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Talula's Garden or a.kitchen?

Coming in for a visit and have never been to either. Kind bro in law got reservations to both but still torn. Thoughts on one vs the other?

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  1. I like a.kitchen much more but I haven't been to Talula's since the current chef took over.

    1. I also liked a.kitchen better, but also haven't been to Talula's since the new chef arrived. The patio at Talula's is really great though.

      6 Replies
      1. re: Cheesesteak

        The space at a.kitchen is a bit sterile. The food is very good, though small plates. Tallulah's as a space is beautiful, and the outdoor dining area is quite nice. Inside can be a bit noisy. I too have not been back since the new chef has arrived.

        1. re: cwdonald

          I have been to both (and have been to Talulah's since the new chef arrived). I wnet to a.kitchen for brunch. It was good but nothing out of the ordinary sans the homemade english muffin. The space is admittedly pretty tiny there. As far as Talulah's, we went there for dinner in January. It was all pretty good but there seemed to be more focus on presentation over actual taste of most things (like other Starr places), although a few of the dishes were truly very good, including one of the apps and a dessert.

          Both places were decent but not like "I gotta return real soon" IMO...

          1. re: bluehensfan

            Given that both places focus on local ingredients, do you think that because it was the winter you may have had a "less interesting" meal just because there was less for the chefs to play with?

            1. re: cwdonald

              I think it was more of the fact that the chef seemed to be trying to incorporate a lot of different things, such as fresh ingredients, into one dish rather than focusing on how good the end result actually tastes. If memory serves me correct we had an excellent short rib pasta app and some kind of gingerbread dessert served in a small jar that were really excellent. But the chef seemed to struggle with things like the snapper entree we had (a special) which was a bit dry and small for the price. The meal itself was not bad by any stretch of the imagination but just not earth shattering.

              1. re: bluehensfan

                +1, I had an identical experience at TG. IIRC, my app was rosemary pappardelle with veal ragu (excellent), dessert was steamed date pudding in a jar w/goat cheese ice cream (excellent, same thing you got). My entree, roasted leg of lamb, was very mediocre - severely underseasoned and served room temperature. Cheese selection was excellent. The room is beautiful. Service was not bad, but uneven.

                1. re: deprofundis

                  That's right it was a date pudding. It was really good! Funny you mentioned the pasta. Sure enough it was veal and not short rib pasta (the latter I had at Zavino as it turns out). And our cheese was good to. Our server, who lost points for upselling, gained them back for his suggestion that we try the date pudding.

      2. I would go to Talula's, especially if you're looking for something special. The room is stunning, and the service is complete without being stuffy. a.kitchen was also very good, but it doesn't stand out to me as much as Talula's. I also went to a.kitchen at lunch, so it was a different experience. a.kitchen tables are quite small and close together, so also for comfort, I'd go Talula.

        1. I've eaten at both restaurants, and I like a.kitchen far better. For one, the food is simply better- and not overly concerned with adjectives and presentation (everything at TG seemed to require some unnecessary adjective to sell the item-read their menu and you will see what I mean), but I really was not impressed with the taste of the food. And you are on the hook for a very large bill without getting to taste a lot of different things. I loved akitchen because first the food was fantastic, and second because I could try three different things due to smaller size plates. But the atmosphere at TG is very nice.

          1. I've had some great meals in Stephen Starr restaurants. Still, when it's down to a choice btwn a Starr restaurant and a non-Starr restaurant, I usually go non-Starr.

            I liked A Dot Kitchen a lot, btw, but haven't eaten at TG so can't compare the two.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Bob Loblaw

              My one comment is that Talulah's feels like the most un Starr Starr restaurant... I think of it more as Olexey restaurant financed by Starr. All of the others feel formulaic, kitsch, more design than substance... I do not get that feel at all at TG. That said, I really do like the menu at A.Kitchen... small plates while it actually might be more expensive, does allow for a wider variety of flavors. Still for cheese, there are few places better in Philadelphia than TG.

              1. re: cwdonald

                I think I remember reading before Talula's Garden opened that Starr gave Aimee a lot of control over the design of the place.

                1. re: Buckethead

                  Fair enough. Like I said, I haven't been to TG. And I'm not anti-Starr, I just like to also see independent places do well, when they're good.