Last night was a special kind of night at the COOK thunderdome. Sure, it was the same kind of set-up we’ve been using since the start–two chefs enter, vying for ultimate victory, and we do our best to make them cry like pre-teen girls with our secret ingredients, trash-talk, funny nicknames, enforced drinking policies and ridiculously complicated challenges. But still, last night was special.
For starters, it was a Sbraga-vs-Sbraga battle, with Aaron Gottesman from the Fat Ham and Greg Garbacz from Sbraga battling it out. Then there was the dictum, handed down from their boss, Kevin Sbraga himself (who was kind enough to show up last night to keep an eye on his guys), that neither chef would be allowed to bring a sous chef with him, forcing them to nut up and just cook all on their own (something that has only happened one other time in the history of Open Stove, and that one was accidental). Oh, and to make things even better, we decided to make last night a Theme Night, with all the secret ingredients and challenges based on Kevin Sbraga’s winning run during season 7 of Top Chef.
So how did it all shake out? Well, we’ve got pictures from last night’s contest to show you if you couldn’t make it in person. But let’s just say that it takes a truly remarkable chef to turn cuttlefish, coconuts, wonton wrappers, bok choy, horned melon and six-foot stalks of un-trimmed sugar cane into edible dishes for twenty drunken foodniks. Especially when you have to cook half the night tied at the ankle to your opponent…
Show me the pictures
Photo by Neal Santos
I recently had some friends from California in town and they were wondering where to go to get some 100% legal Foie Gras in Philadelphia. So I came up with this list of traditional and creative foie gras dishes.
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Photo by Mike Arrison
“Keep your head down and cook from the heart. The gimmicks? They’re not gonna work.” That’s the advice offered to our current Top Chef contestants by Kevin Sbraga—Philly’s only big winner to date. Here, he walks us through one perfect four-course prix fixe at Sbraga—with fallback options for those who don’t share his deep and abiding love of octopus and pork products.
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Kevin Sbraga is hosting chef Michael Laiskonis on Wednesday, November 6th for an “inspiring” Lithuanian menu. Is your eyebrow raised? Well maybe you don’t know enough about Laiskonis. The classically trained chef was Le Bernardin’s pastry chef and is now the creative director at New York’s Institute of Culinary Education. He’s also won accolades from Guide Michelin, the James Beard Foundation, Bon Appetit and the New York Times among others.
Laiskonis is also proud of his Lithuanian heritage and much like he’s doing at COOK, he’s showing off the traditions and flavors of Lithuania in his creative menu.
The dinner is $150 per person including beverage pairing and all taxes and gratuity.
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In the most recent Best of Philly issue, we gave Sbraga an award for “Best 2nd Year.” And, come October, chef Kevin Sbraga is going to be celebrating that milestone with a new counter menu that draws on everything he’s learned over the past two years.
It’s a “truly momentous” menu, according to the crew. Six courses. $75 (with an optional $50 beverage pairing add-on). Available from October 7 through the 31st. And because they’re only doing one seating per night (at 6pm), availability is severely limited. You want a reservation? You actually have to pick up a phone, call the house and ask for one. No Open Tabling this one.
Check out the (deliberately minimalist and likely misleading) menu after the jump.
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Today, Global Philly 2013 kicked off with a special event at Zama. Hiroyuki ‘Zama’ Tanaka and Kevin Sbraga were on hand to unleash the “Sbraga Roll.” The sushi roll is the latest collaboration from Tanaka who has conspired with many of Philadelphia’s best chefs and top celebrities to create a series of unusual rolls. Chef Sbraga suggested some of his favorite ingredients for the roll that will be served at Zama over the course of Global Philly 2013, from September 15 to November 1. The Sbraga Roll is a sushi roll with dill, jalapeno, avocado and crispy shallot topped with a Panko-crusted bite of dorado.
Global Philly is an international exposition, presented by the Global Philadelphia Association. Sbraga, who is leading the culinary part of the initiative, has rounded up some of his chef contemporaries to participate in the month-and-a-half long event to offer “Global Philadelphia” appetizer specials.
Starting at $12, the appetizers will be found at Sbraga’s eponymous modern American restaurant as well as at restaurants like Tashan, Bistro La Minette and Zinc , La Calaca Feliz, Zama and Han Dynasty.
- Sbraga will feature a steak tartar with French onion dip and a pea tendril salad.
- Tim Spinner (La Calaca Feliz) will spotlight the Al Pastor Pork Taco.
- Bistro La Minette’s Peter Woolsey created a salmon tartare with lentils and a blood orange vinaigrette.
- Han Chiang of Han Dynasty will offer a lamb dumpling with garlic sauce vinegar sauce.
- And of course Zama will feature the Sbraga roll.
GlobalPhilly 2013 [Official Site]
Kevin Sbraga has recently returned from a culinary tour of Norway, and apparently he came back inspired.
His next Chef’s Counter tasting menu is obviously influenced by his time among the fjords (that’s Norway, right?), and is just full of things like salmon, cabbage, dill, more dill, pickles and tiny little toasts with stuff on them. The menu will run from August 7 to the 29th, will run you $75 for six courses (with an optional $50 beverage pairing), and reservations are both limited and sought after–so call Sbraga soon to reserve your spot.
Check out the full menu after the jump.
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Zagat’s scoop on the 31 craziest ice cream flavors from around the world–featuring flavors from two Philly restaurants–might literally make you scream for ice cream after reading some of the kooky offerings.
But be warned, you just might scream in disgust or horror instead.
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Kevin Sbraga is focusing on barbecue at his chef’s counter. The Top Chef winner is serving up a menu that includes barbecued glazed salmon, roasted pork belly with smoked pig ear mac-and-cheese and jerked beef brisket.
The $79 per person menu (with optional $50 beverage pairing) will be available from July 15th to August 1st. Call 215.735.1913 for reservations.
Full barbecue menu »
The power is out at Broad Street’s Symphony House, Inga Saffron’s favorite pink condo building. The building also holds Kevin Sbraga’s restaurant. So the Top Chef winner is showing the adaptability that helped him win the show and is breaking out his roasting box (doesn’t everyone have mobile roasting box?) and will be preparing an alfresco two-course dinner for $25.
Sbraga [Official Site]