June 1, 2006 |
The small-plate movement is growing beyond its ethnic roots in Spanish bar food, Greek meze, and Chinese dim sum. It is becoming a new serving style, one in which you the diner can order-as-you-go, as your tastes and appetite move you: small plates and small portions, foods ordered by the piece. Foods meant to be tasted and shared. It is a change articulated by several local chefs and restaurateurs at a panel discussion last week at Positano Coast. They are, we were told, responding to customers' desires as diners ask for small plates, and want to order by the piece or to share dishes.
November 11, 2007 |
In their final months at the William Penn Inn, where they worked to save for their big debut, it must have been a challenge for Joe and Amy McAtee to imagine the flight of modern fancy that would become Honey. The William Penn, in Gwynedd, is as classic as it gets - an enormous 1714 inn where the service is stodgy black-tie and the culinary high points (veal Oscar and snapper soup) are fossils from the Prime Rib-a-zoic era. The McAtees are grateful to the William Penn for the work, and respectful of its tradition.
March 29, 2009 |
When the Moon Goddess of Manayunk is listening to this prayer - the full Thai lullaby is spelled out with 18,600 copper nails artfully tapped into the wall at MangoMoon - chef Nongyao "Moon" Krapugthong can see it work. The customers pour into her snazzy new small-plate Asian pub, and as warm currents of lemongrass-scented air rise from the grill fires in her open kitchen, the big copper sculpture of a moon dangling overhead starts to spin in the spice-tinged breeze. It hasn't spun quite as fast, honestly, as Krapugthong might have hoped when she opened for business in late December.
May 25, 2008 |
Many an ambitious young chef has gotten lost in the uncharted wilderness of fusion cooking, where the path between inspiration and incoherent nonsense is perilously narrow. One minute they're adding an Asian lacquer to their duck confit with a salsa verde flourish (a perfectly fine idea). Next thing you know, they're crumbling fried pork-skin crispies atop the chocolate gelato - an Iron Chef-like fantasy, no doubt, but one that in reality tastes as awful as it sounds. So it's no wonder the fusion trend, after a couple of decades in fierce flower, has been evolving to a more sensible ebb. The focus has shifted to updating authentic dishes with good ingredients and contemporary techniques, rather than simply grabbing a jumble of flavors out of context and reassembling them just because you can. It seems that Ben Byruch, though, has other ideas.
August 12, 2016 |
Step into Gran Caffe L'Aquila on a Friday evening, and you may feel like you've wandered out of Center City and into a bar in, say, Venice. Staffers chatter in Italian, and, in the back, past the displays of gelati and panini, the marble-topped bar is laden with goblets of sparkling vermilion drink. Crowding in for drinks are regulars like Leontine Benedicenti, 39, a Milanese expatriate who was treating her homesickness with the preferred remedy, an Aperol Spritz. This is aperitivo , the Italian answer to happy hour.
April 26, 2012 |
DEAR VERY HIP City Restaurateur: I think it's time we had another talk. It's about your small plates. Well, not specifically the plates themselves — some of which, if we're being honest, stretch the definition of "small. " Rather, what we need to talk about is the manner in which these plates are brought to the table. Your "coursing," to use the au courant terminology — or more precisely, your lack thereof. You know what I'm talking about: Two of us show up at your restaurant and your chirpy server suggests that we order two "or three or four" small plates per person.
December 30, 2007 |
This was the year of the second restaurant, the Vetri offspring, and the Belgian bistro boom. The plates got smaller. The wines came by the glass. And pork bellies became the new short rib. No, none of the new stars were able to quite crack the city's four-bell restaurant elite. But 2007, in many ways, was a year in which Philadelphia's dining scene grew in significant ways. With the usually noisy Stephen Starr machine momentarily quiet, the next generation stepped to the fore with big ambitions.
December 18, 2008 |
GROWING UP in an Italian family, cooking was second nature for Marc Vetri. His paternal grandfather, an immigrant from Sicily, settled in Abington in the 1920s and started a family - and a host of cooking traditions. Marc was born in the '60s, and soon he was spending his weekends helping his grandmother Jenny make everything from fried smelts to ricotta cheesecake. But it wasn't until he'd graduated from Drexel University in 1990, with a degree in finance and a fierce love for guitar-playing, that Vetri realized that cooking was his life's passion.
June 7, 2007 |
When outdoor dining tables were added recently at Jake's restaurant in Manayunk, chef-owner Bruce Cooper quickly realized that successful dining alfresco would require a separate menu. Sidewalk diners, he learned, tend to be younger, looking for lighter, more casual fare, and more impulse-driven than those reserving tables for his more formal indoor meals. Attracting new customers to those outdoor tables, he found, involved offering foods that could be served and eaten more quickly.
July 22, 2010 |
Behind the prep counter in the dining room of the bright new Radice (722 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell, 610-272-5700) is an enormous wood-and-gas oven - more than seven feet wide. Chef-partner Donna Ewanciw needs it because 80 percent of her food - rustic Italian small plates, entrees, and pizzas - comes out of it. Radice ("rah-DEE-chay") opened last week at Village Square shopping center, replacing Bourbon. Ewanciw owns it with her longtime employers, Toto and Claire Schiavone of Moonstruck in Fox Chase, which was known as DiLullo's when she started 25 years ago. Radice mixes white and yellows to achieve the refined yet casual look of a sunny Italian farmhouse, whose culinary philosophy is modeled on Toto Schiavone's farm village roots in Badolato on the Ionian Sea. (Radice means root.