Starting this weekend, the menu format at Rittenhouse newcomer Aldine will see a major shakeup: Chef-owner George Sabatino will nix the pair of tasting menus (one vegetarian, one omnivorous) that were central to the restaurant's opening concept. Beginning on Friday, April 24, the menu will be solely a la carte, divided into three courses.
The new menu will be a mix of totally new spring dishes, a few favorites from the existing weekday a la carte menu (some with tweaks or new seasonal preps), and some popular items cherry-picked from the tasting menus. The restaurant promises that there will still be vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options throughout all parts of the menu, and beverage pairings to be tailored to your selections upon request.
Meanwhile, some of Philly's other culinary stars are going entirely in the other direction. Nick Elmi at Laurel and Pierre Calmels at Bibou are both transitioning their restaurants to a tasting menu-only format beginning in May. While Elmi told us in a previous interview that tasting menus have allowed him more freedom and creativity in his kitchen, Sabatino suggested via press release that Aldine found the tasting menu format somewhat limiting. Finding a menu format that works for a particular restaurant can be a complicated balancing act, as recently illustrated by this "state of the tasting menu in America" report from Eater National.
Here's the full new menu set to debut at Aldine: