Hot Potato Cafe in Fishtown reopened Saturday night after three days of screaming matches with Gordon Ramsay as the chef redid the place for Fox's Kitchen Nightmares. Staff, cowed by Fox's nondisclosure policy, is not talking about anything. If this experience was like others, the producers employed the element of surprise as well as sleep deprivation to ensure that owners' nerves were frayed.
We'll have to wait till after baseball season to see the Fishtown v. Scotland showdown. And the Hot Potato folks are not too happy about the prospect of having "after" photos taken now, given the agreement. Ramsay's people added a waiting area with upholstered banquettes and cushions, a plain black counter, hanging lights covered in potato sacks and some cube-shaped shelving up front that holds potato-theme knickknacks. Walls are painted brown, and chain-mail panels separate the waiting area and kitchen from the dining room. The overall look is inviting, though the workmanship and materials seem to be marginal.
The old menu was all over the map, with odd pricing and few potato dishes.
Below is the new menu, which has five varieties of loaded potatoes and two kinds of potato salad, plus interesting entrees -- chorizo hash? potato rosti with smoked salmon? -- all priced $15 and under. The butter cake remains, as does shepherd's pie (though I can't tell if the recipes are unchanged).