Thursday, June 1, 2017

CO-OP Philly Preview Event

Ideally situated between Drexel and Penn's campuses, The Study is an upscale, boutique hotel concept from developer Paul McGowan. Marketed towards academic professionals, alumni, and parents, this is the second hotel, with the first having opened in 2008 near Yale University (a third is opening up near U. Chicago!). The Study also houses CO-OP, a modern, new American restaurant with Chef Craig Russell at its helm. 

CO-OP is spaciously designed on the ground level of The Study, with plenty of al fresco dining and doors that open out to the street.

I stopped by for a preview tasting and CO-OP's featured cocktails are perfect for easy summer drinking. The Doctor's Order was light, with the undertone of oak and floral notes from the gin and a subtly sweet spiciness from the ginger liqueur. The Weather Report was obviously a favorite - a smooth marriage of bourbon and earl grey syrup, with a nice citrus sweetness from the house orange-vanilla vermouth. 

Clockwise from Top Right: Crudite with Ash Roasted Eggplant Dip | Chicken Liver Mousse, Eggplant Crostini, Maryland Blue Crab Crostini | Potato Bread with Warm Ricotta Dip | Maryland Blue Crab Toast 

If you're looking to stop by for Happy Hour or indulge in a few starters, their crisp, cool crudite is paired with ash-roasted eggplant. The Maryland Blue Crab toast is a crowd-pleaser - its sweetness paired with sprouts and hearty whole-grain toast. The sweet and light potato bread was also easily enjoyed with the accompanying warm ricotta dip. 

Clockwise from Top Right: Blue Crab Fetuccini | Dukkah Spiced Cauiflower | Green Circle Rotisserie Chicken | Mahi Mahi with Couscous and White Asparagus

Chef Russell expertly executed the entrees, with his experience at Will BYOB clearly shining through. The cauliflower was surprisingly substantive and there was wonderful restraint from the dukkah spice that melded well with the pistachio and fennel. The fried cipollini onions helped to provide additional texture and some sweetness to each bite. The rotisserie chicken was moist, juicy, and had crisp, well-seasoned skin. Mahi mahi was gorgeously cooked, atop a bed of couscous, with white asparagus and roe adorning the plate. 

After enjoying some of CO-OP's drinks and dishes, I went on a tour of The Study itself. Relaxed and without pretension, there were numerous small touches that helped to showcase a brand seeking loyalty and trust among their clientele. Postcards were available in case you were seeking to sent a note (to be stamped and mailed by The Study!) and there was art on loan from local museums and galleries as well. If you're looking to book a room during graduation season, I'd reach out now - they're reportedly 75% booked for next year! 

And what better excuse is there to stay at The Study than having the delicious ease of stepping right down to the CO-OP? But even if you're not staying at The Study, I'd pop on in to try what Chef Russell's dishing out. As an aside, Marti from Mac Mart DM'ed me to let me know that she loved their onion rings as well as CO-OP's mac (it comes topped with brisket!). Quite the rec, considering we're talking about the local lady who recently got the nod from QVC

FTC Disclaimer: This preview event was hosted by Hospitality 3 and Philly PR Girl. Regardless, my opinions are mine alone and, therefore, unbiased. 

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