The food at upcoming BYOB Russet isn't the only facet of the restaurant that's farm-to-table. The furniture itself was also built on the same acreage that's providing chef/owners Andrew and Kristin Wood with their raw ingredients.
"Ian Brendle of Green Meadow Farms actually constructed each and every table in the restaurant. That's real farm to table," said Andrew Wood with a smile. "He also built the front reception podium, and is growing whole animals for us, as well as harvesting vegetables. There's an entire acre of his farm dedicated to our restaurant."
Wood said that the color scheme of the whole restaurant is based on bacon, from the deep reds and browns of muscle, to the taupe and marbled white of the fat in each delicious slice. The reddish-brown shade of Benjamin Moore paint that adorns the wall is actually called Russet, too.
"The menu is going to be mainly whole-animal cooking, and just like veggies, there are seasons for animals," said Wood. "So, in the beginning we will be flush with lamb for a few weeks, then we will rotate in others, like pigs, and of course, veal."
Andrew mentioned that they already have an entire dry-aged cow that Green Meadow raised for them that will be featured in dishes on the opening menu. "His name was Sir Loin," Kristin said.
Wood's local claim to fame was his extensive charcuterie program at Fork in Old City, but said he wasn't going to make that a focus at Russet. "We're going to have some, of course, but it's not going to be a star on the menu," said Wood.
Chef Wood did mention that he's using a traditional form of curing that no one in Philly has attempted yet. "In Friuli, they don't have access to animal casing to make sausages, so they roll the meats into a cornmeal mixture to dry them out. It takes six months to complete the process. We've just started on the first batch, and we'll see how it goes."
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