Everything's coming up Nicholas Elmi: After winning Top Chef this week, the Philadelphia chef has just earned an impressive three bells (out of four) from the Inquirer's Craig LaBan for Laurel, which opened in November. LaBan is impressed with the 22-seat BYOB restaurant, and especially with the food. He calls the ricotta gnocchi "ethereal," the foie gras terrine "beautiful," the Kombu-cured scallops "gorgeous, refreshing, and elegant," and the albacore starter "may be the best raw tuna dish in town."
LaBan does have some concerns, however. He writes that there are not "many great choices at dessert," except "good cheese" and Elmi's Top Chef finale panna cotta. Walu and chicken were both overcooked on certain visits, and quinoa-crusted snails served with trout are deemed "garnish clutter." Nonetheless, it's an overwhelmingly positive review for Elmi and his small South Philly restaurant.