Rarest opened back in November at the aka Washington Square, located on the quiet corner of Ninth and Chestnut. While the neighborhood itself is a bit sleepy, the food at this soon-to-be hot spot is anything but.
Owner and Executive Chef Anthony Marini appeared on the CNBC show “Restaurant Startup” in 2015 and earned an initial investment from host and restaurateur Joe Bastianich to launch his Rarest concept in Philadelphia — which happens to be Marini’s hometown.
“I won for a concept that was primarily raw preparation — crudo, tartars, ceviches — it was always going to be expanded into a more traditional restaurant,” Marini says.
That being said, the menu offers more than raw dishes. Given the chill in the air, I wanted something really hearty and comforting, so a friend and I ordered the double cut pork chop to share.
Full disclosure: I’ve never been a fan of pork chops but this weekly column is the perfect motivator to try new things. I’ve always found them a bit dry and bone-heavy rather than juicy and meat-heavy. And like I said, it was cold out and I was in the mood for something substantial.
When the double pork chop came out it made quite the entrance — the plate was nearly the size of the table. Aside from getting two large pork chop portions, there was also braised pork belly and chorizo sausage — cuts from three different parts of the pig. An array of root vegetables balanced out the rest of the dish and included kohlrabi greens and a root vegetable gratin made of sweet potatoes, sunchoke, Kennebec potatoes and romanesco (similar to cauliflower).
I know what you’re thinking — this sounds like way too much! But I promise you, it wasn’t. And since we were drinking wine, it filled us up without the need for bread and other appetizers.
In terms of the pork chops themselves, this dish changed my perspective on them forever. Each cut was succulent with a generous amount of meat. I later found out that they’re marinated for 24-48 hours in herbs and olive oil and then sealed in a bag and cooked in warm water for another 18-24 hours using the sous-vide method.
If you’re looking for a meal that’s going to warm you up this winter, head down to Rarest and take advantage of it before it gets too well-known.
Rarest is located at 834 Chestnut St.