Three Things That Are Worrying Us

Christina DeSilva at Taproom on 19th | Photo by Lauren Mame Thomas

Christina DeSilva at Taproom on 19th | Photo by Lauren Mame Thomas

Christina DeSilva is the new executive chef at South Philadelphia’s Taproom on 19th. DeSilva is just 21-years of age and promises “upscale stoner food.” Though cool ranch fries with chipotle-lime mayo and a spiked malted brown butter sage milkshake with brûléed figs appeal to us, we can’t help but worry that most 21-year olds we know are much more stoner than executive.

Meal Ticket was the first to report that chef Rob Marzinsky has left Fitler Dining Room. The restaurant was ranked number 11 in Philadelphia magazine’s 50 Best Restaurants list and Marzinsky received much of the praise. Owner Dan Clark says Fitler isn’t announcing a replacement yet and that they’re “staffing from within the company.” That’s at least slightly reassuring, as Fitler, Pub & Kitchen and Avalon’s the Diving Horse are all part of the same organization. Marzinsky tells us he has something planned for February and then will do some travelling. Here’s hoping the restaurant keeps performing at a high level.

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Fitler Dining Room Is Hosting a Wine Dinner

Photo by Mike Persico

Photo by Mike Persico

On Friday, April 25th, Fitler Dining Room is inviting winemaker and sommelier Nicola Biscardo of Nicola Biscardo Selections and ConExport Italy in for a special seven-course dinner. The dinner will feature Biscardo’s wine from various regions of Italy. Fitler’s executive chef, Robert Marzinsky will pair these wines with an impressive spring menu that includes bacon rabbit loin, sorrel-stuffed lamb belly and of course ramps. The pasta dish alone just screams spring.

Ramp spaghetti, peekytoe crab, bottarga, sea urchin butter, breadcrumbs, baked nettle cavatelli, wild watercress, full nettle jack cheese, semolina gnocchi, lamb ragu valley shepherd pepato

There will only be one seating at 7 p.m. and dinner is $190 per person, not including tax and gratuity.

Reservations are required and can be made by calling Fitler at 215-732-3331.

Fitler Dining Room Nicola Biscardo Wine Dinner (PDF)

Fitler Dining Room [Foobooz]

Wine Dinner at Fitler Dining Room

fitler-dining-room-400Tomorrow, February 5th, Fitler Dining Room is welcoming wine consultant David McDuff for a special four-course wine dinner featuring wines from the Savoie region of France. Before Fitler Dining Room opened, chef Robert Marzinsky toured through France and Savoie  in particular. For this dinner he’ll be highlighting the region’s cuisine with gruyere souffle, musssel cream soup and spiced duck breast. 

There will be two seatings, 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Dinner is $85 per person and includes wine pairings (but not including tax and gratuity).

Reservations are required and can be made by calling 215.732.3331.

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Tonight: Alla Spina Hosts Fitler Dining Room for Industry Night

marzinsky-kielbasa-squareIt’s a week later than usual this month but Alla Spina is hosting Fitler Dining Room this evening. Fitler chef, Rob Marzinsky will be turning out a Polish feast of kielbasa, pierogies and galumpkis (Polish stuffed cabbage).

Alla Spina’s crew will be turning out a Thanksgiving feast of turkey gobbler sandwiches, sweet potato gratin, soft pretzel stuffing and more.

The drinks will include a tap takeover from Deschutes Brewery and cocktails made from the organic cold-pressed juices of Pure Sweets and Co.

As always, the fun starts at 10 p.m. with the food being free and the drinks being on special. Current pay stub and valid ID are necessary for admittance.

Alla Spina [Foobooz]
Fitler Dining Room [Foobooz]

Fitler Dining Room Expands To Seven Days a Week

Months ago one of the dogs vanished. Now its back and Fitler Dining Room is open seven days a week.

The dogs are back in front of Fitler Dining Room.

Fitler Dining Room at 22nd and Spruce had been open Wednesday through Sunday since the restaurant’s opening. But starting this evening, Rob Marzinsky and company will be serving up his menu seven nights a week.

Also back at Fitler Dining Room, the pair of dog statues. When the restaurant opened the corner door was flanked by two dog statues. But then one went missing. Now we’re happy to see they’ve been reunited.

Fitler Dining Room [f8b8z]

Fitler Dining Room: Ghosts of Dining Rooms Past


Every so often I’m asked how often the opinions of Craig LaBan and Trey Popp differ. Here’s one such case. LaBan heaped the praise on chef Rob Marzinsky and Fitler Dining Room. Trey Popp? Well, not so much.

But when I returned later for a second meal, those hints of magic turned halfway black. First, dynamite buttermilk-sauced beets with crispy maitakes and onion rings—then mealy carrots with a merely fine braised beef cheek. Here were outstanding ginger-sparked oysters; there was a tagliatelle too scarcely sprinkled with peas, nettles and ramps to maintain interest. And the walnut-oiled beef tartare with pickled chanterelles I’d loved before came out this time crudely cut and faintly slimy under a slush of grated raw turnip. It tasted like a punishment.

One-and-a-half stars – Fair to Good

Philadelphia Restaurant Review: Fickle Fare at Fitler Dining Room [Philadelphia Magazine]
Fitler Dining Room [Official Site]

Diving Horse’s Opening Menu for 2013


On Wednesday we told you that Avalon BYOB The Diving Horse is opening for the season on Tuesday, May 21. Well, now we have a sneak peek of what the menu will be like for Memorial Day weekend. And with the praise given to Fitler Dining Room, interest in the Pub & Kitchen crew’s third restaurant is sure to heat up. Dishes like oysters on the half shell, chilled carrot soup, cape may scallops, and soft shell crab make The Diving Horse a good option for one of the first meals of your summer.

Opening menu at the Diving Horse »

LaBan Pours Out the Praise for Fitler Dining Room


Craig LaBan visits Fitler Dining Room, the newest restaurant from the team from Pub & Kitchen and Avalon’s Diving Horse, and comes away impressed.

There should be no complaints, though, about Marzinsky, whose Philly debut as a head chef has been one of the year’s biggest revelations. His butter-poached oysters are such an elegant modern riff on stew that they’d make his muse, M.F.K. Fisher, consider the oyster anew. Ever-so-lightly poached, they’re placed atop brioche croutons with a fine dice of potato, fennel and celery root, then lavished with a froth of rich chowder cream poured tableside. His raw Beausoleil oysters, on the other hand, are transformed with just a few jewels of smoked trout roe and ginger mignonette, each gulp a three-part fade from tang, to smoke, then brine.

A clever new technique for gnocchi results in ethereal puffs of meltaway potato dumplings. But it is the elegant contrast of textures and vivid colors – snappy toasted hazelnuts, tender earthy snails, tart pickled snips of pink ramp, and a pale green gloss of Chartreuse butter – that makes the dish so memorable.

Three Bells – Excellent

Fitler Dining Room [Philadelphia Inquirer]
Fitler Dining Room [Official Site]

Fitler Dining Room Opens This Evening


The Pub & Kitchen crew and chef Robert Marzinsky open the doors on their attractive Fitler Dining Room this evening. Last night we were lucky enough to try out the new restaurant and can report back that the gnocchi with snails, tartare of Lancaster beef and Truffle+Leek Stuffed Skate Wing were all among the highlights.

For more on Fitler Dining Room, check out our First Look.

Fitler Dining Room
2201 Spruce Street