Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Top Chef Brunch-Off

Indulging my new-found celebrity chef stalking obsession, we found ourselves the past couple of weekends near restaurants run by current Top Chef contestants. While brunch is not the ideal meal to judge a restaurant by, these were perhaps our only chances to eat at these places to see how the actual eatery compared to the personality of the contestant.


10 Arts

Trestle On Tenth
New York

Jennifer Carroll
Ash Fulk
Modern American
Swiss Bistro
Top Chef Reputation

She garnered a reputation in the first episode for mispronouncing ceviche. Intense and focused, she is considered one of the front runners.

Skating on the bubble, Ash has a propensity for not quite being able to finish a dish in time.


The restaurant is one side of the lobby of the Ritz Carlton in downtown Philadelphia. The hotel is a repurposed bank with a monstrous lobby full of marble and grandeur. Neon lights have been spread around the lobby to give the place a glowing hipster vibe.

Located on the corner of Tenth Avenue and 24th Street in Chelsea, the brick walls and dark wood gives trestle a warm comfortable feel. A small bar at the entrance gives it neigborhood sense. Doubling the seating area is a garden area out back enclosed by a small fence.


For the novelty of it, I ordered an egg-white spinach omelette with goat cheese. The goat cheese was a perfect match for the lighter taste of the egg-white.

The other dish we got was buttermilk pancakes which were amazingly fluffy and absolutely perfect.

For sides we got both bacon and sausage but either one would have been enough for two people. Of the two, the sausage was much better with a rich maple taste.

The gratinéed pizokel were little schnitzel-like dumplings and the open face pork sandwich had tangy sauerkraut with a thick topping of fontina cheese.

The omelette was billed as goat cheese and herbs. Rather than being in the omelette, the goat cheese was just a light topping on the top. And the definition of herbs included spinach, zucchini, and green beans. The vegetables overpowered the egg.

For dessert, a delicious walnut torte had a thick butter crust was topped with rich ice cream and whipped cream.

Chef Sighting

On a Saturday morning we had no expectations of the chief chef being around. However, there were several signs in the lobby touting Jennifer as a Top Chef 'cheftestant' and promoting their Wednesday viewing parties.

Ash is listed on the show as the restaurants sous chef but none of the owners or chefs are touted anywhere on the menu or the restaurant website.


One of the best breakfasts I have ever had. Everything was cooked to perfection and then some. However, the dining room was nearly empty on a Saturday morning and seemed to be catering to the captive hotel crowd. Unless you are in Philly on business you are unlikely to stumble upon this downtown gem because parking is difficult and expensive.

I imagine the evening scene is much wilder when all the glowing neon plays up the decor.

This neighborhood place has both good food and is located in a great funky New York neigborhood. The people next to us were a professional photographer and his aging hipster friends. By noon the place was full of regulars. If I were a local, I could see myself paying a few bucks more compared to some other brunch places in New York to come back again and again.


DemetriosX said...

WTF is that on the pancakes? Mushrooms? Whatever it is it looks disgusting.

yellojkt said...

Apple slices. And looks aside, they were delicious.

DemetriosX said...

OK, apple slices sound fine. Maybe it's your camera, but they seriously look like mushrooms, which I hate anyway, but would be seriously icky on pancakes.

Anonymous said...

Yellojkt does not know what his spouse had. The items on top of the pancakes are bananas.

yellojkt said...

Thank you for setting me straight, anonymous **cough** mrs yellojkt **cough** commenter.