Russet, Serious About Farm to Table

Russet, like the apples

Russet will be the name of Andrew and Kristin Wood’s Spruce Street BYOB. The couple is taking over the former Ernesto’s for a true farm-to-table restaurant, not just a spot cashing in on a buzz phrase.

Andrew, who’s first Philadelphia restaurant job was in Georges Perrier’s Le Bec-Fin more than a decade a go, has traveled west to California (with stops in Boston and Chicago) as he has become a disciple of ingredient-driven cuisine. In California, Andrew worked as a sous chef at Hiro Sone and Lissa Doumani’s Terra in the Napa Valley. After that he went to Michael and Lindsay Tusk’s Quince in San Francisco. Quince’s philosophy serves as the backbone of Russet, daily changing menus and food supplied directly from farmers.

After returning to Philadelphia Andrew opened Maia and James. Last year, after following Terence Feury to Fork, he won a Best of Philly award for charcuterie.

While in Boston, Andrew met his wife Kristin, an accomplished pastry chef who accompanied Andrew westward, working with Chef Grant Achatz (Alinea) at Trio in Evanston, Illinois and with Andrew at Quince. After returning to the East Coast Kristin was the pastry chef at James. Along the way she also worked as a cheesemonger, another skill she’ll bring to bare at Russet.

The menu at Russet will change frequently, with as much as half the menu swapping out daily. The lease has been signed and Andrew and Kristin are pushing towards a February opening.