Queens Village saw a new chef rise up this March, at Whetstone Tavern, 700 South 5th Street. Executive Chef Eric Leveillee is bringing his straightforward, welcoming approach to cooking at Whetstone Tavern. Former Chef Jeremy Nolen returns to run the kitchen at their German-inspired sister restaurant, Brauhaus Schmitz. Leveillee is rolling out some creative new menu additions, each one showcasing adventurous takes and updates on fun, modern dishes. He hopes to honor simple techniques and highlight single ingredients to draw on the restaurant’s friendly atmosphere and relaxed vibe.
“We are excited to turn Chef Eric loose at Whetstone Tavern,” says owner Doug Hager. “He has been an integral part of our culinary team since we opened our doors in 2015, and we know he’ll build on the creativity that Chef Jeremy Nolen always brought to the kitchen.”
Chef Leveillee has been a member of the culinary team at Whetstone Tavern since the restaurant first opened in 2015, working as a line cook under Chef Jeremy Nolen. Before opening Whetstone, he spent time in other well-known Philadelphia kitchens, including Vernick (under Chef Greg Vernick) and El Camino Real (under Chef Jen Zavala). When speaking to Chef Leveillee we were impressed to hear that he picked up all his skills while working. He also ended up in the restaurant industry by somewhat of a romantic accident- he took his first restaurant job to get close to a special girl (one whom he is still with today!)
We could not wait to swing by for brunch. With $25 Bottomless Mimosas, this place is totally flying under the radar of the brunch mobs (you heard it here first!) New brunch dishes to the menu include Breakfast Poutine with tater tots, fried cheese curds, bacon gravy, scrapple chips, and sunny side-up egg. Look for a series of Toast, utilizing a rotating lineup of breads from Little Bird Bakery and Philly Style Bagels. Accompanied by unique house-made spreads, including: Earl Grey cream cheese with blueberries, and tomato jam with cured egg yolk. And what would a great brunch be without Chilequiles? Whetstone will serve theirs with guanciale, stracciatella, salsa roja, crispy poached egg and Philly Style bagel chips.
We started off with some of the Kung Pao Chicken Wings with daikon radish slaw which were totally a fun twist on your traditional buffalo style (yes, for you traditionalists they have buffalo sauce too). And obviously the Crispy Cheese Curds with beer-battered Wisconsin cheddar curds, shishito peppers, harissa aioli, and arugula were not to be missed! Add a side of tater tots, because why the hell not?
For our entrees we tried the trendiest new menu item, Churro “coffee roll”. Chef Leveillee is an evil genius twisting these cinnamon-sugar sweets into a whole new breakfast pastry. And you MUST order the Drunken Monkey Pancakes when you’re looking to indulge. We dare to finish these four banana pancakes, layered with Nutella and peanut buttercream, topped with candied bacon, peanuts and bourbon maple syrup. It is the ultimate in salty and sweet.
Whetstone Tavern also has new additions to the dinner menu. Check out the Deviled Rabbit with polenta, egg, charred bread and balsamic raved about in Metro Philly. The BBQ Black Bass, with refried lentils, romesco and fried cornbread or homemade Mushroom and Tallegio Sacchetti, with stewed tomato, roasted and shaved cauliflower. Sacchetti means “beggar’s purse” in Italian; because these pastas are shaped like the small sacks filled like ravioli.
Of course, can’t forget about the new dessert items too! There will be Crème Caramel with tart cherry syrup and pecan Florentine cookie, Carrot Cake Jelly Roll with orange marmalade, beaten cream and candied carrot, and Warm Chocolate Pudding with puffed amaranth and chai. So get on OpenTable and make your reservations soon, Whetstone Tavern is sure to be bumping with crowds checking out the newest plates by Chef Leveillee.