The Gastronaut: It Gets Better

MO-gastronaut-032015-400-kagan-mcleodI was at Aldine for dinner on opening night, and it was awful.

Of all the dishes set before me, I only found two of them appetizing enough to finish, and with another one, I had to pull the old Oh look, some of it fell on the floor trick just to make it appear as though I’d taken more than one bite.

But it’s okay. Don’t worry. Aldine got better.

I ate at Sbraga years ago, shortly after it opened. It was one of the most talked-about restaurants in the city, but not all the talk was good. And, frankly, neither was dinner. It was gimmicky, too clever, muddled in a way that I think was supposed to feel casual and fun but didn’t.

But Sbraga got better, too. Read more »

Tuesday Tasting Dinners At Will: Morel Mushrooms


Will is running a Tuesday Tasting Dinner series in which chef Chris Kearse takes one item and then crafts a complete menu around that single ingredient. And on Tuesday, May 20, that ingredient is morel mushrooms. Wild morels from Oregon, in this case. And there are still a few seats left.

The dinner is five courses. Tickets are $55. And you can get yours by calling the restaurant at 215-271-7683.

Oh, and yes. We have the menu. Check it out below.

Read more »

Lineup Set for Taste of the Nation

logo_nkhThe lineup for the 2014 Taste of the Nation fundraiser for Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign has been finalized. More than thirty restaurants including Serpico, Will and Vernick Food and Drink will be participating at the April 27th event. Tickets are on sale now fro the event which will take place at the Hotel Monaco. General admission tickets are $95 and VIP tickets (which come with an early admission time ar $145).

The 2014 Taste of the Nation Participants »

About Last Night: Pork Hearts And Awesome Sauce


Two of my favorite places to eat in Philadelphia competed Monday night at our 23rd Foobooz Open Stove event. It was a knife fight between Cheu Noodle Bar’s sous chef, Chad Smith, and Will BYOB’s sous chef, Craig Russell. I asked Chad before we began if he was going to be doing anything Asian-inspired, or rather, Cheu-esque. And the soft spoken chef looked up, said “nope,” and went back to his prep. I walked over to the other side, where Craig was furiously assembling his amuse bouche, and I observed, “This doesn’t look very ‘Will.'” to which he responded, “You won’t see a single shaved vegetable on our plates tonight.” Now this, obviously, was not a dig at Chris Kearse. He just wanted to make sure the world knew that this was his food, done his way. The same went for Chad: this wasn’t going to be an extension of Ben Puchowitz‘s stylethis was going to be all Chad.

So it began–Open Stove XXIII, a battle between two powerhouse restaurants in a restaurant obsessed city, with food by sous chefs who may be as talented as they come. And if you missed being there for the actual event, don’t worry. We have pictures–which don’t taste quite as good as the food that was served at COOK, but are the next best thing.

Show me the photos

Tonight: Collaboration Dinner At Will


All throughout the month of March, chef Chris Kearse is doing collaboration dinners at his East Passyunk BYO Will. Every Thursday, it’s a different chef, a different menu. The one thing that stays the same? the price: $70 for five courses.

He’s doing these dinners every Thursday night. And since today just happens to be Thursday, that means he’s doing one tonight–a collaboration with Townsend Wentz who has been very busy lately announcing the openings of new restaurants (most notably, his resurrection of the East Passyunk space that once housed Sophia’s).

It’s looking like a good party, and there are still some seats available. We’ve got the menu after the jump–and also a list of all the other dinners Will has on the books for this month of collaborations.

Read more »

Chris Kearse Updates Will’s Menu for Winter


Will BYOB has updated its menu for late winter. Chris Kearse has hearty dishes that might make you grateful that it’s cold out. Dishes like foie gras and rabbit terrine, whole roasted hen of the woods mushrooms and a Berkshire Pork neck and sausage might just be enough for you to forgive this winter.

Also coming up at Will, a special “Heart” menu on February 18th.

The menus » 

Multi-Sensory Pop-Up with Inspiracle


Chef Rob Sidor is an industry vet. Before being the Chef de Cuisine of Di Bruno Bros., he cooked at both of Dan Stern’s restaurants, Gayle and Rae, Chip Roman’s Blackfish, and he’s been doing some tasting/special menu consulting with Chris Kearse at Will BYOB over the past year.

He’s also been doing a series of pop-up dinners under the name Inspiracle, and it’s what he describes to be a “multi-course, multi-sensory dining experience.” We’re talking visual effects, auditory effects, scents and vapors and all their palatal effects. Plus things that engage the attendees, table-side: siphon infused sauces, edible “perfume”, and smoking cinnamon at the table. On January 28th, for $100 a ticket (tickets include tax and gratuity), you’ll be completely immersed in six-courses (plus a few surprises) of body-shaking, mind-baffling food.

Want a sneak peak? »

Tomorrow: Chris Kearse Cooks A Charlie Trotter Tribute Menu At Will


Charlie Trotter, the celebrated chef credited with putting Chicago on the dining map, died this Wednesday at the age of 54. This Sunday, November 10th, at Will, chef Christopher Kearse–who worked the fish station at Trotter’s lauded Chicago restaurant–will celebrate the chef by offering a tasting menu in his style. The menu will take the format of Will’s typical Sunday prix fixe (four courses for $45), but Kearse aims to pay homage to Trotter with each dish, employing his philosophy that “nothing be done the same way twice…these dishes will be today’s version of some of Trotter’s classics.”

Call 215-271-7683 or visit to reserve a table. And check out the menu after the jump.

Read more »

Foobooz After Dark: Bogle and Kearse – The Menu


Last week we told you about our new late-night dinner series, Foobooz After Dark. The first event is an exciting one, with Justin Bogle of the upcoming Avance and Chris Kearse of Will coming together for one really impressive dinner.

The party is happening on Saturday, November 16th at 11 p.m. at Will, with a single seating happening after they clear out the last tables of the night and lock the doors behind us. Tickets are $125 per person and the event is BYOB.

There are only have 25 seats available for this dinner and tickets are going on sale soon. To find out exactly when, sign up now for our Foobooz After Dark alerts so that you can be there, ready to get yours, the minute ticketing goes live.

Now check out what you’ll be eating if you’re lucky enough to get in.
Read more »

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