Top Chef contestant Stephanie Cmar is in town today at castmate Jason Cichonski’s Gaslight in Old City. Cmar is in the midst of a national pop-up tour for her Stacked Donuts and Trademark Tarts. The pastry chef is joined by Justin Burke-Sansom to form Party of Two. The pair have been popping up in Boston every week for the past five months offering their Stacked Donuts and Trademark Tarts. They have now joined forces and are working as a collaborative.
Today they will be offering three donuts and two types of tarts, starting at 11 a.m. Each sweet treat is $3 and is cash only. Get there early, there are only 100 donuts and 80 tarts to go around.
We celebrated our 25th Open Stove event last night, and the festivities started off with Jason saying, “I’m going to do everything in my power to piss off Lily tonight.”
Now, the Open Stoves previous to last night’s have all been very fun and exciting–the talent was always there, and everyone was guaranteed to leave feeling full, drunk, and satisfied. But last night, something was different. Maybe there was something in the water.
Or maybe it was all the vodka…
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Chips with charred eggplant salsa | Photo by Courtney Apple
If you’re comfortable looking a bartender straight in the eye and asking for a Sex Panther, then girl, does Jason Cichonski have the bar for you.
That Granny Smith-and-cranberry cosmo isn’t the only cocktail on offer, of course. You could also order a Red Hot Mama (black cherry margarita) or a Mr. Muffin (gin and tonic with strawberry and sage) — though, as with the Pirate Hooker (red currant Bellini), propriety would seem to dictate tacking a “for my friend” onto such requests.
But then, hitting Old City for the propriety is like going to Thailand for the cheese.
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Brunch is an all day affair on Sundays. But there is this burger, the best in Old City.
Brunch is typically the most fun meal of the week. Friends get together, tell stories of the weekend and, hopefully, laugh a lot. At the Gaslight, the new bar from Jason Cichonski, brunch is an especially good time, and on Sundays it’s an all-day affair, as he and sous-chef James Fujioka whip up eggs, waffles and sides of bacon even after night falls. It all manages to be satisfying without taking itself too seriously — which is a good thing, because who wants to think too hard on a Sunday? If birthday cake waffles are just a bit too silly, the ones stuffed with savory sausage and herb butter are worth ordering, if only for the smoked whiskey syrup that comes with them — provided that’s not too painful a reminder of your Saturday night. Another must-order: buttermilk fried chicken that can be served as a main course or as an inspired side. Refuse to get behind the late-night brunch? Then order the GSLT Burger. It’s the best burger in Old City. And like all those brunch plates, it’s a lot of fun, too.
The Gaslight [Foobooz]
Originally published in the May 2014 issue of Philadelphia magazine.
Adam Erace has some problems with the food at the Gaslight, but that’s nothing compared to what he had to say about the drinks.
The Gaslight, the new bar/restaurant from Jason Cichonski, a chef whose reputation is built — fairly or unfairly — on equal parts scallop noodles and sex appeal. When he and Nick Elmi first encountered each other on the last season of Top Chef, Elmi looked at Cichonski’s pastel pink shorts and quipped, “You look like you just got off a yacht.”
I felt like I was on one at The Gaslight, that’s about how rocky the food was, but the cocktails were even weirder. This list appears to have been curated by a Cherry Hill bachelorette party, with confections bearing names like Pirate Hooker (a red currant Bellini, because who doesn’t want that at 9:30 p.m.?) and Hello Kitty, a martini whose fruity flavors (green tea, lychee, strawberry) make more sense together at Old City Frozen Yogurt down the street.
Tragically named cocktails aren’t the only missteps at The Gaslight [City Paper]
The Gaslight [Foobooz]
The crew at the Gaslight is doing an invite-only tasting of Czech BBQ (no, I don’t really know what that would taste like either) and unfiltered, unpasteurized, fresh-from-the-barrel Pilsner Urquell. And if you’re up for it, you could win a seat at the table.
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In a quick turnaround, Old City’s newest destination, The Gaslight, opened a few weeks ago in the old Philadelphia Bar and Restaurant space across the street from The Franklin Fountain. The menu–made up of ‘Chips & Dips’, ‘Apps & Snacks’, and ‘Big Plates’–is a chance for chef Jason Cichonski to play with ideas too casual for his other restaurant, Ela, and better suited to a bar than to fine dining.
From our first glimpse of their opening menu it seems that there are some good ones: garlic hummus, charred eggplant salsa, and three other dips are served with a selection of chips: pita, house-puffed rice crackers, and tortilla (fried up from the wares of the San Roman tortilleria on 9th Street). Onion rings, coated in panko, maintain their crunch beautifully alongside charred long hot peppers and yuzu aioli. The foie gras and chicken liver mouse with raisiny red wine mostarda is sure to become a favorite if ordered with the pickle board – three generous cups of house made pickles, to cut its richness.
On the entree side, Scottish salmon with goat cheese polenta, sprouted lentil salad, and blood orange vinaigrette appears alongside pulled duck flatbread drizzled with hoisin and classics like spaghetti bolognese, short ribs, fried chicken and burgers. It’s refined pub food in a warm, airy space with ample bar seating and plenty of bottles to choose from and it might just be exactly what Old City needs.
And we, of course, have all the pictures…
Show me the pictures
How do you keep the spark alive?
Restaurants face the same question that haunts many a marriage—only, with restaurants, it comes ‘round a whole lot sooner. If spouses can hope for seven years before the proverbial itch begs scratching, restaurateurs are lucky if they can make it past the first anniversary.
That thought chorused through my head during a recent meal at Ela—repeating like the 90-minute loop of down-tempo indie-rock throbbing softly in the background of Jason Cichonski’s Queen Village resto-bar.
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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 »
Yesterday, Tommy Domalski (pictured above) and Amber-Joi Watkins hosted their second annual Super Bowl party. Domalski owns the penthouse that was the former pad of Pat Burrell. Attendees included the suddenly ubiquitous Kate Beaver, Miss Pennsylvania Intercontinental Julia Pauline and chef Jason Cichonski, who served vegan burgers, a new addition to the menu of his forthcoming bar/eatery, Gaslight, which had a soft opening on Saturday.
More of HughE’s photos after the jump »