Upland

19 Feb

We are working on our pre-baby bucket list, and some of the list (who are we kidding??? MOST of the list) includes visiting restaurants that we have been meaning to go to for some time or new restaurants that are getting a lot of good press.

Upland was high on the list after hearing numerous great things. The only reservation I could find was for 5:30 on a Friday, but that worked out perfectly since we had tickets to see an Off Broadway Show later that eve.

Upland is a Stephen Starr restaurant (most famous for his hits in Philly) and is cheffed by Justin Smillie.

The entrance is a beautiful (and slightly eerie… kind of reminded me of organs in jars for some reason) set of shelves with preserved lemons in it.

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The inside echoes the nicely lit decor with the bar and more preserved lemons in the back.

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Here is the menu from the day we visited:

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We started with a lovely loaf of bread.

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We ordered the whole crispy mushroom, which was a hen of the wood mushroom with cloumage + herbs.  This was a beautiful hunk of fungi.  It was totally crisped and a really delicious mushroom on the inside.  But there was one thing that it unabashedly reminded Mike and me of… Pot.

This mushroom tasted like pot.

I don’t know if it was the earthiness or the smokiness, but I was a bit nervous we would leave hungrier than when we arrived.

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We also ordered the burrata with trout caviar, crispy leeks + arbequina olive oil.

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This was so fresh and so flavorful.  The caviar was salty, the burrata creamy, and the leeks crispy. Loved this dish.

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Our next dish was the slow roasted celeriac with black truffle butter and sea salt. See all those light colored shavings in the photo below? That’s truffle butter. And it was insanely good.  The celeriac was all the right richness and the truffle butter was an excellent compliment.

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We then tried the roasted short rib (for two) which, apparently, is one of Chef Smillie’s signature dishes.  It came with castelvetrano olives, walnuts, celery + horseradish.  I love short ribs so much that I actually chose this even though it came with the 2 things I don’t like (celery and horseradish).

This slab of meat was served trimmed from the bone (though still displayed with it) and was the size of a football.

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I enjoyed the meat very much, though I left the celery and horse radish for Mike. I was especially fond of the pairing with walnuts, which was unexpected. I haven’t had a slab of short rib this big, and I have to say I enjoy short ribs slow cooked and smaller, but I can see why this was a signature dish.  Very (black) peppery on top.

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For dessert, I was tempted by the pecan pie, which was delicious. It wasn’t too sweet and it held together perfectly.  A really great end to the meal.

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I was very impressed with Upland. Did I think it was the best restaurant opening of 2014… well… probably not. But it was very enjoyable and I would go back in a heartbeat.  I especially want to try the pastas.

Total Nom Points: 8 out of 10

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