I never did get to experience the old Twenty Manning. However, after a complete interior redesign and the introduction of an almost-entirely new, affordable, American bistro menu and a variety of burgers, I had to go. I met with Chef Kiong Banh, who has spent 10 years within these walls, and is excited for some change.
Taking feedback from over the past year, Banh and owner Audrey Claire Taichman re-invented the concept of Twenty Manning from the ground up. Banh invested a lot of time in receiving feedback to create a selection of dishes at a price that would keep customers coming back, adding a bistro feel and a slight modification to the name. Though his background is a mix of Chinese and Vietnamese, Banh’s culinary focus is primarily French and Italian. He’s truly excited about the breath of fresh air that has been introduced to the restaurant and looks forward to serving the neighborhood as a destination with a focus on local, fresh and organic ingredients.
As we’re celebrating National Hamburger Month here at Unbreaded, I decided to go with the flagship (namesake) TMG Burger. Featuring a generously sized half-pound organic patty made from a combination of sirloin, tenderloin and beef chuck cuts, it’s no small sandwich, but a bit sized down from the 9.5oz Bison burger (Twenty Manning’s only burger in its past life). Although the Bison burger did have a good run, it was just a little too big, said Banh. And with the nature of it being sourced from Colorado, it simply doesn’t have a natural fit with the new local flavor of TMG. The TMG Burger is formed from grass-fed and pasture raised local beef. The produce is sourced locally as well: iceberg lettuce, juicy garden tomato and raw purple onion. Naturally, I opted to add the optional Kentucky bacon and Vermont cheddar to my TMG, which sits atop a fluffy bun, designed by Banh and baked at George Perrier’s commissary in Wayne. The accompanying shoestring fries and pure kosher dill pickle round off the experience.
Though the menu is very new, TMG has already set a record of selling an excess of over seventy burgers. Though half of these are the TMG Burger, the remaining Turkey Burger (half-pound patty sourced from pineland farms free range gobblers, goes well with pepperjack cheese), Ahi Tuna Burger (thick slab of tuna with ginger-soy marinade and avocado-wasabi mayo), Veggie Burger (whole lot of local market veggies: onion, mushroom, roasted peppers and even avocado all held together by a white bean puree and some oil) are all strong performers as well.
So, head over to the Rittenhouse Square area and check out the brand new Twenty Manning Grill. Be sure not to miss it; a new bright white facade shines as a beacon, in stark contrast to its old one.