While we might have to wait another few weeks for the city’s farmers’ markets to start popping up around town, the city’s chefs have already gotten their hands on hauls of fresh spring produce. Working with a new set of ingredients after a long winter is the kind of thing that gets chefs excited, especially after a dragging winter season. Here’s a look at a trio of spring menus that take full advantage of the flavors of the season.
With fish flown in from Tokyo’s Tsukiji Market and not exactly native ingredients like wasabi, sushi isn’t the first cuisine that comes to mind when thinking about eating seasonally. Over at Morimoto, head chef Benjamin Dayag is embracing the concept of seasonality with a new tasting menu. The eight course omakase embraces springtime, a season where even the fish are a little fattier (and tastier), and in-season produce with dishes like Wagyu beef with maitakes and veal jus.
Brigantessa chef Julia Robinson has chosen the changing seasons as the ideal time to overhaul the menu at this Passyunk Avenue wood-fired fare specialist. Two new additions are the unofficial surf and turf of spring: lobster crudo with fennel, basil and salmon roe and a Wagyu ribeye that’s seared on a lava rock and served alongside charred spring onions and long hot peppers.
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The menu at Palladino’s on Passyunk reads like a farmers’ market shopping list with a grilled spring salad of favas and fava leaves, pea shoots, zucchini, fennel and little gem lettuces tossed in a lemon and mint vinaigrette but the real showstopper of the spring dishes is a sharable bistecca alla fiorentina i.e. a monster t-bone served over a bed of ciambotta napoletana, a melange of slow-braised vegetables kicked up with capers and basil.