One of the best foodie experiences in Philly is COOK - a state-of-the-art sixteen-seat classroom where guests enjoy tastings and demonstrations from the city's premier chefs. Want a sneak peak of Chef George Sabatino's Aldine? Want a Chopped-style battle between two of Kevin Sbraga's chefs at his eponymous Sbraga or Fat Ham? COOK has you covered, though at a price.
However, if you're looking for a more traditional, yet relaxed experience showcasing seasonal cooking in Rittenhouse? Check out the sister restaurants - Audrey Claire or Twenty Manning Grill. Though the post is more than a few months late, this past New Year's Eve, the GF and I had a tasting of sorts at the latter.
Dinner started with our server dropping off a bakery bag filled with fresh mini-baguettes, served with a couple of pats of room temp butter. A nice touch.
Formula 46 [$12]
Maker's Mark 46 Bourbon, Carpano Antica sweet vermouth, rhubarb bitters, brandied cherries
I started off the night's drinking with a bourbon-based tipple, which offered clean flavors. The rhubarb bitters added an herbal grapefruit essence, but the real star? The rich bandied cherries, which were a great intermezzo in between sips.
TMG Bellini [$9]
Lunetta prosecco, white peach puree
The GF went with the bellini, prototypically offering light peach flavors amidst the prosecco's dry effervesence.
NYE Prix Fixe [$50 pp]
Herb mascarpone stuffed cremini mushroom
The amuse from the kitchen provided an earthy bite, heightened by the cheese and herbs. The balsamic glaze underneath helped to provide some acidity.
Pan Fried Haloumi Salad
Micro greens, kalamata olives, blood orange, lemon vinaigrette
For the GF's first course proper, she went with the haloumi salad. Admittedly, Zahav's haloumi is better. TMG's iteration seemed a bit disjointed - the microgreens were few and the pan-fried haloumi was a bit greasy. In fact, the cheese lacked seasoning, though the mix of kalamata olives and blood orange offered some much needed salt and acid for each bite.
Butter Roasted Skate Wing
Truffle mashed potatoes, lemon-caper mineure
In contrast, my first course was definitely a hit. Skate is one of my favorite fish to eat and this was well-prepared. Not overdone, it was completely meaty, yet tender and flaky. The fried leek chips offered some textural contrast and the lemon-caper butter sauce offered countervailing acidity to the heft of the truffle mashed potatoes.
Pan Seared Butternut Squash Ravioli
Fresh ricotta, parmigiano-reggiano, caramelized onions, crispy sage brown butter, leek chips
For her main, the GF went with the ravioli. Unfortunately, this was also a miss for her. The pan-searing rendered the ravioli dry and a bit too crisp. The innards fell flat as the caramelized onions and parmigiano-reggiano overpowered the butternut squash and ricotta. This ate more like fried perogis and seemed to be more of an accompaniment than an entree.
Grilled Black Angus Filet Mignon
Rosemary golden Yukon potatoes, truffle cream sauce
Luckily, I went down the meat and potatoes route. Though the steak lacked any amount of char or grill marks on the outside, it was certainly tender and seasoned quite well. The truffle cream sauce lacked any truffle essence, but provided additional beefy heft to each bite. And to be frank, truffle may have adulterated the flavor of the beef. As an accompaniment, the potatoes were nicely tender, yet crisp on the outside.
For dessert, the GF and I received our own plate of homemade dessert samplers. Fresh halved strawberries, an apple muffin, and a peach tart provided a decent end to the meal, in addition to a nicely tart cheesecake and decadent molten lava cake.
Always a nice touch for a NYE menu, TMG offered a complimentary champagne toast to send us on our way out into the night.
Though there were a few misses on our NYE tasting menu, Twenty Manning Grill offers decent flavors. The skate was on point and I'm definitely willing to give TMG another try the next time I'm in the South Rittenhouse area.
Twenty Manning Grill
261 S 20th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103