Andrew Kochan and Tim Lanza have been coming up with inventive menu items at Marigold Kitchen for five years now, but all of them have been limited by size. The plates served at their West Philly BYOB are tiny, the better to fit into its 12 to 14 course tasting menu.
With their second restaurant, they’ll finally get a chance to showcase their creative combinations in larger form, and we’ve got a first look at three of those dishes.
TALK — an acronym for the duo’s first and last names — is coming soon to 2121 Walnut St., right next to Vernick Food & Drink. It’s a Kochan-owned operation, and Lanza is officially the chef. With a decor fashioned after an early 20th century hotel bar, it was originally supposed to open at the beginning of July. This is the restaurant biz, so there are always delays, but there has been lots of progress. Proof: Menu development is well on its way.
Here’s a preview of three TALK dishes to look forward to when the spot launches later this year (October 1 is the new target).
Have you bought carrots yourself at the supermarket recently? Those rainbow ones, that come in an array of colors? They’ve been stellar, and Lanza recognized that by making them the star of this vegetarian bar snack, which sees them prepared two ways.
Baby carrots slow-roasted in duck fat are paired with beignets — aka super-fluffy donuts — that are also made from carrots. The plate is garnished with housemade creme fraiche for dipping.
Lamb Merguez Wontons
This dish is basically a test of how many cultures’ cuisines can be merged into one and still come out tasting great.
First, they’re wontons, a staple of Chinese cooking. Next, you have the fact that they’re stuffed with lamb merguez sausage and tossed with golden raisins, pine nuts and mint, a combo that’s straight out of the Moroccan textbook. Last, the dish gets a very French finish: Beurre monté (emulsified butter sauce).
This one could almost be thought of as a modern take on Aztec ingredients. Fresh summer corn is made into a succotash, then topped with plump seared scallops. Also on the plate are braised shiitake mushrooms, huitlacoche (also known as Mexican truffle, it’s a rich mushroom that grows on corn), cilantro and watercress.