Via Locusta, the small-ish 1723 Locust affair squeezed between Prime Rib and Parc is more about elegance and experimentation than it is the big ‘abondanza.’
About a year ago this month, chef-owner Michael Schulson and his wife-partner Nina Tinari went into the Italian cuisine biz on a grand scale and a South Philly red gravy flare with Giuseppe & Sons. Giuseppe & Sons is great, still great, as I was there but several weeks ago. Big meatballs. Rigatoni for days. So what’s with that same pair, along with fellow chef-partner Jeff Michaud, opening an intimate pasta palace, Via Locusta, just last night? Did Giusep’ run out of spaghetti?
Yes, and no. While Giuseppe & Sons is a familial experience of down-home flavors, attitudes and share plates, the small-ish 1723 Locust affair squeezed between Prime Rib and Parc is more about elegance and experimentation than it is the big ‘abondanza.’
Then again, Schulson, Tinari and Michaud have an agnolotti filled with porcini mushrooms and black truffle that they insist you eat with your hands.
Calling it a pasta lab gives the tile-and-reclaimed-wood-filled Via Locusta the feel of a testing ground for amazing, daily new tastes and experiences in the word of bucatini, fazzoletti, ricatoni, garganello and paccheri. It even has what they’re calling a “Pasta room,” a private, lofted space with a view overlooking the main dining room, its 40 seats, and bar with seating for 10.
Less you think Via Locusta is all starch and pasta, there is everything from focaccia – made in-house with fresh cheese and fermented sausage – to small and large plates of sharable swordfish, salt-roasted chicken, dry-aged strip steak and more.