With matte black walls, brassy jazz music, and gold art deco touches, TALK elicits feelings of the Roaring Twenties. Upon stepping into the space, restaurant diners are transported into the world of Gatsby. The white marble bar particularly resembles a speakeasy of the Jazz Age. Arrive ready for a new American dining experience in a time capsule setting.
Known for his University City restaurant Marigold Kitchen, owner Andrew Kochan, with the help of Chef Tim Lanza, delivers a different experience at TALK, located in Rittenhouse. Through small and large plates, the a la carte menu is ideal for sharing. Each dish—using locally sourced, seasonal ingredients—combines unexpected flavors and evokes a variety of cuisines.
To start, we take the waiter’s recommendations and order the savory éclair, panzanella, Yakitori quail, and crudo. The éclairs come first. These small pastries make up for their size with taste. The sour cherry topping contrasts with the chicken liver filling. Next, we try the quail. Lightly prepared in tare sauce, gooseberry, plum, and garnished with sesame seeds, the plate contains a surprising mix of cultural influences.
Decorated with borage flowers, the watermelon fluke crudo offered a welcomed refreshing contrast to the salt–heavy plates. Last but not least of the small plates, we share the panzanella. You can’t go wrong with tomato, burrata, sourdough croutons and strawberries; combined together, the dish somehow carries a light yet still creamy decadence.
For large plates, we try the zucchini steak, scallops, and black pepper pasta. Reminiscent of ratatouille, the zucchini rests on puttanesca with caper berries, olives, artichokes, and potatoes. In keeping with the innovative entrées, the scallops include touches of southern cooking. Succotash, cornbread, and country ham are accompanied by two barbecue sauces drizzled on the plate. The parmesan pasta incorporates lobster, mushroom, figs, and prosciutto. The sweet figs elevate the classic cacio e pepe dish.
The talking stopped when dessert arrived. We couldn’t eat it fast enough. The chocolate cake we ordered was a generous slice of bittersweet chocolate covered in Thai basil, coconut, and pink peppercorn with whipped cream. The server surprised us with a refreshing lemon semifreddo topped with meringue and mint that complimented the chocolate perfectly. I would go back just for the dessert.
TL;DR: This unique food is for the adventurous. Come prepared to try a variety of interesting flavors worth TALKing about.
Location: 2121 Walnut St.
Sun, Tues – Sat: 4 p.m. – 1 a.m.