Laurel, Philadelphia, 5/19/21

exterior

Laurel is an American restaurant with French influences. They have 2 rooms, one of which housed a large bar and the other the well-spaced tables and opening to the kitchen. There was also patio dining available. The bare wood tables are set with armless chairs in a room with lowered lighting and wood floors. Assorted rock music is in the background but sound panels on the ceiling help keep the noise level down. They offer only a surprise tasting menu and had one addition offered that evening- a 3oz Japanese A5 Wagyu beef for $75 designed to be split. The wine list was limited but they do offer pairings and limited bar service. We added the supplement and opted for the pairings (which turned out to be pretty small pours). Portion control and pacing of the menu were great. Chef de Cuisine that evening was Alex Beninato and the menu changes seasonally.

The Facility

interior
bar side
interior
QR code for wine list
Frankie and the table flower and candle
outdoor seating
exterior

 

Starters

We started with one of their cocktails, “A State of Mind” made with duck fat-washed bourbon, sage and bay leaf. It was good and satisfying.

Frankie with the cocktail

 

An amuse bouche was made with Meyer lemon, sea buckthorn and powdered milk. The center ball in the amuse was soft and squishy and was contained in a crisp dehydrated carrot. It was good.

amuse bouche

 

Tasting Menu

The menu began with kombu cured Fluke, pickled green elderberries, white strawberries, buttermilk and sea fennel. Some basil was also in the mix at some point. This dish had a very mild flavor profile but with pleasant tastes and textures, it had a very nice effect. The pairing for this course was a spritz of gin, hibiscus, elderflower and lime.

Kombu cured fluke, pickled green elderberries, white strawberries, buttermilk, sea fennel
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Frankie and the spritz of gin, hibiscus, elderflower and lime pairing

 

Second Course

Bowfin caviar, egg L’Arpege, maple egg mousse and sourdough brioche was a homage to the egg served at Arpege in Paris. The maple flavor gave it the similarity to the unique feature in that egg. The delicious caviar topped the creamy sweet custard underneath. It was very good. The brioche was a real star here, perfectly toasted in butter on all sides of the two rectangles. Delicious.

Bowfin caviar, egg L’Arpgege, Maple egg mousse, sourdough brioche
closer caviar
inside
closer bioche
Helpful and friendly server Jane and Frankie

 

Third Course

Land and sea snails were served with parsley root, cauliflower mushroom and ramps. The Burgandy snails were imported and mixed with the whelks. The long dark sticks are the parsley root and it was crisp which paired well with the chewy snails. Lots of garlic made this one fun but still a low flavor profile. All blended well and was nicely seasoned but nothing popped.

Land and sea snail, parsley root, cauliflower mushroom, ramps
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Fourth Course

Brown butter cod was served with English peas, white asparagus and miso. This was a dish of spring and a flavor profile that jumped off the plate with its wonderful smell. The butter-poached cod from New Hampshire was moist and perfectly cooked. It was covered with the white asparagus. Good textures here too.

Brown butter cod, English peas, white asparagus, miso
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Frankie studied the flatware

 

Fifth Course

Primal Supply pork, smoked malted barley, rhubarb, spring onion, knotweed and wild watercress made up the next dish. The pork was nicely rare and juicy with just a hint of smoke. The grilled onion bits were another terrific component. A great plate.

Primal Supply pork, smoked malted barley, rhubarb, spring onion, knotweed, wild watercress
closer

 

Supplemental Course

The A5 Wagyu was as expected, delicious. The slices of “beef butter” were tender and totally juicy. Alongside were twice-baked potatoes that were a great accompaniment for this outstanding beef. Truth told I could have eaten the plate myself – it was that good.

Japanese A5 Wagyu and twice baked potatoes
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Sixth Course

Pennsylvania Paw Paw was mixed with blood orange granite, white chocolate mousse and citrus for dessert. On the bottom was the white chocolate pudding topped with citrus ice. The thick gooey custard and orange ice, with a bit of dehydrated lime, were a good mix of flavors and textures. A good one.

Pennsylvania Paw paw, blood orange granité, white chocolate mousse, citrus
closer

 

Finish

The meal finished with a plum wine gummy that was filled with wine. They were fun and actually looked like little bears.

gummy bears
Chef de Cuisine Alex Beninato and Frankie

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