August 28, 2011

Sunday Tasting Menu at Pumpkin

Pumpkin at 17th and South Streets has been one of those places for us that always looked good, but never quite fit our interests come decision time on where to eat. Finally this summer we teamed up with foodie blogger friends, Two Eat Philly, and gave Pumpkin's Sunday night, $35-per-person, five-course tasting menu a try.

I won't go into much detail about what we ate (see photos below and Two Eat Philly's detailed review for more) because the regular menu at Pumpkin has just a few options and changes constantly. I encourage you not to think of that as limiting, but rather a way to ensure each dish is conceived and served with extreme precision. The menu features all seasonal, local ingredients and if what we ate is any indication, as well as countless diners before us have said in reviews, the chances of your meal being excellent are high.

Given Pumpkin's average prices - $8-$13 for appetizers, $25-$26 for entrees, $8 sides, plus desserts - the Sunday tasting menu is a very good deal. It only offers two options for each course but that made going as a foursome perfect because we just ordered two of everything. As you'll see in the photos, the courses were small but creative and rich with ingredients. It was refreshing to walk away from a five-course meal and not head straight for the TUMS because I was overstuffed.

Pumpkin is a very tiny restaurant, so be sure to get a reservation, especially for Sundays. It is a good place for a date; to bring your mom if she appreciates fresh, artistic meals; or to host a casual-but-mid priced meal with friends. Not ideal for a large or loud group, or really picky eaters given the small menu. Do bring friends that will appreciate the intracacy of Pumpkin's dishes. Being able to chat about the food with our blogger friends made the experience particularly enjoyable.

Pumpkin is also good about putting new menus up on their website so you can get an idea of what you'll be offered ahead of time. And don't forget it's BYOB and cash only: critical information. And casual dress.

Below is what we ate... there were so many little details and flavors in each dish that I can't even remember half, but you'll get the idea.

Gazpacho w/ creme fraiche, cucumber, grapes and pumpernickel crumbs, among other things. Very fresh but not my favorite flavor. I didn't finish my bowl.

Escargot and leeks with a light curry sauce with a "crouton" on top.

Pork belly with white peaches, mustard seed and more. A hit at the table. 

Peanut potatoes, aka a mix of pint-sized potatoes. The purple ones were the best. Overall, better than you'd think a random plate of potatoes could be.

Skate - really light and flaky, my favorite dish.

Duck Confit w/ pinot noir sauce. Melt-in-your-mouth good.

Thick chocolate cake with two types of gelato. Just enough dessert, combined with the panacotta (of which I do not have a decent photo, oops).

1713 South Street
Philadelphia, PA 19146
(215) 545-4448

Pumpkin on Urbanspoon

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