February 4, 2012

Sunday Brunch at a.kitchen in Rittenhouse Square

a.kitchen off Rittenhouse Square has been on our brunch to-do list for quite some time. It's not very big and Sunday reservations go fast, but we managed to get seats at the 8-10 person cafe bar recently. Our two bartenders were pleasantly attentive while busy pouring generous mimosas, bloody marys and coffee, but didn't put on any pressure to chase us out quickly.

House-made english muffin, country sausage, fried egg
Craig LaBan raved about a.kitchen's house-made english muffin as "a pedestal for breakfast bliss." I can't argue with that after thoroughly enjoying the restaurant's version of a breakfast sandwich. The muffin is toasty on the outside, fluffy on the inside; the egg fresh and fried to perfection; and the country sausage made with a mix of spices to push the flavor up a notch.

It comes as an open-faced sandwich, but I recommend using your knife and fork because it will get messy. Plus you'll want to soak up all the extra runny yolk with the top half of the delicious muffin, so don't waste any on your fingers or in your napkin.

For $10 it does not disappoint on flavor, but at first glance you may lament that the sandwich looks really small. Not to worry, it has plenty of substance to satisfy your brunch cravings. Plus the side potatoes are too good to pass up, anyway.

Gruyere buns with ham and poached eggs
Bradd ate the "gruyere buns" with poached eggs and country ham ($12). It was good, not great. He commented that the gruyere buns (basically popovers baked with gruyere cheese) were tastier on the inside but the crusty outside made it tough to scoop up the egg. Ham was fine, too, but didn't shine. The english muffin sandwich is a better way to go.

a.kitchen's can't-miss brunch side is the herbed potatoes, sized well to share. They were very crispy but not over-done, and well-seasoned with rosemary and other herbs. Ketchup is available if you ask.

Herbed potatoes
I'd definitely go back to a.kitchen for brunch, especially to try the delightful-sounding french toast with maple ice cream and candied nuts, which just barely lost out to the breakfast sandwich. The current menu has a few alterations from the version on a.kitchen's website as of today, including a cheesesteak omelet with mushrooms and sweet onions that I heard the bartender say was brand new and a huge hit among the staff.

If you're thinking ahead and make a reservation, consider the chef's table to watch the cooks at work. We always enjoy those seats but at a.kitchen they have to be reserved on busy days.

Despite earning three bells from the Inquirer, we've heard underwhelming reviews on a.kitchen's dinner from several friends. Any readers been and have feedback?

Some more pics to make you thirsty...

Bartender is not nearly finished pouring this mimosa. At least another inch of champagne on the way:

Of course I had to try the hot chocolate at a.kitchen. It was average, but what pretty swirls!

135 South 18th Street
Just north of Rittenhouse Square

A.Kitchen on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

Lauren said...

I had dinner there for my birthday in November. It was good, but not as great as I thought it would be based on LaBan's glowing review. My husband and I tried several dishes between the both of us, and it was hit or miss. The lamb dish and spaghetti cacio e pepe were excellent, but some other things (like the scallop dish) and desserts where a bit underwhelming.