Props to Andrew and Kristin Wood for making short order of construction on their new BYOB, Russet, which will open Feb. 14 in the 1880s townhouse previously occupied by Ernesto's at 1521 Spruce St. They've gone green with the build-out, using zero-VOC paints, a marmoleum floor, and reclaimed furniture.
A happy vibe surrounds this project, not unlike the early word I recall 10 years ago surrounding a little husband-and-wife BYOB off South Street called Django. (See my November post for background.)
The Woods will do a daily-changing, seasonally driven menu primarily sourced from farms and local purveyors within 100 miles. Andrew, who worked at Fork after a turn at the Michelin-starred Terra and Quince (and previous engagements at James and Maia), is a fan of whole-animal butchery and traditional cooking; she is a pastry chef with an eye and nose for cheeses (she was a cheesemonger for Dean & Deluca and a longtime pastry chef at James). Supposedly Misty Meadow Acres in Lancaster County is raising Tamworth-Old Spot blend pigs exclusively for him.
Sample dinner items (entrees $20-$28): Roasted Bull’s Blood Beets with soft-boiled farm egg, nasturtium leaves, and Banyuls vinegar; Local Guinea Hen, roasted with hubbard squash and double-smoked bacon; Brook Trout, seared and stuffed with organic maiitake mushrooms and salsa verde; handmade pastas; and charcuterie.
Sample brunch (entrees $12-$15): Homemade Honey-Cheese Danish; Buckwheat Flour Crêpes with farm eggs, Penn noble cheddar, and house-smoked ham; Sausage Wrapped in Brioche with mustard sauce and mâche; and Baked Apple Pancake with cinnamon crème fraîche and cider syrup.
They also will offer outdoor seating area by summer, and plan to offer "date nights" to couples by sectioning off the private dining space into an area for children who, under a nanny's care, can frolic while Mom and Dad dine next door. They have a 4-year-old son, Gus.
Russet will serve dinner Tuesday through Sunday, and weekend brunch. Lunch, three days a week, will be added shortly after opening.