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Mandoline closing (but good news...)

From Craig LaBan's weekly chat. I'm bummed I never got there...guess i'll have to try the new digs:

Craig: Well, on further research, Trisha, I'm sorry to report your suspicions are true. I just got off the phone with chef/owner, Todd Lean, who informed me that yes, this will be Mandoline's last Saturday night. Lean cited 'landlord issues' and the impending arrival of a second child with wife, Carrie, for the big change. The good news, though, is that he plans to transfer much of Mandoline's menu to his new gig as executive chef at Deuce, the gastropub in Northern Liberties. He starts Tuesday.

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  1. I'm very sorry to hear that. I live around the corner from Mandoline, and I'll miss Todd and the rest of the folks there. Not to mention the wonderful food, which I wish I could have enjoyed even more of.

    Deuce isn't too far away, though, so I'll definitely be revisiting now. I hope he revives some of his lunch items, too.

    1 Reply
    1. re: gina

      oooh, that's good news for me!!
      i love the sunday night open mic at deuce but struggle with their meat-heavy menu. hopefully the new chef brings some fresh ideas (and veggies) to the table.

    2. I saw this and immediately made a reservation for Saturday as I have a gift certificate to use. Are there any can't miss dishes here?

      3 Replies
      1. re: Dib

        If you like goat cheese, you must get the goat cheese appetizer. I once read a review that said it was too much for one person to eat. Don't believe it. I LOVE goat cheese and can easily eat the entire thing. Last time, I had the goat cheese and got one to go for dinner the next night. I'm so sad to hear about the closing. Moved to Tampa and found out about the closing when I called to make a reservation for an upcoming October visit. Wonder if he'll serve the goat cheese at Deuce.

        1. re: ncfoodgal

          Thanks, ncfoodgal. Had goat cheese and veal ravioli apps, and the pork chop entree. The apps were constructed carefully and utilized bold flavors--the contrasting textures and flavors of crushed pistachio dusting a cylinder of creamy salty goat cheese, dotted with sweet black mission figs and topped with delicate sprouts; the veal ravioli (using pasta striped in spinach) in the richness of brown butter with the sweet currants and salty chorizo bits. I liked how the currants and chorizo appeared identical, so you don't know whether you're going to get a sweet or salty taste, or both.

          However, I wish the pork chop had been on the same level of intensity--seared to a higher degree of caramelization, served with a reduction instead of a jus, something. The bananas were sweet and asparagus was crisp, no surprises there. It was a good dish but at that price point, I expect more. I really liked the apps though. Hope Todd Lean serves them at Deuce, at lower prices.

          1. re: Dib

            hey dib,

            I was there Friday and also got the goat cheese app. and my gf got the pork chop. I agree with both your assessments. After that goast cheese cake, the pork chop fell a little flat. For my entree though, I got the scallops with english pea and marscapone risotto. That was amazing. I am sad to see this place go, but I am sure Todd might do a Mandoline dinner now and again at Deuce, or at least I hope so.

      2. talk about timing, I made a res for Mandoline for Friday about a month ago.

        1. Man, that totally stinks. I loved Mandoline, but saw that it was never that busy and feared this might happen. I just called and was unable to get a reservation before the closing. It's nice that he's going to Deuce, but I don't think the level of cooking at Mandoline will be able to transfer to a bar atmosphere/menu that easily.

          1. Oh no! Nobody seems to stay in that space for long--maybe it has something to do with those dreaded "landlord issues."

            1. Over on foobooz they claim to have "heard a pretty sensational rumor on what is going to replace Mandoline." What do you think it might be?

              2 Replies
              1. re: bagwhat

                A neighborhood butcher shop would be pretty sensational. :)

                1. re: bagwhat

                  I'd guess that Amada will expand into the space, or maybe open a takeout storefront a la Grocery or Pumpkin Market, but that's not exactly 'sensational'.

                2. I went by about 8 pm tonight and the place was packed. In contrast, at a middle of the week meal I had there about a year ago, the place was almost empty. Maybe if some of these folks (myself included) had patronized the place more often, they would not be closing.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Cruz

                    I completely agree. I loved Mandoline, but also cannot wait to see what he does with the Deuce menu. I'm crossing my finger for more vegetarian options, and embrace some more casual options that I can afford to eat more often!

                  2. yes mandoline closed for numerous reasons, mostly due to lack of customer frequency...a shame. This city eats up and tosses out restaurants all to often. Specatular, no, but a very nice restaurant. I can say, with knowing closely, the staff cared very much, and for the record-the sous chef, was responsible for a large part of the menu, but was seldom mentioned. Sad story to a great little place.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: notanova

                      Yes one of the reasons was the lack of customers during Summer. Like most restaurants in the city during Summer it was very slow, but it was not the soul reason for closing. If you want the true answer just ask me and i will tell you. Don't listen to everything you hear. I am not ashamed of telling this board the reason for closing. Yes, Jeff had alot to do with the menu, that is his job. If you would ask anyone they would tell you i proudly tell my customers that Jeff has alot to do with the menu design and cooking. My staff was with me until day one that should tell you something. You will rarely find that in this city and the surrounding area restaurants.

                      1. re: lamando

                        OK, I'll bite -- tell us the true story as to why Mandoline closed.

                    2. Just an update, I walked by Mandoline this morning while going to breakfast and saw that it is still open on Sunday's from 5-9pm only. Not sure why the strange hours, but that's what was written in the window.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: juice

                        Mandoline closed on Sat. Sept 29th. Sorry for not takng down old note on the window.

                        1. re: lamando

                          did the goat cheese cake makes its way to Deuce???

                          1. re: Gorp512

                            Yes, the goat cheese and pistachio cake is on the menu. The new menu launched today. If you go to there website the new menu is posted. Cruz, the real reason that i closed is i lost the pasion of being behind the line cooking on a regular basis. It got to the point where i was working 85-90 hrs a week. Doing the books, specials, ordering and i can go on..... I didn't have the management structure that most restaurants have with the FOH AND BOH. I ran that restaurant from every angle. A year ago X-MAS i lost one of my sous chefs, at 25 she took her own life. That changed me more than anything and i realized how much my family and friends mean to me. I have a 18 month old and a wife who i never saw. I made a promise to my wife the day i signed my lease that if the restaurant interferred with our relationship as a family i would get out. Maybe i am old school but i want to see my son grow up and not see him for 1 hour in the morning and by the time i get home everyone is sleeping. That is not the life i want to live. This new position gives me the chance to get back that groove i once had. Being in the kitchen is where i belong i don't know anything else. I have been in kitchens since i was 12 yrs old. I get to spend more time with my wife and kids, that you can't replace, a restaurant you could.

                            1. re: lamando

                              Wow, I really wish you the best with everything. Like I wrote before, Mandoline was one of my favorites, so it looks like my wife (who loves the goat cheese cake) and I will make our way up to Deuce. Good luck with your family!