Everyone needs a project to distract them from the slings and arrows of daily life. Some people (shoutout to my dad) collect stamps. Others (also, shoutout to my dad) build model trains. And some people, the best people, open taco shops.
Letto Deli, which has been reported to become everything from a Jose Garces wursthaus to a branch of the buzzed about Umami Burger is now slated to be demolished. But on the good side, the replacement for the single story building will house a restaurant. Michael Klein is reporting that Sylva Senat, who was the praised opening chef of Tashan will be in the kitchen.
Sylva Senat in deal at Letto Deli [The Insider]
Sylva Senat was rather unceremoniously dismissed from his gig at Tashan back in June of this year, ending his critically-acclaimed run that won him love from just about every critic in town and three stars from our own Trey Popp. He went into consulting after that, taking on the task of helping to right the ship at Michael Schulson’s Saint James after it got savaged by pretty much every critic in town.
He finished up his tour in Ardmore at the Saint James in November. And now, according to the Insider, he’s come back to Center City to step in as a consultant at Spice 28–the two-chef Sichuan/fusion joint which got a two-star review from Trey in October. The Insider reports that Senat will be starting his tinkering on the fusion side and working forward from there.
Sylva Senat Consulting At Spice 28 [Insider]
Good news for fans of former Tashan chef Sylva Senat. Michael Klein reports that talented chef has landed at the Saint James in Ardmore. We feared the chef might head back to New York City but hadn’t considered the connection between Senat and the Saint James’ Michael Schulson. Senat cooked for Schulson when the energetic Schulson was Buddakan New York’s executive chef.
No word yet on a new menu but we’ll be following carefully.
Chef Sylva Senat lands on the Main Line [The Insider]
Photo by Yoni Nimrod
The rumors have been circulating for a few days, but now we know for sure. Sylva Senat is no longer the chef at Tashan. Or Tiffin, Tiffin Bistro or any other of owner Munish Narula‘s properties.
I chatted briefly with Senat this afternoon, and while he didn’t have much to add (other than a confirmation that he is, in fact, no longer chef at Tashan), he did say that he was now a “free agent” (meaning that he doesn’t have another gig lined up yet), that his tenure in the kitchen at Tashan was “cut short” (meaning that he didn’t walk out on his own, but was asked to leave), and that he thinks the reason he was let go was because he “care[d] too much” (though, honestly, I’m not entirely sure what that means).
“It’s still a surreal moment,” Senat told me. “Articles are still coming out with my name on [them] for Tiffin Bistro, Groupon, et cetera.”
Narula hasn’t returned calls for comment on the loss of the chef that opened Tashan to critical acclaim. But needless to say, if there’s anyone out there looking to open a modern Indian restaurant (or, really, any other kind of restaurant) and is in the market for a blooded, veteran, award-winning chef, Senat would probably be happy to take your call.
UPDATE: According to the Insider, Kirti Pant, the chef brought in by Narula to run his new Tiffin Bistro, is now the chef at Tashan.
Tashan Review [Philly mag]
“What we are doing at Tashan will be more like elegant Dinner At Home experience. Everything about the service will have get a special touch of style, including the packaging and serving containers, napkins, and even utensils.”
So says Munish Narula, owner of Tashan, in discussing the brand new carry-out / delivery service the restaurant will be rolling out starting this Thursday. The kitchen will be offering the entire menu to-go (including all of the new dishes recently added by chef Sylva Senat), which means that you can now sit around on your couch in your underpants eating gol-gappa, tandoori lamb chops, baby octopus in red pepper sauce and screw-pine scented palak tikki in a saffron-morel mushroom cream sauce–which is just classy.
Right now, the delivery area includes Center City, Rittenhouse Square, Graduate Hospital, Bella Vista, Washington Square West, Queen Village and University City. And while that’s already a pretty sizable region to cover, Narula is saying it will probably get even bigger as the new service hits its stride.
Tashan Review [Philly mag]
Tashan [Official website]
Over on the Philly Post, Hugh E. Dillon was out celebrity-hunting last night and caught Commissioner Gordon and Indiana Jones’s grandfather having dinner together at Tashan. They had the chef’s tasting menu (that’s chef Sylva Senat there on the right and his boss, Munish Narula, on the left) and despite some tense moments negotiating the return of the President’s airplane, Air Force One, a fine time was had by all.
In reality, the two Hollywood heavyweights are in town filming the thriller Paranoia. You can check out all the details at the Philly Post.
Over the weekend 59 teams competed in the Garry Maddox-Stephen Starr Barbecue Challenge, but only one came out on top. The team at Carolina Blue Smokehouse and Taproom (pictured above) of Pitman, New Jersey was the ultimate champion. The team fended off competitors from both the restaurant and amateur Pit Master divisionsto win tickets to the 2012 World Series.
More than a dozen judges including Phillies alumni and Philly restaurateurs and chefs like Jen Zavala and Sylva Senat worked their way through every entry (poor guys!) to come up with the results.
Winners in each category »
Adam Erace says the food coming from Sylva Senat’s kitchen at Tashan is some of the most exciting to debut all year. Especially impressive when you figure the Jean-Georges, Aquavit and Buddakan veteran had never cooked Indian cuisine professionally.
His comfort working with bold seasoning is evident in dishes like venison, grilled with fenugreek, cumin and smoked cloves before being kissed by rum-and-plum chutney. He distills Xacutti, a Goan curry typically made with chicken or lamb, to its essential spices — no fewer than 21 of them — and applies the blend to pork tenderloin in both wet and dry marinades. Even the desserts showed a mastery of Indian flavors, from mysterious, fickle rose in a trio of kulfi ice creams, to cardamom and cinnamon woven through a lush bread pudding. The spectacular peshwari naan, part of the “chef’s basket” of baked-to-order flatbreads, could have qualified as a dessert, too, with a paste of ground cashews, pistachios, raisins and coconut spread inside its warm, smoky folds. It tasted like India’s version of French toast.