Though the onset of new restaurants shows no sign of slowing, it’s been a number of weeks since we had one come in the farm-to-table variety. But here’s the latest, Russet, which doesn’t seem like it’s just another operation to rest on the local-sustainable-green-thumb-do-gooder trend. It’s slated to open on February 14, in the former home of Ernesto’s 1521 Cafe near 15th and Spruce. The chefs behind Russet, the husband and wife team of Andrew and Kristin Wood, have both been practitioners of the movement since long before it was just another cliche.
Andrew Wood cut his culinary teeth at Northern California’s Michelin-starred Terra and Quince, before coming East for a stint at Fork, where he earned the restaurant further acclaim with his house-cured charcuterie. Kristin worked at Chicago’s Trio under Grant Achatz. Both helped open dearly departed James, where Kristin served as pastry chef for the restaurant’s lifespan.
At Russet, they intend to serve what they describe as “simple and rustic dishes,” made primarily with ingredients sourced from farms located within 100 miles of Philadelphia. While preliminary menu details are slim, we're told that Andrew will continue his practice of whole-animal butchery and traditional cooking techniques to produce such dishes as the aforementioned charcuterie; housemade pastas; brook trout, seared and stuffed with organic maiitake mushrooms and salsa verde; and local Guinea hen, roasted with hubbard squash and double-smoked bacon. For her part, Kristin will turn out an array of desserts including chocolate-ginger tart with candied blood orange; hazelnut-praline mille-feuille with roasted pears and sea salt; Pine nut-olive oil cake with poached sundried cherries and rosemary.