Inspired by A.kitchen

Tim McGinnis seeks refuge from negativity and gimmickry in Bryan Sikora’s impressive a.kitchen.

The Meat category introduced me to my soul mate of a dish, the sugars coaxed from a perfectly cooked loin of lamb caramelized on a searing hot la plancha. First, the lamb’s natural sugars mingled casually with bitter Greek-style yogurt, then it flirted hardcore with salty black olives, and finally decided to take the bitter Treviso home and bang the hell out of it. The lamb went great with a stunning outside-the-box cocktail of a bitter artichoke liquor cynar and orange mixed expertly by bartendrix Catherine Manning.

a.kitchen Gets “A” for Effort [Philadelphia Weekly]
a.kitchen [Official Site]

Good Cop, Bad Cop at Farmers’ Cabinet

Philadelphia Weekly unleashes a double-headed review of Farmers’ Cabinet with Brian Freedman loving the restaurant and Tim McGinnis playing the part of bad cop.

Tim McGinnis, for the most part, hated Farmers’ Cabinet. Well, hated might be strong, but he felt it severely underperformed in most areas. The decor, the underseasoned food, the “flaccid-as-a-dead-dog’s-dick” root chips. Freedman loved the place, and thinks it’s an exciting addition to the city, and has excellent service. So let’s get into their differences, shall we?

Farmers’ Cabinet Struggles to Find Consistency [Philadelphia Weekly]
Farmers’ Cabinet [Official Site]

Yam Yam the Key at Big Eyes

Tim McGinnis finds that if you like the yam yam sauce at Big Eyes Sushi you’ll like the BYO sushi spot at 7th and Bainbridge.

Philly finds itself awash in high-end sushi choices—Morimoto, Zama and Raw—and Big Eyes offers some superb counter-programming. It could find its position in the market by continuing to offer these low-cost (not low-end) sushi that is in no way aimed at sushi traditionalists, but the playful and open-minded diner instead. While the big boys are worrying about the details and hand-wringing over pricing, Big Eyes is just trying to have a little fun. And succeeding.

Big Eyes Sushi is on a roll [Philadelphia Weekly]

Quick Bites: Plenty to Go, Closings & Chef Movements

Tim McGinnis is pushing his wares beyond Plenty on East Passyunk. Artisinal by Plenty is providing sandwiches to cafes and groceries. Shot Tower Coffee is the first to add the quality bites. [Meal Ticket]

Chef Shawn Sollberger has left Gunners Run which has been open a bit more than a month. [The Insider]

Marrakesh Express closes before City Paper can review it. Too bad as it sounded pretty good. [Meal Ticket]

Plenty of Goodies Coming to East Passyunk

Spinal Tapas’ Tim McGinnis, who was all set to open American Blackboard/American Meats & Provisions in the Philly Kitchen Share facility before abruptly leaving the project, has resurfaced in South Philly. He’ll bring his cheffy talents to Plenty, a swanky deli opening on February 1 at 1710 East Passyunk Avenue. A blurb from McG:

The food will be based around refined interpretations of comfort foods. It will be centered on the freshest ingredients prepared in-house, with a nod to historic techniques like sausage making, smoking fish, butchery, seasonal cooking, jarring, pickling, preserving, curing, and cheese-making- and modern sustainability. The philosophy will be evident in everything from the house-made deli meats to refurbished circa 1950’s deli cases and a communal table made from a salvaged barn.

Click through for a look at the tentative menu, which we’re delighted to see includes a riff on McGinnis’ Russian Lox sandwich. We liked it so much when he was operating as American Meats & Provisions that we included it in our Sandwich Spectacular.

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Quick Bites

Little Fish has reopened in the old Salt and Pepper space. Meal Ticket has the opening night menu. [Mel Ticket]

Keith Taylor who received some nice reviews for his Holy Smoke in Roxborough will be opening Zachary’s Barbecue in Norristown. [Gluten Free Philly]

Andy Kitko is the new chef at Oyster House. [Meal Ticket]

Former Django, White Dog Cafe employee Andrew Brown will be running the kitchen at Opa on Sansom Street when it opens later this month. [The Insider]

Tim McGinnis is going to be the chef at Plenty, a prepared foods spot on booming East Passyunk. [Meal Ticket]

Cochon has rolled out its winter menu. [Meal Ticket]