Adam: When I saw Eli Kulp's Tweet last week that Ellen Yin's Fork etc would reopen as High Street on Market (308 Market St.) on Tuesday, I made a note on my iPhone calendar. The breads and sandwiches he's been teasing through Instagram and Vine have been invading my dreams; the anticipation was downright tantric. So yesterday I strolled up around 10 in the morning to find High Street quasi-open, with a family-and-friends-type crowd ogling pastries (cannoli danish, whitefish squid-ink bailies) behind glass and sipping Rival Bros. cortados at butcher-block tables with Shaker-style blue chairs.
The breakfast menu hangs on a wall papered in a vintage map of Philly. By Fairmount Park I found the beet-cured salmon sandwich on a long, point-tipped pretzel roll. You know what blows about pretzel rolls? They never taste like pretzels. Not this one. The flavor and texture were on point, so props to High Street's baker, Alex Bois, an import from New York's Sullivan Street Bakery. Waves of velvety gravlax poured down the pretzel, fit together with celery cream cheese, sheer red onion spice and capers. A sweet charred red chile rested on the side of the sandwich, a Neapolitan heirloom from seeds smuggled back from Italy by Yin's boyfriend and planted by Ian Brendle at Green Meadow Farm.
I also unwound the pistachio escargot, which at first I thought actually contained snails because would that really be beyond Kulp's cosmic creative powers? It would not, but the name refers to the spiraling seashell shape of the flaky bronzed pastry, oven-caramelized pistachio paste spread between each turn. More carbs came in a woven basket, slices of Bois' dense cherry-studded buckwheat and chewy, robustly flavored ancient-grain loaf wrapped in a crusty shell, served with sooooper-soft butter and vivid jam. Were the preserves raspberry? Strawberry? Did I detect ginger or kaffir lime? So enamored with High Street, I forgot to ask.
Caroline: Having heard Adam's initial breakfast report I decided to check out the lunch scene. After a quick chat with Eli I ended up ordering lunch for, say, oh, five people.
I started off with a Rival Bros. cortado (excellent) and then made my way through a bread tasting with slices of ancient grains bread, anadama bread with cracked corn, vegetable ash bread with charred leeks and zucchini and buckwheat cherry all served with house-made butter.
Next up was a gorgeous Street Corn salad of grilled romaine, pickled shishitos, blistered tomatoes, queso fresco and spiced, puffed hominy. Think of it as the salad version of Mexican elote. Awesome.
Kulp's pastrami on rye is next level with fatty slices of pastrami served on thick rye with a sharp tang. It's layered with a creamy Russian dressing, cabbage and onion slaw and classic Gulden's mustard.
The Roman-style pizza of the day was topped with mild mozzarella and red and gold teardrop cherry tomatoes and leaves of crisped in the oven basil all on a crust with a wonderful crackle and lovely charred spots.
The Gabagool is Kulp's take on an Italian hoagie and reminded me of the sandwiches served during the day at Torrisi. Kulp and the bread brain trust at High Street have mastered the Italian loaf adding a bit of rice flour for lightness and crunch and topping it off with sesame seeds. Inside the hoagie there are rosy slices of coppa, provolone, pickled peppers and olives and the works i.e. lettuce, tomato, onion and oil and vinegar. Served on a wooden board with a charred chile, it's a damned fine hoagie.
So folks, now that you know what's good (and it'll all good), please do yourself a favor and check it out. They're open Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and weekends from 8 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. Dinner (more intel on that coming very soon) is kicking off in the beginning of October.
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