Philly is getting yet another pedigreed chef.
Gregory Vernick, who spent most of his career in the Jean-Georges Vongerichten orbit, follows such recent imports as Joshua Lawler of The Farm & Fisherman (ex-Blue Hill at Stone Barns), Walter Abrams of Le Bec-Fin (ex-French Laundry), Andrew Wood of Russet (ex-San Francisco's Quince and Chicago's Tru), Joe Cicala of Le Virtu (ex-Galileo and Cafe Milano in D.C. and Del Posto in New York), and Sylva Senat of Tashan (ex-Jean-Georges, by way of Buddakan)
He's saying "spring," which my calendar says ends in mid-June.
Vernick and his wife, Julie, are going for unfussy comfort and have modeled their restaurant - which has modern "bones," rustic touches and an open kitchen - after Euro cafes they frequented. Large windows open out onto Walnut Street. A 10-seat bar made of slate with stained concrete top and high-top cocktail tables give way to an intimate dining room with partially exposed brick walls and a seven-seat chef's counter. The second-floor dining room has floor-to-ceiling windows and photos from the couple's travels.
The menu will run the table from snacks to sharable family-style entrees, priced $5 to $26. Examples: charred spinach and leek toast; beef tartare with gaufrettes; ocean trout with crispy skin and chili; house-made mozzarella with rhubarb jam and sea salt; hand-cut buckwheat pasta with broccoli rabe, spring garlic and lemon; and a seafood and shellfish roast. Prices will range from $5 to $26. Alcohol prices will be reasonable, and he will make his own soda.