The Tastemakers: A.Kitchen

a.kitchen, at AKA Rittenhouse Square, is AKA's first full-service restaurant, opened in 2011. Larry Korman, AKA's president, wanted a place for our residents to enjoy, and had a vision that the restaurant needed to be part of the fabric of the city, with soul, authenticity, and quality.

a.kitchen was designed by New York-based architect Edward Asfour, of Asfour Guzy Architects. The carefully planned, intimate space, with a Scandanavian aesthetic is made of timeless, natural materials, including oak and marble, quarried in Vermont. In nice weather the full facade of a.kitchen opens to the sidewalk, integrating the space into the activity of the city.

a.kitchen was one of the first restaurants in Philadelphia to focus an extensive wine list on so-called 'natural' wines. These are wines made by dedicated vignerons who farm their own grapes either organically or biodynamically, and then craft the wines with native yeasts and limited amounts of sulfur. In short, these are wines made with minimal chemical or technological interventions. To serve our red wines by the glass at proper cellar temps, we created a custom wine shelf, which is actually an open refrigerator, as part of the back bar in order to both display and cool these wines.

The chef at a.kitchen is Eli Collins, whose cooking style is his updated take on soulful rustic French cuisine. Collins, who spent several years learning with Frenchman Daniel Boulud in New York City, before heading to Philadelphia, makes certain that seasonality is at the heart of the dishes.