First Bite: The Treemont

Chip Roman’s first Center City restaurant, The Treemont, opened very quietly in the old Tietra’s location at 231 South 15th Street. And for a man with the successful mini-empire that he has, it should’ve been a much bigger deal. He brought in chef Rob Sidor (the guy behind the Inspiracle dinners and who, most recently, worked alongside Chris Kearse at Will), he rearranged the room (moved the entire staircase to the other side of the restaurant, as a matter of fact), prettied the whole place up–and now he’s bringing real quality to the restaurant black hole that is 15th Street.

Last week, I had the chance to check out the spot, as well as talk with Sidor about his food.

And yeah, I got to eat it, too.

The best way to describe his cooking, is “colorful”. Colorful aesthetically, colorful on your palate, and colorful in conceptualization. It’s fun, surprisingly approachable, and damn tasty. He loves playing around with different textures (powders, styrofoams), bizarre flavors (he uses special spice blends from La Boite in NYC), and plating techniques right out of a Dr. Suess book.

For example:

Raspberry layered custard, fresh berries, walnut powder, and an agave dehydrated-then-rehydrated genoise. Seem pointless? It’s not. Genoise tends to be a spongy, airy cake, but by dehydrating and rehydrating it, you give it a fudge-like quality.  That green styrofoam? Green cardamom, and it melts on your tongue like cotton candy.

He was showing off with his Cobia. The only “cooking” it gets is from a six hour vaudouvan (French curry) cure, dotted with black rice chips, watermelon radishes, and a bath of red beet vinaigrette (beet dashi mixed with lime juice and cilantro) poured table-side.

His deviled eggs are stuffed with duck confit, cilantro-crème fraîche, and topped with pickled mustard seeds.

And these things—I could snack on them for days. Chickpea fritters, peperonata, mustard frills, and a kefir yogurt sauce spiced with the Moruno spice blend from La Boite.

And these are pictures of the space:

The Treemont [Official]