Last night I had the honor of making my second trip to studiokitchen and as always, Shola takes your expectations and blows them away. As we are on the younger side of his guests (all in our early 30s, late 20s) our focus is on the food- we bring good wines and pair them to the best of our ability, but look forward to something new from Shola.
Shola, of course, was as excited as we were, helping us with our wines and popping the champagne.
The menu reflected the 2nd day of spring:
Early Season Corn Soufflé, Parmesan & Ginger Broth, and a Truffle Vinaigrette. The soufflé was perfect- just a slight bit crisp on the outside with the desired creaminess on the inside. I usually wouldn't put corn on top of my list- but it could be scary what Shola could do with any soufflé. wow. The parmesan gave you a bit of salt to cut through the corn, and the truffle vinaigrette added a nice touch. Very impressed
2nd Course: Diver Scallop Soup w/ roasted vegetables, miso and hazelnut broth.
This was incredible. I think Shola truly makes the best "light" soups I have ever tasted. Scallops were cooked PERFECTLY- so key to scallops, which are so easy to screw up. The veggies were great but an afterthought, the broth was poured in at the last minute as Shola explained Miso paste shouldn't sit. Broth was so tasty- it is incredible how much better than anything Morimoto has touched this soup was. After the course Shola gave me a bit more with extra hazelnut oil to help me focus on that flavor. The nuttiness contrasts very well to the miso, but may need to be adjusted to the sensitivities of each persons' palate. As you could tell, this was a big winner
3rd Course: Butter Poached lobster, vanilla infused parsnip puree, carrot ginger juice, roasted shellfish oil.
This was in a bowl with the lobster pieces lightly placed over the parsnips which were sitting in the juice. This dish, with the ginger, parsnips, and carrot had shola written all over it. Was very creamy, almost a fall like dish. If I didn't know any better I would think there were pumpkins hidden in there. The shellfish oil was a great topper, and helped the lobster (which was perfectly cooked, of course) stand out. A bit of curry was in the sauce and the color was an amazing bright orange/yellow with orange drops of shellfish oil all around.
Cheese Course- the standard Shola cheese course- ranked in order of my preference:
Roquefort w/ Honey
Selle Sur Cher Blintzes
Epoisse w/ lemon musto oil and a pickled grape.
Each morsel gets so much attention- everybody raves about the Django cheese course- Shola's is about 10 times better
Dessert: Slow Roasted Pineapple, Almond Nougatine, Lemon Buttermilk Sorbet, Vanilla Ginger Broth
The Pineapple marinades for a few days in the pineapple broth and is extremely flavorful. The sorbet and the broth came together perfectly with the fruit to make for a very light and tasty end to a great meal.
Shola is an incredible host and StudioKitchen is easily the best dining experience in Philly that I have encountered. Going again next week and I already can't wait!