a.kitchen's Mike Fry Makes the Most of Summer Bounty in Philly

Video Produced by Vanessa C. Rodriguez

As the food scene in Philly continues to boom, we decided to make our way to the City of Brotherly Love to visit one of Philadelphia’s Top 25 Restaurants. a.kitchen, located at AKA Rittenhouse Square, boasts an impressive wine program along with its Modern American cuisine.

Mike Fry, sous chef at the High Street Hospitality Group restaurant, talks to us about how a.kitchen makes the most out of its summer bounty.

“We try to make use of preservations techniques, which is another staple of the Pennsylvania Dutch, taking the bounty of the summer, stretching it out throughout the seasons, which is something that has been going on forever in every culture, but Pennsylvania Dutch are especially good at it, as far as canning, preserving, drying, using that to stretch your produce throughout the year,” said Fry.

The menu is constantly changing in accordance with the seasons, however.

“If in December we know that we can not longer get [a] really high-quality tomato or squash, then we take it off the menu and replace it with something that we can get locally that is going to be good in the winter. For instance, root vegetables or something dry or preserved,” Fry added.

In this Table 42 Vignette, Sous Chef Mike Fry demonstrated for us a.kitchen’s signature dish: a seared Long Island duck breast with mushroom ragu, baby summer squash, and a mushroom exodus sauce.

He begins by rendering the duck breast on a pan to achieve a crispy skin with a medium rare center. Then, he seasoned wild mushrooms with olive oil and salt and simply grilled them. Baby summer squash is later sautéed in a pan for a short period of time because it does not require much cooking time. Finally, he creates a ginger and chilies sauce hydrated with duck stock to add depth to the dish before plating it to perfection.