October 10, 2010 |
Matt Levin isn't the first creative cook to clash with the administrative demands of being an executive chef at a luxury hotel. But for a guy who'd rather be fiddling with his sous-vide machine and working to build a better duck-fat fry, the notion of sitting in long meetings on whether or not to have a harpist in the lobby or discussing the chafing dishes for banquets was its own special form of five-diamond hotel torture. "I wasn't cooking anymore, and I wanted to be back having fun in the kitchen," Levin says, looking back on his days at Lacroix at the Rittenhouse.
June 20, 2010 |
Contrary to my early assumptions, the chuckle-inducing name of this new Queen Village bistro - Hoof + Fin - was not the product of an English-as-second-language mistranslation. Jersey-bred co-owner Deanna Ebner insists that neither of the Argentine men in her orbit - chef and co-owner Carlos Barroz, and her husband, Lucas Manteca - can claim ownership of this too-clever twist on surf-and-turf : "That would be me. . . . " The visually minded Ebner was simply aiming for a moniker that conveyed the menu's meat-and-seafood focus, but was also campy enough for the stick-figure logo she had in mind for the window and the garage sale's worth of tchotchkes she's used to decorate the little BYOB, where a paint-by-numbers horse picture, bare Edison bulbs, butcher-block tables, and dark, varnished wood wainscoting lend the minimalist space a retro bistro feel.
April 15, 2010
Reader: I was in San Francisco and had dinner at Incanto. The offal dishes were outstanding . . . brains and sweetbreads risotto, tuna heart, kidneys. It was also refreshing to actually see chef Chris Cosentino working the kitchen. I wish there were more places in our area that served unusual dishes such as this. CL: We definitely took a small offal hit when Ansill closed, but it was only brief. David Ansill is back and cooking his marrow out at Ladder 15. Pierre Calmels is stuffing pig's feet with foie gras at Bibou.
August 17, 2008 |
This week, Rick Nichols rings the bells in place of Craig LaBan, who returns next week with a review of the Devil?s Den in S. Philadelphia. At fortress Zahav, perched aloofly (up three flights of garden steps) above the cobblestones of Old City, Michael Solomonov, at 29, is burnishing his credentials as one of the city's most thoughtful chefs. The evidence of his excellence mounts in matters large and small - in the addictively stretchy rounds of laffa, a flatbread hot from the oak-fired oven; in the cheeky sweetbreads - "They sort of have a taste of Chicken McNuggets," he offers - wrapped in crispy chicken skin; in creamy Egyptian rice stuffed into baby eggplant.
September 16, 2007 |
It has been nearly two years since Alex Capasso slipped off the cooking radar. One of my favorite young chefs simply disappeared into the ether of consulting work and the seemingly endless chase that planning a chef-owned place can so often become. But after a long quest across South Jersey, where the Brasserie Perrier alum earned a stellar reputation at Max's and Misto, Capasso has come full circle to his hometown of Collingswood. And it was worth the wait. The old Collings Avenue hardware store once called Weldon's is now the home of Blackbird Dining Establishment.
February 21, 2001 |
What's not to like about sweetbreads? That's the eternal question for Royer Smith, executive chef at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. He eats them every chance he gets. The thymus and pancreatic glands of a calf - the clinical description for the coyly named dish - are among his favorite foods. But then this is a guy who also likes tripe - a cow's stomach lining - and the fattened goose-liver delicacy known as foie gras. "They have a really great texture and a really delicate but not bland flavor," Smith said of sweetbreads.
February 13, 2000 |
The rejuvenation of University City has been an exciting thing to watch because the building spree has been more than academic. The streetscape has been recast with wide sidewalks, cultural centers, bookstores and cafes - all necessary amenities to connect the university community with the vibrant possibilities of urban life. Restaurants, too, will play a crucial role in turning this area into a destination neighborhood. But they will have to do better than the Ivy Grille, which, until you try the food, seems ideally suited to the cause.
August 26, 1997 |
Here is my Middle Age Bill of Rights: 1. After 50, you no longer need to try food you have no interest in. If someone insists that you try monkfish, sweetbreads or quail eggs, you now have the right to say simply, "I would prefer not to. " 2. You should have the freedom to resist seeing any movie or TV series starring Brad Pitt, Heather Locklear, Keanu Reeves or Shannon Dougherty. 3. You are permitted to dress as you please, even if it embarrasses your loved ones. 4. You are granted automatic lifetime possession of certain favorite anecdotes and retain the absolute right to relate them as often as you like as long as they still amuse you. Likewise, there is no statute of limitations on tasteless, non-PC jokes, songs and limericks.
April 24, 1988 |
It may be a trend still in the making, but a brace of elegantly sophisticated restaurants is challenging the rural character of the area along the Delaware River north of Trenton. With the opening of the Frenchtown Inn in January 1986 and The Fox in nearby Stockton last summer, the gentle hills of Hunterdon County are home to culinary excellence. With an exciting, beautifully executed menu, Robert and Holly Long have turned the Frenchtown Inn into an oasis of civilized dining.
November 28, 1986 |
What happens when country French meets California? Voila! It's Cafe Arielle, a charming and impressive restaurant in Doylestown. When we last heard from Jacques Colmaire, the former right hand man to Georges Perrier at Le Bec-Fin, he was plying his trade at Coquilles St. Jacques. Having sold it a year or so ago, he opened Cafe Arielle in July. The restaurant is situated in the Doylestown Agricultural Works, a 120-year-old restored brick complex that looks like a mini-New Market (I hope that's not the kiss of death.