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pumpkin


mrbigjas
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i don't see the chicken liver appetizer on that menu.  why must everything i love be taken from me?

I don't know how much it'll sooth your broken heart, but the nice thing about those livers is that the recipe is ridiculously easy to reverse engineer. Since I had it at Pumpkin in the fall, I've made it once a month or so.

The other good thing is that since chicken livers are almost cheap as free, you can make a ton and eat the leftovers in sandwiches. Which is amazing.

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  • 1 month later...

FINALLY made it over to Pumpkin with the boyfriend last night (I've been wanting to try it for ages, but our schedules are such that it's hard to make a reservation anywhere). We showed up a little after six and were able to get a table without problem.

It's a cute, VERY small space, but the hostess was nice about making sure our table wasn't too tight of a fit. We decided to start with the grilled romaine salad (basically a wedge of about half a head of romaine grilled and served with a caesar-like dressing), and the pan-roasted black figs with goat cheese. Both were excellent, though I paid for the garlic-heavy dressing on the romaine later on that night :wacko:

For entrees, we both went for the fish. BF had the whole Poconos trout, which was served with pea sprouts (yummy!), cherry tomatoes, and a sherry-based sauce. Excellent, sweet fish, with a nice sauce that didn't overwhelm the trout. I had the cripsy salmon, which was an absolute explosion of flavor and texture. First it came on a bed of spicy pineapple salsa, then it was topped with a cilantro/onion sauce, then it was covered in crisp little sweet potato crisps. Some might have called it overkill, but I thought it was terrific. Not a bit of food was left on either plate!

Somehow we still had room for dessert--BF had the strawberry charlotte with lady fingers. Very light, with some melon-type flavor as well (glad I didn't order it because I'm not a melon fan, but if I was I probably would have loved it.) I had the Chocolat Pot Du Creme, which I declared as the first chocolate dessert I've ever had that I would truly call orgasmic. :wub:

Total bill came to $82 before tip--not bad at all considering how we indulged. If I had any quibbles at all, it would be that the bread we were served before the appetizers was pretty non-descript (and sparse--only one thin slice each). I *might* also say that I felt the slightest touch rushed, but they also had two larger parties that night, and walking in without a reservation I didn't feel like I had that much room to complain anyway.

All in all, I'm thrilled they're in the neighborhood and hope it's a good sign for things to come. I confess I was hesitant to try them for a while because of the bad reviews on the citysearch website, but either they've gotten their act together a lot since then or those reviews were just from some folks with serious axes to grind, for whatever reason.

sockii

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| South Jersey Foodie |

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All in all, I'm thrilled they're in the neighborhood and hope it's a good sign for things to come. I confess I was hesitant to try them for a while because of the bad reviews on the citysearch website, but either they've gotten their act together a lot since then or those reviews were just from some folks with serious axes to grind, for whatever reason.

As someone who has dealt repeatedly with citysearch on the issue of allowing suspect "reviews" written by people with axes to grind, allow me to add a few thoughts on this, especially for Ian, if you are reading this.

If you find yourself questioning the veracity of the poster, click on his/her profile to see how many other restuarants they have reviewed. If your restaurant is the only one lucky enough to have been reviewed by the user, odds are you have been targeted for one reason or another (in my case, it appeared to be because I had the gall to open up a place that charged more than $10 for an entree in University City).

Reversing the posts is far from easy, but it is possible. If you want to know how, I would be happy to share. The one thing you won't get is the satisfaction of confronting your detractors, because they are allowed to remain anonymous while slandering your restaurant and, quite likely, dissuading potential customers from trying your place.

Citysearch is fine for basic info most of the time, although six months of repeated emails still has not resulted in getting my reservations policy correct. As for the user reviews, caveat lector.

owner, Rx

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All in all, I'm thrilled they're in the neighborhood and hope it's a good sign for things to come. I confess I was hesitant to try them for a while because of the bad reviews on the citysearch website, but either they've gotten their act together a lot since then or those reviews were just from some folks with serious axes to grind, for whatever reason.

As someone who has dealt repeatedly with citysearch on the issue of allowing suspect "reviews" written by people with axes to grind, allow me to add a few thoughts on this, especially for Ian, if you are reading this.

If you find yourself questioning the veracity of the poster, click on his/her profile to see how many other restuarants they have reviewed. If your restaurant is the only one lucky enough to have been reviewed by the user, odds are you have been targeted for one reason or another (in my case, it appeared to be because I had the gall to open up a place that charged more than $10 for an entree in University City).

Reversing the posts is far from easy, but it is possible. If you want to know how, I would be happy to share. The one thing you won't get is the satisfaction of confronting your detractors, because they are allowed to remain anonymous while slandering your restaurant and, quite likely, dissuading potential customers from trying your place.

Citysearch is fine for basic info most of the time, although six months of repeated emails still has not resulted in getting my reservations policy correct. As for the user reviews, caveat lector.

Not to comingle threads but if the same malarkey truly happened to Rx in citysearch, then I wouldnt even bother looking there (I personally never have). As an unbiased gulleteer, I thought Rx was terrific, Greg, and so have many on this board. I also seriously question a "scathing" review of pumpkin. If its not your thing fine - but downright awful reviews? cumon..... I didnt like Django and Vetri but they also dont deserve "bad reviews" - they just werent my style.

Evan

Dough can sense fear.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Went back last night and brought my parents and this time it was nowhere near the same experience as last.

Two of us had the veal sirloin with porcini and pasta sarda which I thought was excellent. Two had lamb steak with artichoke tomato and couscous. Both were unhappy with it. There was no spark in it and certainly no interesting flavor.

The soft shell for appetizer was very artfully pan seared although the sweet and sour sauce was just sugar. The grilled quail - which I tasted and liked - was not well received. Extreme smokiness in the eggplant ragout beneath that was not hinted on the menu. I liked the flavor but it was overpowering with smoke hues.

Goat cheese and roasted figs appetizer was delicious.

Desserts did not look thrilling and so we opted to hit capogiro for gelato instead - GOOD CHOICE!

Although maybe it was an off day, to me, inconsistency is a kiss of death. In my prior review I had mentioned that the food was cooked well even if it was devoid of extreme creativity. This time it seemed that much of the meal was an attempt at such creativity and it didnt work.

Sorry such a downer report but "it is what it is"......

My parents are insisting next time they go back to Pif and I can't argue......

Evan

Dough can sense fear.

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  • 3 months later...

Well, Evan, let's chalk it to the Differin' O' The Strokes.

I was there last night, and it was a very nice meal indeed: we started with a "pork gratin": pork, cream, and gruyere, baked - relatively simple, kinda overwhelming, but very tasty. The portion was perhaps a little on the large side, it would have benefitted from being reduced and served alongside something tart or crisply vegetal, to offset the ridiculous richness, but I'd have to say it was good. We also had a very good tomato veloute, with croutons, olives and a sharp smokiness that turned out to be.... pimenton ahumado: the stuff is slowly taking over the world.

For entrees, I had the pecan-crusted trout with broccoli rabe and mashed; and we also ordered the mussel app. Both good, the fish extremely well executed, no curveballs, but moist flaky fish in a crisp, slightly crunchy crust, with good rabe and mashed potatoes, with (I think - I may be misremembering) a hint of cheddar, nothing heavyhanded. I didn't need the mustard sauce pooled on the plate, but it was easy enough to take or leave, so I used it sparingly. Not bad, just unnecessary.

The mussels in saffron broth were excellent. I'm not sure exactly what was involved, since I was only able to poach a couple of bread-dunks, but there was enthusiasm across the table.

We skipped dessert for the sake of science: I had a chocolate tasting set up at home, with eight choices at 75% cocoa and above, and a dram of Port for to clobber the first chill of the season.

Nice evening, all in all. The place was barely half-full - so fairly quiet - and the staff was charming. I think the place deserves our continued support. Perhaps not quite at the leading edge of BYOB Culture, but a good, solid value, with foursquare charm and very tasty, honest food.

Edited by Capaneus (log)
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Well, Evan, let's chalk it to the Differin' O' The Strokes.

I was there last night, and it was a very nice meal indeed: we started with a "pork gratin": pork, cream, and gruyere, baked - relatively simple, kinda overwhelming, but very tasty. The portion was perhaps a little on the large side, it would have benefitted from being  reduced and served alongside something tart or crisply vegetal, to offset the ridiculous richness, but I'd have to say it was good. We also had a very good tomato veloute, with croutons, olives and a sharp smokiness that turned out to be.... pimenton ahumado: the stuff is slowly taking over the world.

For entrees, I had the pecan-crusted trout with broccoli rabe and mashed; and we also ordered the mussel app. Both good, the fish extremely well executed, no curveballs, but moist flaky fish in a crisp, slightly crunchy crust, with good rabe and mashed potatoes, with (I think - I may be misremembering) a hint of cheddar, nothing heavyhanded. I didn't need the mustard sauce pooled on the plate, but it was easy enough to take or leave, so I used it sparingly. Not bad, just unnecessary.

The mussels in saffron broth were excellent. I'm not sure exactly what was involved, since I was only able to poach a couple of bread-dunks, but there was enthusiasm across the table.

We skipped dessert for the sake of science: I had a chocolate tasting set up at home, with eight choices at 75% cocoa and above, and a dram of Port for to clobber the first chill of the season.

Nice evening, all in all. The place was barely half-full - so fairly quiet - and the staff was charming.  I think the place deserves our continued support. Perhaps not quite at the leading edge of BYOB Culture, but a good, solid value, with foursquare charm and very tasty, honest food.

I am glad to hear your experience was good. Should it demonstrate cconsistency amongst the gulleteers, I shall return in earnest. Post on dudes.

Evan

Dough can sense fear.

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we went back to pumpkin tonight because they had a table for us at 630 and it's close enough to home and the orchestra to make things real easy.

i started with the mussels that capaneus described up there--in a saffron mustard sauce with leeks. tiny sweet mussels, with sharp mustard playing off earthy saffron. good stuff. my wife had the tomato soup, which was supposed to be served with creamed corn, but a last minute substitution of the olive paste crouton was not uncalled for.

for dinner, a really excellent grilled bronzino with basque sauce--basically roasted reds, onions, paprika, garlic, with a few stalks of broccoli rabe providing a welcome bitter note.

i had the pork gratin for dinner, which was as capaneus described it above. if it were up to me, though, i would find another use for the pork, which was described on the menu as 'milk-braised.' i ended up picking the pork out of the gratin and eating it almost plain; it was nearly falling apart tender and just ridiculously good. stuff it inside a couple of piquillo peppers and give it to me cold for an appetizer and i'll be thrilled.

so anyway, yeah, a nice meal, overall very pleasant, and $55 before tip. i still like the place. i just want them to bring back the chicken liver app.

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Made it to Pumpkin last night for the first time, and was tremendously impressed. Great service, great space, very comfortable and warm.

Started with the tomato bisque served with a crostini topped with tapenade and the PEI mussels in a mustard saffron laced broth. Both were great and I had to use my wife's soup spoon so as not to let any of the sauce go to waste.

Main courses were slices of pork loin with fingerling potatoes, asparagus and a smokey bacon finish. I had the whole Branzino as served in an earlier post with a Basque style sauce. Fish was extremely flavorful and cooked to perfection. Was also offered as a filet for those who want to take the easy way.

Shared the chocolate carmel pot de creme served with a chocolate chip cookie for dessert, and was equally impressed.

Our server was very knowledgeable, personable, and effecient. The meal was perfectly paced, not rushed, not drawn out. We were thankful for that, as it seems more and more we are the victim of the server standing over you with entrees when you are halfway finished with your apps.

Thanks to Ian and Hilary for a very enjoyable and tasty evening!

Previn Inc.

Supplier to Fine Restaurants.

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  • 1 year later...
  • 4 weeks later...

I ventured out into the horrible storm last week with a freshly slipped disc (had to on pain of death) for a meal with a bunch of wine geeks. We had a set menu for a burgundy/california pinot theme which in retrospect is an unfair match up even though the grapes are the same.

I had a really good meal there back in December where there was an umpteen course Barolo dinner and so I decided to return.

Ian and David were very easy to plan with and were particularly interested in making the dinner a success and tried diligently - with success I might add - to pair the courses with the wine flights in advance.

Of note, David Kane - formerly sous chef of Pif has moved here to cook with Ian and his Pif style has come with him. The knock I have had with Pumpkin in the past has been that the flavor combinations that Ian has brought forth have been hit or miss palate wise even though they appeared to my lay eye to have been technically well executed.

We started out with a crab and scallop terrine which was pretty banal. Happily, that was followed by ouef de meurette (?sp) - a burgundian preparation of a poached egg in red wine. That was interesting and fairly tasty. This was quickly upstaged by a perfectly barely cooked pan roasted squab accompanied by a roasted cepe, a dollop of naked risotto. The sauce, labeled only as natural jus, was definitely headier - more like a richer demiglace. We then had a monster portion of pan seared sweetbreads with potato boulanger which consisted of sliced potato, bacon and verjus. The protein was kickass and the potatoes were a distal but solid second. Dessert was a pop fly out into right - some non descript apple crisp.

Overall, this meal restored my faith in Pumpkin again. While the staff was clearly alarmed and even a bit miffed by the number of bottles on the table (a capaneus like 14 bottles for 14 people), the service was pretty good and I would go back again. Granted, this was a special menu but one of the diners ordered a la carte and said he enjoyed his meal.

I personally would pay attention to the menu when ordering and keep it simple rather than pull the trigger on too complicated a plate.

Edited by shacke (log)

Dough can sense fear.

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Crab and Scallop Terrine

gallery_23992_4272_82227.jpg

Oeuf en Meurette

gallery_23992_4272_24364.jpg

Pan-Roasted Squab, Cepe, risotto

gallery_23992_4272_41462.jpg

Sweetbreads

gallery_23992_4272_63647.jpg

Apple Crisp

gallery_23992_4272_39994.jpg

I think I'm in complete agreement with shacke about the dinner, in that the terrine didn't do much for me, the Egg I liked a lot, the Squab was outstanding, the Sweetbreads were very good, and I especially liked the potatoes that accompanied (sweetbreads and potatoes, who knew?) and you know, bacon never hurts... and the Apple crisp was fine, but nothing thrilling.

But all in in all, it was a really great dinner. The food was very good, and there was a crowd of serious wine enthusiasts bringing out some big guns for this event. The dishes did indeed seem to be oriented well toward what we were drinking, which was basically gallons and gallons of Pinot Noir.

Big thanks to shacke for putting this together, and to the Pumpkin crew for the very fine dinner, especially under these circumstances (it can't be easy pounding out 14 identical plates at the same time in that kitchen.) And big thanks to everyone in attendance, I was lucky to partake in some fantastic wines, not the least of which were several from the Inman Family Winery, which has been added to my list of favorite wineries... Thanks especially to Kathleen Inman for her wine, and insight, and braving an especially ugly Philly snowstorm.

That dinner definitely made me want to check Pumpkin out again, and try the regular menu.

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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so the folks from pumpkin have opened a market at 16th & south. they've been working on it for months, and tonight was their second night open. i strongly encourage everyone in the neighborhood -- or really anyone in this part of center city who doesn't feel like cooking -- to check it out asap. the folks running it are really nice, and as they told me tonight, pumpkin has gone beyond the neighborhood restaurant it was originally intended to be, so this is an effort to serve the neighborhood again.

after my one visit, the thing is this: the prepared food they have is like the food you get in a decent neighborhood restaurant, but cheaper because you're buying it by the pound to take home. for instance tonight, they had veal and pork ragu. they had country pate. there was pork belly braised in cider, and a chicken thighs and cumin thing that i don't quite remember. there was broccoli rabe, and celeriac puree and roasted cauliflower and eggplant daube, whatever they meant by that, and there were lentils. there was oxtail terrine. there was chicken (or chicken liver, i can't remember) mousse, and more. it all ranged in price from about $4 to $12 a pound.

so anyway, i picked up enough ragu for a half pound of pasta, and a packed container of the broccoli rabe for about $11. the broccoli rabe was kinda fibrous -- undercooked a little, maybe, or not boiled before sauteeing or something. but it was made with rosemary and possibly some lemon, which was something a little different. the ragu was great, exactly the kind of thing you'd make if you had three hours to braise veal breast and pork shoulder with tomatoes, carrots, garlic, wine, etc. while i was there, i also tasted some of the country pate, which was delicious. i would have bought some, but see my post earlier today about the szechuan tasty house pork belly i had for lunch... you gotta draw the line somewhere. in my original post about pumpkin on this very thread, i think i remarked on the good tuscan chicken liver mousse -- i get the impression dude has a way with mashed up things.

my point is this: i don't know where else in town you can get food like this, to take home. i'll admit that i can't cook to the extent i used to since the boy showed up, so having food that's similar to the stuff i like to make, available to buy a block from my house... whoa.

then there's the market aspect of things. they're still finding their way here (2nd day open, remember), and there's another reason to go: they are looking for feedback from people about what they should be carrying, and we need to tell them what we want. right now they have a limited selection of nice vinegars (red and white wine from martin pouret, also sherry and balsamics that i don't remember) and olive oils. they have saucissons of various varieties. about 10 types of cheeses (parmigiano, a couple of goats, some blue, manchego) cut into small chunks and wrapped up. and then things like nice tuna... and then hellmans mayonnaise, some mustards, crackers, potato chips.... it's a mixture of things.

but they want to know what you want--they want to provide the neighborhood with what it wants. they said that they plan to stock some inexpensive cuts of meat like hanger and flank steaks (and they did go on for a bit about how they'd found a butcher they like when they were talking about their pork belly, although i didn't ask who it was), and that they would be happy to order fish for anyone with a day's notice. we have discussed in this very forum the question of how do you order from who the restaurants order from -- this is a great opportunity to do just that. i'll find out who the butcher is, and who the fish source is, if anyone's interested.

ok i'll find out anyway, no matter who is interested.

anyway, to sum up: pumpkin market is open. people are nice. food is good. everything's cool. get up there. thanks.

Edited by mrbigjas (log)
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Stopped by the market last night I picked up some duck rillette and baby bok choy with garlic. Both were really good — the bok choy was perfectly cooked with lots of slices of browned garlic. The rillette was less rich than pork rillettes that I’ve had, but great nonetheless. They also threw in some cornichons and caperberries. sigh. On a previous visit, we sampled the oxtail terrine, which was fabulous.

As mrbigjas said, they’re really committed to getting feedback from their customers. They’ve recently added some roast meats that you can purchase by the pound and some fresh produce. I’ll probably be stopping by at least once a week.

This is a great place, and a real welcome addition to the neighborhood. GO, GO, GO!

Karen C.

"Oh, suddenly life’s fun, suddenly there’s a reason to get up in the morning – it’s called bacon!" - Sookie St. James

Travelogue: Ten days in Tuscany

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Stopped in to pick up lunch the other day. Nice selection of sandwiches on the blackboard behind the counter. Had the Cuban sandwich which was very good. They have a small alto-shaam that they roast the pork in. Great grainy mustard and equally good pickles made it even better. Highly recommended.

Previn Inc.

Supplier to Fine Restaurants.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 4 weeks later...

i've been back to pumpkin market several times since i posted about it above. and i just want to mention that dude has a way with preserved/processed/cured meats. tonight the piece of meat i took out of the freezer this morning didn't thaw, so i stopped by to see what was in the case. the lamb lasagna didn't really catch my fancy, so i picked up some pork rillettes, some coppa di testa, some lentil salad, and some roasted asparagus. they very kindly hooked us up with some caperberries and pickled onions and gherkins and whatnot for the meats. and they were out of bread to sell, so they gave me half a loaf of sourdough that they had already cut into. and on the asparagus, the highlight of the meal: a morel and beech mushroom vinaigrette. i've mentioned the country pate before, and their oxtail terrine--all really fantastic. all for about $17. really i can't recommend this place enough.

i need him to make some of his spicy chicken liver pate again though, that i had the first time i went to the restaurant. i think i'll ask next time i'm in there.

edited to say: p.s. in their little fridge of produce/cheese/sodas/whatever, they were selling the first ramps i've seen this year. i'd heard they were in but hadn't been back to the terminal since then. kinda pricey, but then again they always are. it's just funny to see something like that in a little neighborhood store.

Edited by mrbigjas (log)
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where exactly IS pumpkin market? I've driven down south street a couple of times, looking for it, but I haven't spotted it yet. I should probably just look for it on foot, but... is it on south? or 16th? next door to pumpkin?

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Not like the country paté needs a fan club, but I am on the list. We've had it twice now, once wrapped with applewood smoked bacon and the second with proscuitto. Preferred the bacon, but the paté itself, was genius both times (the second purchase of a slice a little over an inch think was about $4.75 AND we got the onions and caper berries AND grainy mustard also).

Is country paté , by definition, "less livery" ? Is there liver even in the ingredients? Questions from me, the liver fraidy cat.

On that paté purchase excursion the wonderful chef asked me to taste a sort of potato gratin...that had baked underneath his roasting turkey. the juices/fat from the turk really made his layered potatoe dish extravagant and extraordinary.

I am just about certain we're getting take out next week (long story - we're not cooking at all next week) so I'll report back. I am just glad that we live a block away!

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yeah it has liver in it usually. but it's like a 1:1:1:1 ratio of pork, veal, fat and liver, so it's pretty mildly livery.

if you google pate de campagne recipe you can get a sense of what's going on in there.

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