For his next act, Michael Schulson has headed to Rittenhouse Square with the pasta-focused Via Locusta. It’s at 1723 Locust St., between Parc and the Prime Rib, and across from Curtis Institute of Music — hence the name, a direct translation of “Locust Street.”
The bar-restaurant, opening Tuesday, Dec. 17 for dinner, pairs Schulson and wife Nina Tinari with chef Jeff Michaud, also their partner at Osteria in North Philadelphia. (The couple and Michaud, who has been Osteria’s chef since its 2007 opening under Marc Vetri, bought the restaurant early last year from Urban Outfitters.)
Michaud, executive chef Ed Pinello, and crew are doing handmade pastas — 10 to 12 available at a time — in a room that overlooks the 40-seat dining room and 10-seat bar through a window. The pasta room doubles as a private dining room at night.
The menu’s dozen pastas include fusilli with crab, sofrito, and chive; bucatini with leek, Montasio, and black pepper; and pappardelle with pork ragu bianco and thyme. Shared plates included salt-roasted half-chicken and dry-aged strip steak. Lots of small plates, such as snapper crudo and scallop crudo: You have to try the sweet onion filled with a mixture of black bread, toma cheese, and pork sausage, and a season-appropriate cabbage stewed with Parmigiano brodo and sliced apple. Bar menu is here.
Designer Home Studios, which worked with Schulson and Tinari on Giuseppe & Sons, set it up with moody lighting and subway-tiled walls that provide a happy energy. It’s not a huge restaurant, in terms of seating, but its high ceiling suggests grandeur.
Next up for Schulson, Tinari, and Michaud is a project on Camden’s waterfront due in 2020.