Sunday, September 21, 2014
Inquirer Daily News
Talula's Garden
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Address:
210 W. Washington Sq.
Philadelphia , PA 19106
215-592-7787
Neighborhood: Old City
Parking: Valet: $16
Cuisine type: American
Meals Served: Dinner
Style: Aimee Olexy makes a spirited return to the city with benefactor Stephen Starr, revamping his Washington Square into a breezy garden and airy dining room with a homey touch that feels like Django writ large. Between the lovely setting, organic wines, artisan cheese bar, and personal service, this urban sibling to intimate Talula's Table in Kennett Square has potential for greatness. After some early kitchen shuffles, it has recovered nicely under current chef Sean McPaul, whose seasonal ingredient-driven plates hum with a sensibility that prizes harmony over precious compositions. With a little more consistency, and another season cycle under its belt, one of the city’s most ambitious newcomers should continue to grow.
Specialties: Sturgeon rillettes; celery root soup; beef tortelloni; braised veal with pappardelle; gnocchi with Buffalo Taleggio; tuna appetizer; duck breast; leg of lamb; scallops; winter radishes; braised leeks; mushrooms; cheese platters; ricotta doughnuts; chocolate cremeux; steamed date pudding; cookie plate.
Alcohol: A modest but well-chosen international selection focused on biodynamic and sustainable bottles. The triple-plus markups aren’t great, but there are several good choices around $50 (Ostatu Rioja Alavesa Blanco, $46; Schlosskellerei Gobelsburg grüner veltliner, $53; Eden Stuart Mendocino cab, $52) plus some worthy splurges, including\ amini-Barolo in Eugenio Bocchino’s Langhe Nebbiolo “Roccabella” ($76) and a sweet Italian Pacina vinsanto del Chianti ($14 a glass) that’s fantastic with cheese. There’s a small but good craft beer selection. The cocktails have appealing botanical twists, but lacked some crispness in craftsmanship.
Hours: Dinner Sunday to Thursday, 5 to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, until 11.
Reservations: Recommended
Prices: $$$