Back in Philly: Laurel.

Once again my flight in was late…..this time one and a half hours…barely made my reservation going straight from the airport. Thanks Uber!

This is another Philly restaurant that should be on your list and is yet another offering in the south Philly area, an area chocked full of eating opportunities. Described as French; I’d call it very nouveau French. Maybe a small small bit of the pedigree but decidedly with new world and asian touches. The chef is a winner of the Top Chef competition so you know it will be a place that is a must to visit.

Where to start….well it’s a fixed menu of 7 courses….when it’s all said and done there were 9 offerings and you can add a 10th if you go for the Kobe beef. I decided not to try it this visit, believe it or not, the add seemed like too much food! Reading other’s reviews I may have missed the boat on that decision. I did decide to add the offered wine pairings….all excellent choices.

The night started with with a palate cleanser of chilled whipped green apple sorbet with distinctively spicy notes similar to wasabi. The first course was yellowtail presented with a chow chow, sea lettuce and grain mustard. Also a spicy dish and decidedly not French. Next up were scallops with black truffle and sea grapes which was paired with sake…..very smooth and mild…something I would not thought of for the dish.

The 3rd course: octopus with black curry……really? I’ve never had this curry before…..very mild with a unique flavor that made me want to lick the plate. The wine pairing with this dish was a grenache blanc from California..very tart and crisp with high acidity. Course four….Atlantic ocean trout with apple cider. Completely different from the West Coast variety….like butter on the tongue….incredible. Paired with a Spanish abariño which was perfect for the very mild and subtle flavors of the dish.

Of course the palate needs cleansing before we change the meat source so a small bite of a tart preparation of foie gras was next. Now on to the start of the turf offerings……butter roasted chicken accompanied by escargot stuffed morel mushrooms and fiddleheads, which added a nice tartness to the dish . It just kept getting better and better. The wine: a Burgundy pinot noir…quite tart and light.  We’re almost to dessert but hold on for one more turf offering: roasted venison wrapped in herbs with fermented lily root and onion jus. Served perfectly roasted to a medium rare with a nice southern Rhône blend.

Now, close to food exhaustion, I’m finally to the dessert. Not just a single offering but a potpourri ranging from a toasted paw paw marshmallow to chambord gummy bears. Served with a final pairing from the Loire Valley, a botrytised chenin blanc…..not the sauterne I had imagined as the final wine. Light with a only a hint of residual sugar.

While this sounds overwhelming the plates are all quite small allowing you to really enjoy the experience.

Service was outstanding and well choreographed. Reservations are a must with about 24 seats in a relatively small but cozy space. Highly recommended.

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