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Restaurant Renaissance Redux: Poses and Garces

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Steve Poses, Rick Nichols, Jose Garces

The man who launched the Philadelphia Restaurant renaissance, Steve Poses, was unexpectedly greeted by the man who today represents Philadelphia restaurants to the world, Jose Garces.

They met late this afternoon prior to Poses' presentation as part of the Reading Terminal Market's renovation celebration. That celebration centered around the dedication of the Rick Nichols Room, the new multi-purpose room serving as the keystone of the market's Avenue D renovation program.

It was Nichols, retired food columnist at the Philadelphia Inquirer, who arranged for Garces to make a surprise visit to La Cucina, the kitchen and cooking school located adjacent to the new room. Poses was genuinely surprised by Garces' appearance, who he had never met before.

While Garces may be the face of Philadelphia food these days thanks to his role as one of the Food Networks' Iron Chefs, it was Poses, more than any other single individual (George Perrier included), who is associated with the city's restaurant renaissance in the 1970s through his first restaurant, Frog, and later The Commissary. Poses today concentrates on catering, including the recent Franklin Institute fund-raisers for the Obama reelection campaign.

For his 5 p.m. program today Poses demonstarted an item which made an early appearance on Frog's menu: Siamese Chicken Curry with Broccoli and Peanuts. Poses said it was added after he tasted a similar dish at staff meals prepared the Thai cooks who populated Frog's kitchen; his twist was to use the Thai curry paste to flavor a defiantly un-Thai bechamel sauce. The more than two dozen foodies in the audience had a chance to sample the dish, as well as a watermelon-feta salad he prepared.

The recipe is included in The Frog Commissary Cookbook, which remains a steady seller among cookbooks in the Philadelphia market.

Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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I am still pissed at Steven for first messing with the original Commissary concept and then closing it all down. The original first floor Commissary, before the Commissary Market came to be, is still my favorite Philadelphia restaurant ever. Breakfast especially. A variety of fresh juices, fresh baked croissants, brioche and coffee cakes, the omelette bar, Commissary coffee. Perfect omelettes - nova salmon, dill and chives was my favorite. I remember one brunch dish, chipped beef in a cheddar sorbaise sauce. It was a special place with Shake-Shack like lines and, I'm guessing, a way-too-high labor cost, which led to the its eventual downfall.

Maybe the Commissary was too far ahead of its time. I wonder if Steven misses it as much as I do?

Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."



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