You’re quite the dish, Homemade Pierogies at Adsum. How are you enjoying your eight month reign as one of the restaurant's top sellers?
It’s really an honor just to appear on the same menu as Foie Gras and Grilled Octopus. I’m a comfort food: a quick ’n’ easy, Mom-meal that Chef Matt Levin has elevated to the highest standards. He knew he wanted me on the menu from the start, though he didn’t intend for me to stick around this long.
How can a rough ’n’ tumble dumplin’ like yourself hang with the more refined?
I might be a simple, Eastern European recipe, but Levin says he uses the same care and technique as he would with anything. And he isn’t even Polish!
That’s impressive. Now, let’s find out who you are. What are you made of?
Levin uses a sour cream and butter dough and, for my filling, he boils Yukon potatoes in milk with roasted garlic, adding cream, butter and then finely pureeing. I’m sauteed to order and topped with burnt, heavily caramelized Spanish onions and hit with fresh thyme. Here’s where I’m really pampered: Levin smokes buttermilk with maple sugar and hickory then gets fancy with the ISI siphon, filling it with one part heavy cream and one part smoked buttermilk and charging it with nitrous oxide to whip the buttermilk into a mousse-like consistency.
Not to incite a food fight, but what are your thoughts on all the attention Tastykake has been getting at Adsum?
Let me just say that Tastykake is a Philadelphia institution and I’m not going to mess with that.
Would you consider collaborating with Kandy Kake like Adsum’s hamburgers have?
Look, if Kandy Kake and Burger want to hook up, that’s no skin off my onions. I’d like to quote Levin here: “Just ’cause it’s a pierogi doesn’t mean it shouldn’t get its day in the spotlight.” And I don’t need a damn Krimpet to do it.
Adsum, 700 S. Fifth St. 267.888.7002. adsumrestaurant.com
Dinner with Luke Palladino