Sunday, August 30, 2015

Garces Trading Co. installs a bar, cuts retail

Garces Trading Company - Jose Garces' bistro in the Western Union building at 1111 Locust St. - on Saturday, Sept. 7 will roll out an 18-seat bar, replacing the retail counter that it opened with in February 2010.

Garces Trading Co. installs a bar, cuts retail

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The retail counter (at rear) Garces Trading Company has yielded to a bar.
The retail counter (at rear) Garces Trading Company has yielded to a bar.

Garces Trading Company in the Western Union building at 1111 Locust St. on Saturday, Sept. 7 will roll out an 18-seat bar - in effect converting what had been a hybrid market-cafe into a more conventional restaurant.

The bar, to the left as you walk in, replaces the retail counter that sold cheeses, breads and charcuterie from GTC's opening in February 2010. The shelves along the edge of the dining area will remain with Garces' line of branded coffees and condiments. 

Garces Trading opened as a BYOB with a small LCB-run wine shop at the edge of the dining room. The idea initially was to allow GTC customers to buy a bottle at regular retail and step on over to drink it at the table.

Months after opening, though, GTC applied for a liquor license, in effect allowing it to mark up alcohol and sell it to restaurant customers.

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The wine shop remains, and GTC charges a $15 corkage fee for BYO.

The main restaurant concept and menu are not changing.

The bar will serve its own European-style menu, divided into three categories:

Meatballs, such as Wild Boar Meatballs flavored with piquillo peppers and fresh herbs and topped with spicy tomato stew and Manzanilla olive escabeche; Shrimp and Scallop Meatballs, a variation on the traditional Sole Veronique served with marinated champagne grapes, and a roasted scallop jus; and classic Pork and Beef Meatball flavored with Serrano ham and baked in marinara sauce and sprinkled with grated Parmesan.

House-made mozzarella, served on charred pieces of country bread and served with toppings like fragrant black truffle and pistachios, and creamy burrata-style mozzarella with caramelized roasted eggplant and sprigsof mint.

Antipasti, a selection of marinated and preserved vegetables such as baby artichokes braised in white wine, marinated in preserved lemon, honey and olive oil and tossed with dates and walnuts, and roasted cauliflower marinated in an orange-tarragon vinaigrette and garnished with black garlic pesto and spring onions.

Wines, with bottles available both by the glass and the bottle, will specialize in Bordeaux, Burgundy, Tuscany and Germany as well as eastern Spain’s Montsant and Austria's Wagram.By-the-glass choices will include a dry German riesling from Koehler-Ruprecht and a rose sparkling Cava made from the Trepat grape.

Beers will focus on Belgian and German varietals, such as Ayinger Celebrator and Blanche De Bruxelles, are also available. GTC also will serve European-inspired cocktails based on classic, simple recipes such as the Regent Punch made with cognac, rum, orange juice, lemon juice and sparkling wine and the French martini made with vodka and Lillet.

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About this blog
Michael Klein, the editor/producer of philly.com/Food, writes about the local restaurant scene in his Inquirer column "Table Talk." Have a question? Email it! See his Inquirer work here.

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