Opening Soon: JG Domestic, Liberte at the Sofitel
First up, we have Jose Garces, Philly mag cover model (in both human and sandwich form), whose seventh Philly restaurant, JG Domestic, is scheduled to open Friday, October 15 in the Cira Centre.
The website is active, but there’s no official menu yet (food focuses on high-quality ingredients produced in the United States). Expect to see dishes like:
- Strube Wayu Skirt Steak, 100% wagyu lineage beef from Strube Ranch in Pittsburg, Texas served with cider glazed cipollini onions, fried shishito peppers, cider veal jus and Bayley Hazen blue cheese
- Patterson Farms’ maple syrup souffle with crème anglaise and Nocello ice cream
- Atlantic Big Eye Tuna, caught off the coast of Massachusetts with California baby artichokes, Lola Rosa lettuce, marinated kumquats and creamy mustard vinaigrette
- “Whole Animal” one dish crafted by using a farm raised animal in its entirety such as Roasted Suckling Pennsylvania Lamb, roasted leg and shoulder, crispy confit ribs and braised belly.
- Farm 51 Autumn Shirred Egg, eggs from a nearby urban farm in West Philadelphia with truffle-celery root cream, Benton’s bacon, Washington State lobster mushrooms and Oregon black truffle
Prices will run from $5 to $28. An all-American beverage program will feature U.S. wines ($9 to $13 a glass), beers ($5 to $12) and eight specialty cocktails named for historic Amtrak routes at prices that may bring to mind the high cost of traveling Amtrak ($12 to $15). The 175-seat space will be open for lunch Monday through Friday, 11 p.m. to 3 p.m. and dinner Monday through Saturday, 5 p.m. until 10 p.m. 2929 Arch Street, 215-222-2363, jgdomestic.com
Also opening sometime in October, Liberté, the revamp of what was formerly Chez Colette at the Sofitel in Rittenhouse and across the street from another hotel resto-bar, Square 1682 (could 17th and Sansom be the epicenter of a nascent hotel bar scene in Philly? Discuss.) They’ll serve “sharable French-inspired plates” priced from $7 to $32, like:
- Slow-Roasted Pork Belly with caramelized apples and boudin noir
- Seared Diver Scallops with smoked onion puree and pancetta
- House-Cured Trout with red lentils, lemon confit and crepe chips
- Magret Duck Breast Cassoulet with Toulouse sausage and white beans
- Roasted East Coast Lamb Loin with fondant potato and ratatouille
The cocktail program and the decor are also getting a new look: grey sofas and leather chairs aim to create a lounge-y vibe. Mark Yanga, a cocktailsmith from Chicago and D.C. is creating the drinks menu (look for a sazerac served in an absinthe-rinsed glass and a negroni garnished with a flaming orange twist). Lunch will be served daily from 11:30 a.m. to 2: 30 p.m., dinner will be served from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. and the bar will be open from 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily. 120 South 17th Street, 215-569-8300, libertelounge.com
And lastly, Speck, the long-long-long-long-awaited restaurant in the Piazza at Schmidt’s from chef Shola Olunloyo. It was supposed to open at the end of August. It didn’t. A late September/October opening was expected; prepaid reservations were taken for a chef’s tasting menu, at $120 or $150-per-person, depending on the night. We made ours and forked over our Amex. Over the weekend, we got an email (and a refund for our $259 smackers) that said:
Unfortunately due to unexpected technical issues regarding some of the equipment we installed and overall construction, we have to delay our opening for 6 weeks to replace a few things. You are being issued a full refund of the payment you made immediately. In addition for the inconvenience we will be sending you an invitation to come to the opening of Speck Restaurant for a gratis dinner.
While Speck isn’t the first restaurant to open late (or even really, really late), it might be the first we know of that has had to give refunds before it serves a single customer. 1050 North Hancock Street, 215-925-9500, speckfoodandwine.com