cheftestants? Whatevs.
But let’s not get ourselves too excited. Although Shirley has all but disappeared from the top and Nina stopped making gnocchi, there’s still a gauntlet of six capable and/or lucky cheftestants to get through before Padma announces Nick as the winner.
Read more »
Top Chef contestant Nick Elmi opens his own restaurant tomorrow, November 5th at 1617 E Passyunk Avenue. Laurel is a 24-seat BYOB that will serve seasonal dishes with a French and American flair.
Elmi has previously been the chef at Rittenhouse Tavern and Le Bec Fin. However, this will be the first time he’s in his own kitchen. Elmi continues to move along on Top Chef New Orleans and his newfound celebrity status can’t hurt his restaurant opening.
The space is the original home to Fond, which moved around the corner last December. Laurel is named for the state flower of Pennsylvania and is one of Elmi’s favorite ingredients.
Check out the photos and opening menu »