Now Open: Res Ipsa Cafe
The all-day cafe is the new fast-casual. Or anyway, that’s certainly how it seems with the recent surge of these hybrid coffeshop/bar/restaurants we’ve seen around Philly. And the newest? Res Ipsa Cafe, which opened this weekend at 22nd and Walnut. It is (as these things often are) a team effort between the crew from ReAnimator Coffee and Tyler Akin of Stock.
So what happened when these two forces came together in one small space?
For starters, Italian-ness happened, which is maybe not what people would’ve suspected from Akin, who’s best known for his Fishtown Vietnamese BYO. But hey, noodles, right? From the anchovy and oregano on the grilled cauliflower to the short list of hand-made pastas, Res Ipsa is, on the dinner side of the board, definitely an Italian-influenced restaurant, and a lot of that is owing to the hiring of Michael Vincent Ferreri as chef.
Don’t know Ferreri’s name? You should. He’s been a solid behind-the-scenes guy, working the line at Zeppoli, opening the kitchen with George Sabatino at Aldine, and doing time at Zahav. And his stamp is all over the board at Res Ipsa. Here’s the dinner menu:
Starts at 5:30
Robiola, Arugula, Almond, Black Pepper
Preserved Orange, Hazel, Anchovy, Oregano
FRIED BABY FISH
Chili Oil, Salsa Verde, Aioli
Beans, Preserved Lemon, Parsley
ROOT VEGETABLE CAPONATA
Date, Walnut, Fennel, Apple
PASTA CON LE SARDE
Pine Nut, Fennel, Saﬀron, Breadcrumb
$12 / $20
Preserved Citrus, Oregano, Chili, Bottarga/Cured Egg Yolk
$10 / $18
SPAGHETTI A LA VONGOLE
Parsley, Garlic, Wine
$12 / $20
GNOCCHI SARDO ARRABBIATA
Eggplant, Parmesan, Basil
$10 / $18
TROFIE CON FUNGHI
Marjoram, Pecorino Sardo
$10 / $18
Potato, Long Hots
$24 / $40
Salsa Verde, Grilled Bread, Potato, Grilled Citrus
Booze is BYO, and see those half-portions? That’s awesome. Love the fact that they’re making it easy for, uh, enthusiasts like me to graze without making it weird by filling up the table with big plates when I order half the menu in one sitting.
Res Ipsa’s schedule breaks down like so. It runs as a cafe Monday to Friday, from 7am to 5:30pm and on Saturdays and Sundays from 8am to 5:30pm.In the mornings, there will be ReAnimator coffee (of course), plus a surprisingly deep and well-considered menu of breakfast pastries, foccacia, $5 pear and ricotta hand pies and a killer breakfast sandwich constructed from egg frittata, asiago fresco and herbed long hot spread. Here’s the full menu:
Come lunch time, the kitchen bulks things up with a selection of sandwiches (they start serving them after 11am, but the breakfast menu is in effect all day).
I’m particularly excited for the beans and greens. Like me, Ferreri was born and raised in Rochester, New York and, though not a native dish by any means, beans and greens is big in that city and is just one of those staples that has become inextricably linked to home in my mind.
Anyway, after that it’s on to dinner. As a BYO restaurant, Res Ipsa operates Wednesday through Sunday, from 5:30pm to 10:30pm. Then everyone goes home and gets ready to start over again the next day.
The space (which is simple, spare, white-walled and uncluttered) and the casual, all-day vibe of the place should be a welcome addition to the outskirts of the Rittenhouse scene. And since the place is open right now, if you’re looking for a quick lunch (or maybe somewhere to have dinner tonight), you should head over. Reservations are accepted (required if you’re a party of 5 or more), but walk-ins are welcome–at least during the day, and at least for now.
Res Ipsa [f8b8z]