Hot Stuff, Ela Gets Three Bells
Craig LaBan praises Jason Cichonski for his artful use of modern cooking gadgets that combine unlikely combinations into graceful dishes at Queen Village’s Ela.
The wink of pure invention was the appeal of the “noodles” he cut from sheets of pureed scallop (an udon-like nod to the Lacroix brunch scallop sausage), the sea-sweet strands blanched and sautéed with salsify into blood-orange vinaigrette. His favorite South Philly Vietnamese snack, meanwhile, the chewy rice flour-ball fritters known as banh cam, get a fascinating modernist update here – stuffed with rosemaried white-bean puree, drizzled with brandied prunes, and dusted with powdered truffle.
And then of course there is the hot chocolate cookie dough dessert inspired by Cichonski’s want for the cookie dough in Ben & Jerry’s Half-Baked ice cream to be warm, not cold and hard.
Three Bells – Excellent
Photo by Jason Varney