Chef's Blog

November 19, 2017

Goldie Offers a Goldmine of a Concept

from Chef Matthew Fuss

Chef Michael Solomonov has been an inspiration to me and the Philadelphia food scene for over a decade. He has a proven ability to elevate simple dishes like hummus and Laffa bread to iconic status with an almost cult-like following. Instead of researching and following the current trends, Michael and his business partner, Steve Cook, seem to instinctively know where things are going and adjust accordingly. Their organization is one that creates trends rather than follows them.

They currently own and operate several fast casual restaurants across the country. Each concept has a limited, bare bones menu that delivers food with exceptional quality and craftsmanship. When dining at these establishments, there is a clear goal of executional excellence while serving affordable, delicious food! For example, Federal Donuts serves fried chicken, donuts, and coffee. They do three things and they do them perfect! Dizengoff, another concept, offers some of the best hummus on the planet served with warm, fresh baked pita and interesting toppings that change daily.

Their latest creation is Goldie. This is a tiny 2nd floor restaurant located in the middle of Center City, Philadelphia. Goldie is a vegan and Kosher falafel shop. They essentially offer three things: falafel, fries and tehina shakes. Falafel are made and fried to order. They’re served with amazingly fluffy, charred pita and Israeli salad (lettuce, cucumber, tomato, and cabbage) with your choice of sauce. While the falafel are still warm from the fryer, they’re tossed with the salad and sauce, then stuffed in the middle of the pita. All of the sauces are tahina based. Choices are traditional, amba (picked mango), harissa and schug.

Even though this is vegan, I am constantly amazed at how satisfying it is. Along with your sandwich, you can order the hand-cut French fries— served plain or seasoned with shawarma spices or za’atar (each of which pair perfectly with the house-made smoked ketchup). For dessert, it’s hard to fathom that there’s no dairy in their tehina shakes! They offer sesame, Turkish coffee, and usually one rotating flavor such as banana split or mint chocolate chip. They are every bit as creamy and delicious as their dairy-based cousins.

With such limited options, the menu successfully creates a balanced experience of healthy eating and indulgent consideration. Goldie is an excellent representation of what the fast casual restaurant world could look like as more culinary professionals seek out other options outside the white table cloth world of fine dining. Goldie is offering high quality, on trend, amazing food at a reasonable price. With lines out the door, it appears Chef Michael and his partner Steve have hit another home run in the restaurant scene.

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