Christopher Kearse is what you'd call a chef's chef.
The Levittown native worked at some of the best restaurants in America, like Charlie Trotter’s, Tru, Alinea, and French Laundry, after his 2005 graduation from the Restaurant School. He returned to the Philadelphia area as a sous chef at Lacroix and moved on to Blackfish in Conshohocken, followed by 2½ years as the chef de cuisine at Pumpkin. (OK, so he's among the most traveled, too.)
Hard worker, meticulous, cool under fire... Kearse's name is not yet widely known outside the restaurant world. But ask young chefs like his Restaurant School classmate Jason Cichonski, Chip Roman, Jessie Prawlucki, Lee Styer, and Matt Levin who would be in their top-five around town, and all will drop his name.
On Aug. 24, Kearse opens Will, his debut as a chef-owner, at 1911 E. Passyunk Ave. (215-271-7683), next to Tre Scalini.
Kearse, 28, describes the culinary style at the minimalist, 30-seat BYOB as French with "new and modern techniques." Entree prices are in the $20s.
Fellow Pumpkin alumnus Chris Perotti is general manager. They will serve dinner Tuesdays through Sundays from 5:30 to 10 p.m., and brunch on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Every Sunday, Kearse will offer a four-course seasonal prix-fixe menu, and on Tuesdays, he'll showcase one ingredient. They're planning a late-night menu for people in the restaurant business.
Drew Lazor, while at City Paper, wrote a comprehensive piece on Kearse and his amazing recovery from a 2000 auto accident. A passenger in a friend's car that was hit by a drunken driver, Kearse suffered massive damage to his face, requiring doctors to perform a jaw reconstruction. The article is here.
Purple Mustard | Turnip | Petit Leeks | Baby Lettuces 13
Sweet Corn Veloute
King Crab | Vadouvan | Shisito Pepper 11
Summer Market Vegetables
Pickled | Raw | Cooked | Champagne Vinaigrette 12
Barnegat Light Scallop
Wild Fennel | Almond | Heart of Palm | Uni Crème 14
Red Plum | Pistachio | Black Pepper Gastrique | Clover 13
Milk Fed Poulard
Greenmarket Bean Cassoulet | Goat Milk Gnudi | Cipollini Onion 25
Potato Fondant | Ruby Carrots | Foie Gras | Red Wine Béarnaise 27
Rhode Island Skate
Artichoke | Garlic Scapes | Manila Clam 26
Malabar Spinach | Sungold Tomato | Sweet Onion | Lobster Emulsion 27
Slow Roasted Tomato
Golden Quinoa | Black Olive | Eggplant | Zucchini 22
Caramelized White Chocolate Cheesecake
Goat Cheese | Chamomile | White Peach 8
Black Raspberry | Champagne | Yuzu Curd 8
Hazelnut Dacquoise | Malt ice cream | Coffee 8
Vermont Creamery Bijou
Sour Cherry Clafouti | Hibiscus | Celery 9