Is it taking advantage, in the negative sense, to repeatedly take advantage of a good thing when it’s generously and openly offered? I’m sure an argument can be made for either side. Either way, it’s hard for me to pass up the Sunday prix fixe special – three courses for $30 – at Marigold Kitchen. I’ve done it before and I’ll probably do it again.
On this occasion, it was the combination of old friends and a parting chef that drew me there. It was the eve of New Year’s Eve as well as of our friends S&S’s return to Monterey and I was pretty sure they’d dig the place. Additionally, it was the eve of Chef Michael Solomonov’s last night at the head of Marigold’s Kitchen and I was craving an ultimate sampling from his uniquely Israeli inflected menu.
Our decision-making was made pleasurable by the arrival of a simple, spoonful-sized amuse bouche of beets, almonds and dill. The interplay between the earthy, slightly sweet beets, toasty ground almonds and subtly herbaceous dill got our taste buds into gear. A basket of warm, crusty rolls accompanied by a dish of green olives and fruity oil took the edge off our hunger while we waited for first courses to arrive.
Sweetbreads with Crispy Chicken Skin and Tehina
Pork Loin with Glazed Carrots and Crispy Lentils
Selection of Five Artisanal Cheeses
Tasting of Granny Smith Apples
When next I visit Marigold Kitchen, its stoves will be firing along under the auspices of new chef Erin O’Shea, who took over the helm following New Year’s after spending two years as sous chef to Solomonov. Given that Michael was obviously enjoying his penultimate night, spending time visiting the regulars who were populating most of the tables, I’m certain that Ms. O’Shea was responsible for the production of much of our meal. This bodes well, without question, for the future quality of the restaurant under her direction. Her menu will depart from Solomonov’s Israeli influences in favor of a contemporary spin on southern American cookery.
Chef Solomonov, meanwhile, is now officially off to get things started at his latest restaurant-to-be, Zahav, where he plans, completely and more traditionally, to unfurl the Israeli culinary flag. You can follow the tribulations of Zahav’s construction and design on Michael Klein’s micro-blog, The Making of Zahav. Here’s wishing all the best of luck to both Michael and Erin in their new ventures.
501 S. 45th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
BYOB: Wines at Marigold Kitchen