Video Produced by Vanessa C. Rodriguez
Foodable is back in the City of Brotherly Love and today we tell the story of High Street on Market. This restaurant ranks on our Philadelphia’s Top 25 Restaurants list, along with its sister concept, a.kitchen + a.bar. Together they are part of High Street Hospitality Group (HSHG) and our Table 42 host, Paul Barron, sat down with culinary director and semi-finalist for the James Beard Award for “Rising Star Chef” in 2015, Chef Jon Nodler.
High Street is unique and ambitious in the way they run their operations because it offers three different menus at breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
“When we started, we set out to offer three unique meal periods.... While it has its little challenges, it’s great because we are able to hit a much broader audience,” says Chef Nodler, who got his culinary start at a cafe in Madison, Wis., that specialized in coffee and crepes while placing high importance on ingredients.
In this "Table 42" episode, Chef Nodler shows off his skills while demonstrating how to prepare his Angry Crab spaghetti, as well as a guest favorite, the Kennett Square mushrooms dish, which has been part of the menu since High Street on Market first opened.
Dish No. 1: Angry Crab Spaghetti
He begins by building the pan with small amounts of habanero oil for the Arrabbiata-style sauce. Then he adds crab paste, charred scallions, and olive oil. While that’s placed over heat, the spaghetti is placed in boiled water. The cooked spaghetti is later added to the pan and mixed in with the sauce. More crab stock is added to the sauce with a pinch of salt, but only after pan is taken off the heat to prevent a big flare in the kitchen. Don’t forget to add the peekytoe crab meat before tossing the sauce and spaghetti together. Finally, add some fresh lemon juice and then plate this delicious comfort food dish. Chef Nodler likes to top the it off with hoagie bread crumbs, fresh scallions, and bay leaf powder.
Dish No. 2 : Kennett Square Mushrooms
This dish was inspired by and made in dedication to The Mushroom Capital of the World, Kennett Square, and its mushroom population. Chef Nodler and his team really aim to do something special. They begin by frying maitake mushrooms and sunchoke until they are crisp and later season them in salt and porcini mushroom powder. Then they heat up a cream of mushroom soup that they create in-house made of shallots, mushroom, garlic, and mushroom stock. In another pot, a mix of roasted beach, royal trumpet, and chanterelle mushrooms are sautéed in mushroom stock and butter. This mix will then act as a warm vinaigrette for the bitter greens that accompany the plate.
The real magic begins when plating this dish which is somewhat of an art unto itself. Chef Nodler begins by using a charred eggplant purée and dressing the back of the bowl so the mixture acts as a glue once the mushrooms are put in place on the plate. (To create the purée, they burn eggplants as far as they can with brown butter, lemon juice and honey.)
- The sunchokes make a nice foundation once the bitter greens (radicchio, little gem, and mustard greens) are added.
- The bitter greens are then tossed with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and the sautéed mushrooms.
- Glazed mushrooms and salad leaves are then carefully laid unto the plate making sure everything is seen.
- Mushroom “soil” is then added, isolating specific mushrooms in the dish. This “soil” is made of black trumpets, brown butter, salt, and lemon zest.
- The cream of mushroom soup is then poured at the bottom of the bowl to provide a base to the plate.
- Charred red onions are garnished on top of the greens.
- To add depth to the dish, a salted poached egg yoke with olive oil is placed over the cream mushroom soup.
When Barron asked Chef Nodler how do they stay on top of this intricate dish when they are slammed, he replied:
“It comes off from multiple stations and, you know… the way that we work here, we just like everyone to jump where needed. So, our pasta guy knows how to do this dish, the grill guy knows how to do this dish, so everybody kind of pitches in.”
To learn more, watch the full episode!