Philadelphia has so many great new restaurants that it’s hard to keep track of what to eat where. Here’s a cheat sheet of some of the best plates in the city to try right now.
Petruce et al is the ninth three bell review for Craig LaBan this year, a number it usually takes a year to achieve. In La Ban’s review states that this effort by Justin and Jonathan Petruce is one of the best.
Petruce may well become best known for interpretations of some true basics – such as lasagna, roast chicken, and steak that are instantly among the city’s best. The hearty eight-layer lasagna, its fresh pasta ribboned with nutmeg-scented béchamel, is oven-finished to a crunch in cast iron. The simply roasted chicken brings parchment-crisp skin and juicy flesh, with creamy grits ringed by an electric-yellow sauce of slow-cooked yolk thinned by white soy and lemon.
Three Bells – Excellent
My review of the fantastic Petruce et al came out last week, and it kicked off a small but welcome debate. The question: Is the restaurant’s wine “pricey”—and what, exactly, does “pricey” mean?
“But then everybody in Philadelphia decided to open a pizza place,” Justin says.
So they just kept on cooking for other people. Between them, the Petruces have worked — occasionally together — at Mémé, M Restaurant, Fish and Little Fish. In March, they hung out a wooden shingle etched with their own name.
We’re down to the wire for Mother’s Day plans and if you haven’t made them, or your siblings have dropped the ball, here are some suggestions that might make you the hero child.
The usual candidates fill up fast for Mother’s Day but here are some new spots that are worth considering:
We gave you a look inside Petruce et al earlier this week as they were preparing for tonight’s opening. And now we have Petruce’s opening drink list. A list that is particularly interesting with the dynamic duo of Tim Kweeder and George Costa.
The list includes classic cocktails as well as some interesting “new school” versions as well. A small but interesting wine selection is available by glass and bottle. Beers are available on draft as well as beer and bottle.
They just got the ovens lit up two days ago. Last night, they did the first menu test for the servers–which, according to Justin Petruce (who’s running this namesake joint, along with brother Jonathan) did not go smoothly.
“It was kind of a shitshow,” he laughs. Not everything on the menu worked. Not everything came out on the plate as good as it sounded on paper. So today, he’s tinkering. His brother is tinkering. The whole kitchen crew is tinkering–playing with the new, wood-burning ovens and adjusting the amount of black garlic that goes with the pork and getting turnips ready to go in the oven–while, down in the bar area, George Costa tries to get the POS system working, gives up and starts buffing and polishing the floors instead.
It’s a prep day at Petruce et al. With four days left before the first paying guests come through the door, the brothers are re-thinking the menu, worrying about an inspector that’s due any minute and looking ahead to tonight when, at 6pm, they’re going to be doing another dinner–friends and family this time–where the food has to be…well, better.
Still, even with all of this going on, they let me in to snap some photos of the space, the ovens, the supplies, the prep lists, and just generally get in everyone’s way. So you wanna get an idea of what Petruce is going to look like when it opens this Friday? Then just check out the photos after the jump.
The sharp eyes over at Eater Philly noticed that Petruce et al–the multiply-delayed Walnut Street project from the Petruce brothers, Jonathan and Justin–is now accepting reservations through Open Table. The big day appears to be Friday, March 21.
And that seems about right. Most recently, the crew has been stymied by the installation of hoods and ventilation for the kitchen, but I’ve heard that this problem either is, or shortly will be, in the past. The team is hoping to fire up the kitchen some time in the next couple days to start testing things out in advance of the public opening next week. So here’s hoping this final leg of the marathon goes smoothly.
Oh, and for those of you out there who just have to be the first ones in to any new restaurant of note, I’d snag those Friday reservations now. People have been waiting a long time for this place, and there’s no saying how fast the tables will be snapped up.
So Petruce et al is getting closer and closer, but the crew of all-stars they’re assembling still needs some space to practice. Which is why tonight, from 9pm til 2am, Petruce’s bar man, George Costa, will be behind the long oak at Lemon Hill to work out the kinks in his menu and test out his cocktails on all you
guinea pigs willing drunks.
So get out to Lemon Hill tonight and get your sneak preview of what you’ll be drinking once Petruce gets the doors open later this month (hopefully).
All Petruce et al coverage [f8b8z]
Petruce et al is coming to 1121 Walnut this February. We’ve known that Jonathan and Justin Petruce were onboard. The brothers will be cooking together and utilizing the restaurant’s two wood-burning stoves. Today we learn more about the “et al.” Tim Kweeder is onboard as partner, general manager and wine director. Kweeder comes to Petruce after a time at a.bar/a.kitchen as well as Moore Brothers Wine.
Also signing on is George Costa. Costa, who was a longtime institution at Southwark and Philadelphia’s best bartender at Pub & Kitchen will be the beverage director and guarantee Petruce et al will have a solid cocktail program.
Petruce et al [Foobooz]