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StudioKitchen (2008-)


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Yes, there will be regular table seating with a la carte items, like a more conventional restaurant meal. There are also 8 seats along the kitchen counter where a "StudioKitchen" tasting menu will be served.

I'm actually most excited by that duality: of course the tasting menus at the old StudioKitchen were amazing, and I look forward to sitting at that counter sometimes, but I also quite like the idea of getting food cooked with that same sensibility, but in a more casual context. One can't really eat multi-course StudioKitchen meals every day. Trust me, I tried.

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz


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  • 3 weeks later...

So, no, I don't have anything actually concrete to report, but some photos might help you better understand why I'm pretty excited, and pretty convinced that Speck's opening can't be too far down the road...




The good news is that Speck will retain much of the appeal of the original StudioKitchen, perhaps even improving upon it in some ways. The main part of the restaurant will have an a la carte menu, from which one can choose one's own array of starters, soups, salads and main courses, as one would do at any contemporary restaurant. But within Speck, StudioKitchen lives on. There are eight seats along a counter that overlooks the open kitchen. At that counter, a wide-ranging tasting menu will be served, featuring the kind of creative and innovative cooking that StudioKitchen was and is all about. A quick scan through the StudioKitchen blog will give you a sense of the kinds of techniques and ingredients one is likely to encounter.

Personally, I'm looking forward to both aspects. On one hand, it will be great to be able to have the StudioKitchen experience without having to wrangle an entire table full of companions, or find an open date in the first place.

But I'm also looking forward to the less-intense Speck dining: just sitting at a table and ordering a few items from the menu. I haven't seen the final version of it, but some early prototypes were very appealing, featuring a wide variety of items that ranged form casual snacks to formal entrées. It will surely be a very different thing than the sequence of polished jewels that is a Studio Kitchen tasting menu, but the ingredients and techniques share the same aesthetic, and the overall style should be familiar.

More pix and blather on my blog: Speckulation>>

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz


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Not that I'm trying to cut, but who's quote is that one, Jeff?

I've had enough Shola meals to know that, unless he steps on his whatever, he will serve magnifgcent food.

I know that he has it for 8 or 10 or 12. Lesse if he has it for every day, every group, every request. 85% is my passing grade. The stoneys wandering from the hip neighborhood don't count.

Charlie, the Main Line Mummer

We must eat; we should eat well.

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Nice write-up in "Speckulation." The kitchen looks impressive.

Any idea what has been holding things up? It seems like the space has been ready for a while.

Way back when, getting ready to open my restaurant, I put a sign on the door with the opening date and then kept crossing the last date out, adding things like "definitely next week," "positively by the weekend," "next Monday, guaranteed," with maybe a total of seven or eight new dates courtesy of my contractor and the city bureaucracy. It was a fun opening gimmick, and got us a pre-opening write-up in the Inquirer.

Though such an approach is far too crass for Shola, a bit of public communication on anticipated opening date(s) would be the savvy move. So much of Studio Kitchen has been his interaction with his guests. For a while, through his blog, we were right there with him step by step as Speck progressed. The Q&A Shola ran a few months back was great. But for the past few months, just silence, made more frustrating because, other than the occasional morsel from Phil, there is a sense of being totally shut out from a project we felt part of.

Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."



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Oh, right, good point Mummer: that was kind of grandiose of me - I was quoting myself!

And Holly, I honestly don't know what the delay is at this point. As you had experienced years ago, I know at various times there have been contractor delays, slow permitting, etc. but I don't know what's holding things up right at the moment.

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz


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Another twist from the elusive Speck. For now, at least, the last three posts to the Studio Kitchen Blog, two on Speck, are no more. The post pointed to above, which hopefully returns soon, was a humorous jaunt through the unique frustrations that arise upon pursuing the perfect restaurant kitchen.

Edited by Holly Moore (log)

Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."



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Shola - Life's a bitch & it will kick you in the ass whenever it can. Add Phila - gonna kick you again, and again, and again.

Regardless, lookin' forward to your opening (whenever) and best wishes for your turn for kickin' some ass!

Mummer Charlie

Charlie, the Main Line Mummer

We must eat; we should eat well.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Shola is doing another Q & A on StudioKitchen and Speck on his StudioKitchen blog. I have kicked things off with a few questions. Everyone is welcome to jump in with their question(s) by leaving a comment on the blog post at any time over the next few days.

Shola will begin answering the questions on Wednesday.

Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."



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  • 1 month later...
  • 1 month later...

I was lucky enough to be able to attend the Ideas in Food and Studiokitchen collaboration dinner 4. It was an epic meal with some fabulous wines. Even Shola and Alex said this was one of the most ambitious menu they undertook and from the menu you will see why.


We had guests from NYC, NJ and Ohio, along with a few old faces...I mean regulars. We enjoyed some fabulous wines, thanks for my fellow diners (names withheld to protect the innocent).

Of-course Shola has much better pictures which hopefully he will post soon on his blog here. Unfortunately, I am pressed for time so will not be able to go into detail on each course.

We then enjoyed Bluecoat Watermelon Gimlets as an Amuse Bouche.

Powdered Lovage-Vanilla Ice Cream

steelhead trout roe, celery-jalapeno relish

2006 Clos de la Coulée de Serrant

Made with liquid nitrogen. The Lovage though powerful was subdued by the cold temp, which allowed the salinity of the roe to come through.



Torn Scallops

kimchi, coriander-kosho yogurt, asian pear pickles

1996 Krug Brut Champagne

The kimchi could have easily overpowered any ordinary sparkling wine, but the Krug's immense structure gave it a good fight and stood up to it.


Morel Mushroom Custard

asparagus, sesame dressing

2006 Morey-Blanc Saint-Aubin 1er Cru

This dish incorporated hot and cold temperatures as well as soft/silky and crispy textures. The morel custard was just amazing.


Onion-Lobster Soup

grilled cheddar cheese

2001 Domaine Truchot-Martin Clos de la Roche Vieilles Vignes

This was not your Momma's grill cheese - it's complex flavor imparted by artisan aged Vermont cheddar. The Lobster-onion soup was over the top, jam packed with umami. I need to make this soon.



King Trumpet Mushroom

speck, grapers, garlic-miso

2001 Domaine Dujac Clos de la Roche




Broken Foie Gras

cucumber, smoked worcestershire sauce, honey

Ardbeg Single Malt Scotch

2001 Santa Barbara Winery Sauvignon Blanc Late Harvest Lafond Vineyard

The single malt scotch was an interesting paring as it brought out the smokiness, but I think I still prefer a slightly sweet or off dry wine with my foie.


Carrot Stew

xo sauce, onsen egg, (puffed octopus)

2000 Pico Cesare Barbaresco



Sea Urchin Rigatoni

seaweed butter, duck confit, sea urchin bottarga

2005 Louis Latour Aloxe-Corton


Country Pate

picholine olives, BBQ potato chip gnocchi

2001 Arrowood Syrah Le Beau Melange

The pork from Country Time (who also supplies Verti with his pigs) and most flavorful fat (from another high end supplier who's name currently escapes me) was just magnificent.



Blackened Hiramasa

rhubarb-harrisa, escabeche vinaigrette

2005 Chablis (unfortunately, I did not capture the producer)


Lamb Belly

peas and parsnips, chorizo-soffrito,

1995 Château La Mission Haut-Brion


The Bordeaux was a great match for this dish and made for some very happy fellow diners.



Skirt Steak

roasted grape jus, pine nut praline, Benton’s bacon

1999 Domaine Jean Deydier et Fils Châteauneuf-du-Pape Les Clefs d'Or



Another great pairing, even though I was starting to hit the wall by this point.

In case you are wondering why this skirt steak looks so thick, it is because it consists of 2 skirt steaks glued together with Activa.

St. Agur

strawberries, purslane, sauternes saturated raisins

2001 Château Guiraud 1er Cru



Drunken Milk Jam Ice Cream

shaved chocolate chip cookies


French Toast

citrus marmalade, lemon-brie ice cream

1996 René Renou Bonnezeaux Cuvée Anne

The pain perdue had a nice toast on the outside but incredibly light and fluffy on the inside. Wonder how they did that.


After nearly 5 hours of enjoying 16 courses, I was ready to enter my food coma.

Shola and Alex, you did it again - congratulations !!

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:blink: Whoa! Holy Crap Batman! That looks like a Death Row meal to me. Good God how did you all get up from table afterward?? Did they provide wheelbarrows? Sorry I missed this. The wines alone were worth crawling for miles over broken glass on my belly. Fabulous. Looks like a good time...

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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Extraordinary! The food being great was a given, but those pairings are incredible. Wish I was there (that was the case even before the wines).

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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