Restaurant Editor Bill Addison is traveling the country to chronicle what's happening in America's dining scene and to formulate his list of the essential 38 restaurants in America. Follow his progress in this travelogue/review series, The Road to the 38, and check back at the end of the year to find out which restaurants made the cut.
Philadelphia has done right by transplant Eli Kulp. He was chef de cuisine at Manhattan's empire-spawning Torrisi Italian Specialties before being recruited in 2012 by Ellen Yin, who opened Fork in 1997. The restaurant is often credited as sparking the dining boom in Philly's Old City district, but bringing in Kulp and his brainy Italian cooking pushed Fork into the national limelight like never before.
Among across-the-board local accolades, Kulp was also named one of Food & Wine's Best New Chefs 2014 in April. Since his arrival, he and Yin revamped her next-door cafe Fork Etc into High Street on Market, which serves food throughout the day. The duo's newly formed High Street Hospitality Group also overhauled menus this year for A.Kitchen and A.Bar in the AKA Rittenhouse Square hotel.
To explore the cult of Kulp, I started with lunch at High Street and returned the same day for dinner at Fork.