Rittenhouse Tavern Blooms in Philly’s Art Alliance

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Dining in the garden at Rittenhouse Tavern

Rittenhouse Tavern is the latest restaurant to claim the gracious dining space in the stunning Philadelphia Art Alliance, a mixed used art and event space built on Rittenhouse Square in 1906 as the historic Wetherill mansion.   Besides the chance to dine in the newly landscaped secret garden, reason enough to pay a visit, the Tavern dishes creative and gorgeously composed modern cuisine from chef Nicholas Elmi, formerly of Le Bec-Fin.  Chef Nick, working with consulting chef Ed Brown of Restaurant Associates, pays homage to his classical French roots while bringing seasonal sensibilities to every plate, starting with spring asparagus with wild ramps and preserved lemon and a paired rhubarb reduction with English peas and seared dayboat scallops.   Sassy bar snacks deconstruct a deviled egg over scrapple and hop to with frog legs crisped atop a watercress smear and a dab of Philly cream cheese.   The fried chicken Sunday supper is served family style for $18 per person, including sides and buttermilk biscuits.  For dessert, the brown butter cake with lavender crème fraiche sorbet is a must.  A tidy menu of craft beer, artisinal cocktails (love the Betsy Ross with gin and St. Germain) and a well balanced wine list offered by the glass, bottle and quartino, round out the menu.  While chef Nick was certainly adept at classic French cuisine, he’s having fun here, and the change is delicious.

Beet salad as art from chef Nicholas Elmi