“features seasonal American food”
One of the most recognized personalities in Philadelphia dining, Aimee Olexy truly understands what hospitality means. Talula's Garden, her inspired Washington Square collaboration with Stephen Starr, counts as more than just a restaurant opening - it also marks a return to the city for the worldly front-of-house veteran, blessed with the ability to send the "fine-dining elite into effusions of breathless adjectives," according to Philadelphia magazine. Olexy grew up in West Chester, Pa., and her early food memories remain vivid as ever. "My parents were pretty hippie," she laughs. "Guitars and gardens and tie-dyes. We ate simply and naturally, picked blueberries and squash and hid in forsythia bushes for fun." As a teenager in the late '80s, she landed her very first restaurant job at Conshohocken's Spring Mill Café, in a jill-of-all- trades role that saw her waiting tables, sweeping floors and even doing a little cooking. It was here that Olexy first uncovered her love of making people happy as well as her fascination with cheese, one of many areas of expertise on display at Talula's Garden. "I loved pronouncing them and sniffing them and making the cheese plates, even then," she recalls.
What really fascinates me about this treasure of a restaurant is its ambiance and flavor. From the customizable cheese plate, the delectable drinks, and the extremely succulent dishes, Talula's Garden does not disappoint.
As a little treat, we got the sweet and savory Rosemary Manchego and the smoky and sweet Vintage Gouda, two cheeses that blended perfectly with the crackers, figs, and peppers that were provided.
For our appetizer (which in itself could have been a full meal) we had the "Focaccia di Recco" - pretty much a flatbread pizza with fennel jam, whipped ricotta, blistered grapes, buffalo taleggio, and truffle honey. We had to save half of the foccacia so we could enjoy our meal!
My wife had the Semolina Cavatelli, a delicious dish made with braised free-range veal, yellow and red cherry tomato confit, garlic, sherry, leeks, and oregano. I had the extremely ample and tasty Juicy Pennsylvania Bone-In Beef Short Rib with crispy new potatoes, tangy feta, watercress, radish, sorrel, and a preserved orange-oregano vinaigrette.
To complement our meals, my wife had The Beekeeper - a spicy moscow mule made with vodka, lime and lots of ginger - while I had The Farmer - a SPICY sweet Watermelon Margarita with jalapeño sauza, fresh lime and salt.
I cannot say enough great things about this place. The service was attentive but not obtrusive. The romantic and rustic setting relaxes even the most jaded traveler. The food...absolutely stunning.
Great job. We definitely will come back when we're back in Philadelphia
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- Sun - Sat: 5:00 pm - 10:00 pm
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