He got our attention with Amada. He won our hearts with Tinto. He wowed us with Distrito and Chifa. Apparently on a mission to continually outdo himself, Philadelphia’s own Iron Chef Jose Garces recently opened his latest shrine to good food and drink, Garces Trading Company.
From the start visitors will see that Garces is breaking from the norm with GTC. While his other restaurants blend plushness and personality (the candle-lit banquettes of Tinto’s downstairs room, the hot pink and disco sheen of Distrito), GTC is more quiet confidence. Tin ceilings, solid wood tables and creamy white subway tile set the stage for the food.
The menu has the classic Latin stamp that Garces is known for with a dash of back roads France and country Italian thrown in. Paella shares the table with coq au vin, grilled pizzas with piquillo peppers. Saturday and Sunday mornings, a three-course brunch menu and the chef’s signature coffee go perfectly with a leisurely scan of the paper.
What gives GTC its draw, and its current controversy, though, is it’s wine selection. The restaurant is officially a BYOB, but an on-premises state store allows customers to grab a bottle of wine while waiting for a table; even open it for a pre-dinner drink before they sit down. In a city where liquor licenses are coveted, this arrangement is ideal for guests and envied by restaurateurs.
Experience it yourself at 111 Locust St. from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week. www.garcestradingcompany.com