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Shola at Blackfish/Dress Code

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I just made my res. for the Shola dinner at Blackfish next month, but was just curious of the dress code. Seems like an upscale casual place, just making sure.

There are 2 2-tops left for the night, one at 5:15 and one at 9:15. Should be alot of fun.

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  1. Blackfish is comparable to a lot of upscale BYOs in the city as far as atmosphere, whatever you would wear to Matyson, Bistro 7, or Marigold Kitchen is fine.

    I can't believe there are still seats available.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Buckethead

      Thanks. I couldn't either, I just found out last night, and went on opentable today. It is a special dinner in a couple ways, obviously because Shola is cooking and secondly because it is 4 courses for $55. A very good deal in comparison to the usual 100+ his dinners usually go for. The menu isn't out yet, and StudioKitchen blog has gone to invite only. So this thing is a complete mystery, and it might be better that way.

    2. Dress code is reasonably casual, as Buckethead states.
      I am also astonished that there are any seats left. At $65, it is less than half the normal charge. A meal of this caliber for the aforementioned amount is as close to a fine food freebie as anyone is likely to see.

      2 Replies
      1. re: RocketJSquirrel

        What date is the dinner and how do I book it?

        1. re: lillotis

          It's Monday, March 9th, you can reserve by calling Blackfish or on Opentable. The 5:15 and 9:15 seatings are still available according to Opentable, but I'd call Blackfish just to be sure.

      2. Actually just managed to score a reservation for two at 6:30. Used OpenTable and then confirmed it with them on the phone. Said they would have the menu most likely the week before, if anyone else is going to be thinking/planning wine pairings to bring.

        I'm very psyched, as this will be my first chance to taste Shola's cooking for myself.

        1. How did you find out about the dinner? Is Shola doing other dinners in the area? Does anyone have a contact for Shola? Thanks

          1 Reply
          1. re: joluvscards

            The dinner was announced on Phoodie, as far as I know it's the only one on the horizon.

          2. any idea what is on the menu?

            11 Replies
            1. re: wajima01

              From the Studiokitchen facebook group:

              Chantenay Carrot Soup
              Miso-Applesauce
              Aromatic Milk
              Vadouvan

              Hiramasa
              Spicy Yuzu Glaze
              Peanut-Cauliflower
              Sea Beans
              Curry Leaf Brown Butter

              Veal Breast and Sausage
              Celeriac-Apple Puree
              Black Trumpet Mushrooms
              Hazelnut-Sherry Jus

              Goat’s Milk Yoghurt Sorbet
              Berries . Elderflower Jelly
              Yoghurt Powder

              1. re: Buckethead

                I can't begin to say how excited I am about this.

                1. re: Buckethead

                  Looking over the menu, I am curious as to how the Hiramasa is going to be prepared. Isn't it typically a raw application? Yet, one would think with brown butter and sea beans, it would be cooked. That should be interesting.

                  1. re: Gorp512

                    I've never had it cooked, only raw in sushi and ceviche. With a 'spicy yuzu glaze', maybe this will be something like ceviche? Spicy+citrus+raw fish=good in my experience. The cauliflower, beans, and brown butter may be a separate element. I have no idea. Dessert looks interesting.

                  2. re: Buckethead

                    Nice.

                    So, can anyone help a gal figure out what might be a good wine (or at most two) to bring, pairingwise? I'll be there with one friend (who has to drive, therefore won't be drinking too much) so would like to plan on bringing something nice along, but am not going to go for a different bottle per course or anything like that.

                    1. re: sockii

                      I would like to know that too if there are any wine experts in the house. I plan on just bringing one bottle, definitely a white so as not to overshadow the food but beyond that I have no idea.

                      1. re: Buckethead

                        3rd - there are 4 of us - so we may want to bring 2.

                      2. re: sockii

                        A dry or off dry Reisling would work for the first 2 courses for sure - probably even all three. My suggestion tho would be to take the menu to Moore Bros and let them pair it for you - they have worked with Shola before for dinners in West Phila. Since there is sherry in the veal jus you could get a nice dry sherry and that would work thru dessert too. Other than that I am having a hard time off the top of my head with a pairing

                        1. re: Bigley9

                          Yeah, can see the dry Reisling suggestion, thanks! I have one or two faves in that regard I may go for (don't have easy access to Moore Bros myself, unfortunately, so it's what I can find at ye olde PLCB or in my wine "cellar" already...)

                          1. re: sockii

                            Ok, I am going to jump into the wine circle. I am not anywhere near an avid wine drinker, too expensive for my already tapped student budget, but I do know I am not a fan of dry wines. Is there anything sweeter that would match well with the entire meal?

                            1. re: Gorp512

                              get an off-dry reisling. In Reisling speak "off dry" is sweet-ish. Reislings run from Dry (not anywhere near as dry as other whites described as dry) to quite sweet. On the riesling label, "troken" means dry, "auslese" means it is sweeter, there are Haf-trokens - you guessed it Half dry. There are lots of other terms but these are the most common and will get you started. Good luck!

                  3. I did some looking around online and found that there are a good bit of recipes that sear or poach Hiramasa. For those more familiar with Shola's food, what would you think he is going to do here?

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Gorp512

                      Per the Chef on the Hiramasa preparation...
                      "Cooked as per normal fish cookery, medium rare in the center."

                      The dry Riesling is a good suggestion but those who are familiar with Shola's food know that it can be tricky to pair wines just based on the menu description and your (or my mere mortal's) perception of that the dish might taste like.

                      Hedge your bets and come with a few bottles of white and red (nothing too overpowering) and you can enjoying pairing the dinner on the fly.

                      1. re: percyn

                        Since its Philadelphia Beer week, I am curious what beer suggestions folks might have to pair with the menu.

                        CD

                    2. Just got back from Blackfish for an early dinner.

                      First the restaurant itself : small, quaint, and comfortable. I could see how this place could get very uncomfortable if it is crowded, but it wasn't while we were there, so it was fine.

                      Second, the service. Loved the service. They were always there with extra bread, water and anything we needed. And they might have the cutest hostess I have ever seen and she wasn't a plastic SRO employee.

                      Lastly, the food :

                      Chantenay Carrot Soup
                      Miso-Applesauce
                      Aromatic Milk
                      Vadouvan
                      _________________________________________________________________
                      I am addicted to carrot soup, and this one was very good. The aromatic milk was particularly enjoyable and the vadouvan was nice. Not too strong. The apples seemed to have been poached, and they were very well executed. In reality, this probably would have worked better as an amuse than a first course, but it was awesome nonetheless.

                      Hiramasa
                      Spicy Yuzu Glaze
                      Peanut-Cauliflower
                      Sea Beans
                      Curry Leaf Brown Butter
                      ____________________________________________________________
                      Dish of the night. The fish was perfectly cooked and the Peanut/Cauliflower puree was amazing. With the brown butter, it just was perfection. Not too fishy, yet it kept the integrity of the fish. Did I mention this was amazing?

                      Veal Breast and Sausage Ravioli
                      Celeriac-Apple Puree
                      Black Trumpet Mushrooms
                      Hazelnut-Sherry Jus
                      __________________________________________________________________
                      More polished execution here. The ravioli was filled with sausage that was very, very tasty. The celeriac-apple puree just tied the entire thing together. The trumpet mushrooms were good, but didn't add as much to the dish as you would think. The jus on the plate was earthy and delicious. The second best dish after the fish.

                      Goat’s Milk Yoghurt Sorbet
                      Berries . Elderflower Jelly
                      Yoghurt Powder
                      ________________________________________________________________
                      I could eat a gallon of this. It was tart/sweet/fresh. The berries dusted with the yoghurt powder were divine. I wish this was bigger, like the size of a 10 gallon fish tank.

                      Overall, a very good meal. I kind of wish it was bigger, but it was a decent size. Shola came out at the end and talked to us a bit. He really is a very nice man, and he said he should have his own small , very small, place in town soon. Now this is just speculation on my part, but how amazing would it be if Shola moved into the old Django? That would rock. It was a great experience and I am looking forward to eating Shola's food again. I am happy for the experience.

                      8 Replies
                      1. re: Gorp512

                        I really enjoyed the carrot soup, which had the sweetness of super-fresh carrot juice, just spiced enough to make it interesting.

                        Oddly enough, the fish was the only dish that didn't "wow" me, personally. I didn't detect anything "spicy" on the plate, though I will say the peanut-cauliflower was delicious and I could have eaten a huge bowl just of that. I really enjoyed the veal breast as I love that strong, earthy flavor, though my dining companion found it a bit rich for her taste (she favored the fish, so there you go).

                        The dessert was amazing, for something which I wasn't expecting to be all that out of the ordinary for the description. That yoghurt powder is like crack.

                        1. re: sockii

                          I meant to note that about the fish. I didn't get any spice either. But the fact that it was cooked perfectly, combined with that peanut-cauliflower, sealed the deal for me.

                        2. re: Gorp512

                          Dessert was my favorite part of the meal, although from your descriptions it sounds like mine was plated wrong: the yogurt powder on mine had been sprinkled on the plate first, ending up underneath the other elements. It also was really stuck to the plate, so it was hard to get it re-integrated. I can imagine that it would have been much better sprinkled over the fruit and sorbet, rather than the plate. The sorbet was good enough on its own though.

                          My favorite savory course was the fish, the peanut-cauliflower puree was great, and my fish was perfectly cooked, though my wife's was a little more medium than medium-rare. The brown butter was perfect. Did the sea beans make it into the dish? Were they the strands underneath the fish? I noticed the menu I posted was not exactly what we got, the veal dish for example had sweetbreads on it, and I don't think there was any elderflower jelly in the dessert.

                          The veal dish had elements that I really liked, but overall I felt that there were one or two too many things going on on the plate, it was nearly impossible to get a bite incorporating every element, and even when I did I felt like the veal was the weak link. The sweetbreads were really great, as was the ravioli and the celeriac puree.

                          He told us that he was planning to do another dinner at Blackfish next month, and that it would be announced on the Studiokitchen facebook group, so if you're on facebook just search for 'studiokitchen'.

                          1. re: Buckethead

                            2nd - loved the fish. I really liked my meal, but didn't LOVE it. I think I am not a huge fan of the food science movement. ie: the foam on my carrot soup did not seem to add anything to the dish.

                            1. re: saturninus

                              I've been to three of these dinners now and this one, while I enjoyed it quite a bit, was my least favorite of the three, so if this was your first experience with Shola's cooking I would say you haven't seen his best work. Of course, the previous two meals were among the best meals I've ever had, so my expectations were very high, and this one was a bit less expensive than the other two.

                              1. re: Buckethead

                                I expected that. I also rarely saw Shola in the kitchen during this event...

                              2. re: saturninus

                                I thought the foam on the soup made the entire dish. It was very aromatic and smooth. I thought the apples didn't really add to the dish, but they were good nonetheless.

                              3. re: Buckethead

                                I don't think the sea beans made it to the plate. And I agree about the veal. So THAT'S what was on top of the veal? Sweetbreads? If you told me that was lobster, I would have believed you. Good to know that he is doing another Blackfish dinner next month. I would love to go again. I wouldn't be surprised to see this being a testing ground for the dishes he would like to offer in his restaurant, but then again, being that Shola is super seasonal, I probably am wrong. Shola also mentioned that there would be another blog up soon, as in this week or next week. Anyone have any news on that?

                            2. My pics of the four courses:

                              http://photos-h.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-...

                              http://photos-a.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-...

                              http://photos-b.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-...

                              http://photos-c.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-...

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: sockii

                                my fish had no salad or any greens on it. It was just the celery underneath. Did that add to the dish?

                                1. re: Gorp512

                                  I can't say that the sprouts had any strong flavor to them, mostly just adding that slight bit of raw texture to the dish more than taste.

                                  It sounds like there were some plating issues then between one diner and the next. Were you there early in the evening or later? We were seated abut 6:15...

                                  1. re: sockii

                                    I was the first table seated for service. Got there about 530. Were you towards the back corner of the room? I was at a table in the window.

                                    1. re: Gorp512

                                      I was along the wall on the side away from the books/mirror, about halfway through the front room (wearing a purple top).

                                      1. re: sockii

                                        I can't seem to remember. Either way, we were there at he same time and got different plates. I still really liked it, but am curious about those greens.