Why Matt Levin left the Rittenhouse

MGCRAIG10-e
Matthew Levin flash freezes (with nitrogen) a coconut curry foam with citrus gelee inside in the kitchen of Lacroix. (Bonnie Weller / Inquirer)

Chef Matt Levin's last day at the Rittenhouse Hotel was Monday.

The Culinary Institute of America-trained Levin, who succeeded Jean-Marie Lacroix at the fancy Lacroix at the Rittenhouse in 2006, told me he wants to "take the next step in the progression of my career."

That means, he says, opening his own restaurant while "I still have the energy and notoriety." He and his financial backer, whose name he would not spill, are looking at spots in Center City and Northern Liberties.

Concept will be great food "at a price point that even a guy making $10 an hour at TLA Video can afford -- three plates for like $35," he said. "When people think of my name, they don't think of hamburger, but we'll have that and great barbecue ribs."

He's aiming for the vibe to be "fun, hip and buzzy" and is thinking of using a local graffiti artist to do the design.

As first reported on City Paper's "Meal Ticket," chef de cuisine Jason Chichonski will run the restaurant. The hotel, which calls the departure amicable, is looking for his successor.

Continue Reading