’Tis the season for a certain orange fruit — before you get all excited by the name, we need to tell you there’s no pumpkin in any considerable quantity on the menu. Yes, you get a packet of roasted pumpkin seeds at the end of your meal. But we found out that “Pumpkin” is the pet name chefs and owners Ian Moroney and Hillary Bor have for each other.
Aw … so cute!
Luckily for Philly, their menu, as well as the cozy space the restaurant inhabits, is every bit as enduring and endearing as their love for each other, with New American dishes that highlight local produce.
The small plates at Pumpkin have a lot of personality. The chilled corn soup ($12) was surprisingly bright and creamy, with chantilly cream offering a silken feel and finely diced cucumber adding contrasting texture.
The Rhode Island calamari ($16) was buoyed by a healthy portion of marinated vegetables, bringing a fresh but light kick to the dish.
The ricotta gnocchi ($15) had a more rustic feel and presentation, with an aromatic sofrito adding an assertive herbaceous quality to the luxurious creaminess of the pasta.
The entrées were strong as well. The swordfish ($31) was colorful with an eggplant ragout and chorizo, but the fennel salad resting on top had strong bitter notes that slightly overpowered the plate.
We don’t know for sure whether it was a reaction to the wonderful deluge of produce the meal brought to bear at that point, but the Berkshire pork belly ($30), in stark contrast, was literally hog heaven — a smoky, bacon-infused meat-and-potatoes wonderland that was just enough of a juicy indulgence.
Our meal ended on an elegant note with a lovely brown-butter panna cotta ($9), with a slight sweetness that gave the decorative fresh berries and rhubarb room to sing.
It’s obvious that this restaurant has a love affair with local produce, and with fall upon us, Philly restaurant-goers have an excellent opportunity to reap some of what Pumpkin is harvesting.
If you Go
1713 South St.
Tues-Sat.: 5:30-10 p.m.
Sun.: 5-10 p.m.