Had a really excellent meal last night at the freshly opened Helm, a BYOB a block north of Girard on 5th. There isn't much out there yet because they are so new, but this was definitely one of the most inventive and inspired meals I've had at any BYOB in the city. The menu focuses on local/seasonal with a modern american preparation, and knowing the chefs came up from Fork and Stateside makes perfect sense.
Each dish was artfully and beautifully plated and priced quite affordably for the experience. Menu is small and large plates, four of us split 4 small, 3 large, and 2 desserts for $128 pre tip and left full. We probably could have gotten away with 3 small, 3 large and 1 dessert depending on the specific dishes.
Everything we had was very good to excellent, no real weak dishes and all very interesting preparations/combinations
Rhode Island Squid, Fennel, Preserved Lemon - Great dish. Thinly sliced squid rings super tender yet full of smoky flavor. The fennel was a sliced bulb meltingly tender, then seared off
Leeks, Tewksbury cheese, Yogurt - Buttery tender leek spears on top of a flavorful yogurt spread. Simple but tasty.
Bloody Butcher Polenta, Stracciatella, Broccoli Rabe - Great dish but a much more mild flavor compared to the other 3. Bowl full of super light and soft polenta colored with beet juice (no detectable beet flavor) with the wilted greens and melted chunks of the stracciatella cheese. This would be a good one to eat first due to the delicate flavor and before the melted cheese cools and starts to firm up.
Sweet Potato, Mussels, Pistachio - A half of a regular sweet potato and half of a blue (?) sweet potato, these are the stars of the dish, poached then seared off with a sauce underneath. The mussels (shelled) are more garnish along with the pistachios. Surprisingly tasty for a dish that seems like 'just' 2 potatoes.
Skirt Steak, Potato, Jalapeno - I'm not usually one to order steak off a menu but this was really stellar. Super tender skirt steak over a jalapeno chimichurri-like spread, served with a potato pave that was just delicious. Dish was a bit spicy, but was noted by our server when we ordered
Pork, Buckwheat Noodles, Shitake - Similar to the polenta, this dish was more delicate in flavor compared to our other 2 large plates and consequently was outshined, but still a really nice dish. Juicy white meat in an intensely porky broth and buckwheat noodles.
Brussles Sprouts, Spring Onion - Another amazing dish that does not seem like much on the menu. Small pasta purses filled with buttery breadcrumby sprout mixture, mixed with baby brussels sprouts and cheese (curds?). Really great dish.
Chocolate Mousse, Buckwheat crumble, Sunchoke - Didn't love this one as much as the next dessert, was interesting but the (savory) sunchoke crisps did not make sense to me in the dish
Grapefruit, Tonka Bean, Chantilly - really nice buttery cookie type cake with grapefruit supremes, citrus curd, and chantilly with just a note of a flavor I couldn't place until the server reminded us of the tonka bean.
Reservations recommended; Saturday night every table was full, though when I logged onto OpenTable to book the night before, there were open slots for a 4 top across the board.