With 20 or so ever-filled seats at Laurel, the acclaimed boutique BYOB on East Passyunk Avenue, the logical question for Top Chef season 11 winner Nick Elmi was: "What next?"
The answer is ITV, a more casual but still polished and similarly intimate bar right next door, at 1615 E. Passyunk Ave.
ITV, which opened July 2, means "In the Valley," a translation of "Passyunk," a Lenape Indian word.
Designer Ed Eimer kept the lights low at this snug, dimly lit cocktail/wine bar, decked out in hand-milled walnut with vertical Edison bulbs as sconces. The marble bar has room for 10. Five can stand by a rail in the front window, and a few can find space on a rail across from the bar. The place to be is a banquette in the rear accommodating 12. There's a table for two back there, too.
French-inspired American menu is mostly flavor-forward appetizers and smaller plates, such as smoked trout served with pumpernickel and trout roe; pork chips with sour cream and wild onion; charred Spanish mackerel, salted rhubarb, and sunchoke milk; and head cheese and baked beans with brown mustard. There's fluke cured in sake lees (or sakekasu) and served with daikon, preserved citrus, and buttermilk.
Old World-style biodynamic wines predominate on the 40-or-so-bottle list, which is expected to grow considerably. The beer list has a few surprises, including Cidre Bouché Brut (a cider), on tap, and Sarasola Sagardoa (a Spanish cider), in bottles. Menu, including wine, beer, and cocktail list, is here.
Happy hour menu is here.
Hours are 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. Tuesday to Saturday, with the kitchen serving to 11.
ITV's liquor license, which covers both restaurants, now allows Laurel to offer a $60-a-person wine pairing (and BYOB is still permitted). Dinner is prix-fixe only, $85 per head.