It must be chef shufflingseason. Word comes from a.kitchen’sDavid Fields that chef Bryan Sikora will be leaving Rittenhouse Square’s a.kitchen. Like Eater, we’ve been told Sikora is opening a La Fia, a bakery/cafe in Wilmington.
Looking for some turkey cooking advice that goes beyond Butterball Turkey Talk-Line, 1-800-BUTTERBALL? Here are the best pieces of advice from top Philadelphia chefs including Joe Cicala, Rich Landau, Marc Vetri and Jose Garces.
First published on November 21, 2011 Updated on November 21, 2012
Want to know how to tell if your turkey is actually done? (Don’t trust that pop-up thing!) Not sure if you’re supposed to take that bag containing the weird looking stuff out of the cavity before putting your bird in the oven? (You are.) For queries like these, there’s the tried-and-true Butterball Turkey Talk-Line, 1-800-BUTTERBALL. But if you want advice from Jose Garces, Marc Vetri and some of our other favorite Philly chefs on how to spark new life into America’s biggest food holiday and not go totally bonkers in the process, you’ve come to the right place.
Tim McGinnis seeks refuge from negativity and gimmickry in Bryan Sikora’s impressive a.kitchen.
The Meat category introduced me to my soul mate of a dish, the sugars coaxed from a perfectly cooked loin of lamb caramelized on a searing hot la plancha. First, the lamb’s natural sugars mingled casually with bitter Greek-style yogurt, then it flirted hardcore with salty black olives, and finally decided to take the bitter Treviso home and bang the hell out of it. The lamb went great with a stunning outside-the-box cocktail of a bitter artichoke liquor cynar and orange mixed expertly by bartendrix Catherine Manning.
It isn’t about the farm to table concept at a.kitchen, though there is some of that. It isn’t about the Rittenhouse scene, though there’s certainly some of that. It isn’t about the celebrity chef despite the open kitchen and the lauded Bryan Sikora at center stage. Trey Popp says a.kitchen is refreshingly about the food.
What it mainly wants (or seems to want) is for its food and drink to speak for themselves—though even there, with a voice as quiet as the restaurant is loud. Sikora’s cooking is skillful, from the minimalism of a scallop crudo simply dressed with a red-wine mustard, to more involved preparations like calamari stuffed with (if a bit overwhelmed by) house-made chorizo. Vegetables and fish outshone meat dishes in the summer, when Spain and Italy were the kitchen’s lodestars. The “forest-driven cuisines of Eastern Europe” are on Sikora’s agenda for the fall.
This, of course, began the speculation about who he and partner Aimee Olexy had in mind for the suicide mission honor of being the restaurant’s third exec in four months. People were searching Foobooz’s roster of Sideline Chefs for likely replacements. And here at the home office, we killed a good part of our afternoon proposing various possibilities and conspiracy theories for who would step into the vacancy in Olexy’s kitchen.
At some point, it occurred to us that if we were having so much fun trying to read the minds of Starr and Olexy, you folks might also enjoy the challenge. You might be able to think of some potential replacements that we couldn’t. Hell, you might even know something that we hadn’t yet heard. So we decided to turn it into a game. And yes, there will be prizes.