Published on : Thursday, September 25, 2014
With autumn comes falling temperatures, changing leaves and, in Philadelphia, a harvest of new restaurants. In the coming months, diners can enjoy French fare at the FringeArts building, Vietnamese-Italian hoagies, Japanese barbecue and hummus like no other.
Here are just some of the new flavors around town this fall:
Israeli food takes the plate at Michael Solomonov and Steven Cook’s hummusiya Dizengoff. The Center City West quick stop focuses on rotating hummus variations (with ground lamb; with tomato pepper salad and Sephardic slow-cooked egg) served in platters of fresh-baked pita, salads and Israeli-style pickles. 1625 Sansom Street, (215) 867-0088, dizengoffphilly.com
On the heels of opening laid-back Dizengoff (above), Solomonov and Cook debuted Abe Fisher, a sophisticated-feeling bar and restaurant inspired by the foods of the Jewish Diaspora. Located directly next door to Dizengoff and just across the street from Federal Donuts, Abe Fisher completes a trio of dining destinations for CookNSolo on Sansom Street. 1623 Sansom Street, (215) 867-0088,abefisherphilly.com
The tiki bar makes a comeback at Fishtown’s Yachtsman, the latest from Tommy Up of PYT and Emmanuelle fame. As might be expected, the drinkables include tropical concoctions such as the Caribe Welcome (tequila, apricot liqueur, coconut water and coconut cream, served in a coconut) and the Bird of Paradise Fizz (gin, cream soda, raspberry syrup, egg white and orange flower water), with a supporting menu of light snacks to bolster the booze. 1444 Frankford Avenue, (267) 251-3234, yachtsmanbar.com
Peter Woolsey (Bistrot La Minette) begins a second act at La Peg, his new brasserie in the FringeArts headquarters on the waterfront.
The menu favors classic French cuisine with international accents (pho consommé with oxtail ravioli; choucroute garnie with black pudding; and a house sundae with cookie crumble, chocolate shavings and raspberry sauce). Columbus Boulevard & Race Street, (215) 375-7744, lapegbrasserie.com
Dinner is intensely personal at Forcella in Jenkintown, a 14-seat bring-your-own-bottle (BYOB) spot. Open Tuesday through Saturday, the kitchen prepares only a tasting menu (three courses for $45; four courses for $55) featuring such dishes as tortellini filled with roasted squash, toasted seeds and sage brown butter; marsala-braised shrimp with burrata, spicy orange and artichoke; and Grandma’s Meatball with pesto and roasted tomato. 310 Old York Road, Jenkintown, (267) 400-6155
Surrounded by the bounty of the Italian Market, Blue Corn cooks up Mexican fare for a late-night crowd. The served-until-2:00 a.m. menu covers classics such as huaraches, flautas and tacos, plus specialty cocktails (sangrias, martinis and frozen margaritas) to keep the party going.
Between Two Slices:
Its name proceeds its cookery–Blue Duck Sandwich Company won the 2014 Burger Brawl before it even opened the doors at its Northeast Philly headquarters. The modern strip mall BYOB delivers creative lunch (shredded duck confit on toasted onion roll; General Tso’s wings with wasabi blue cheese) and brunch fare (duck eggs Benedict with cherry sriracha hollandaise) at an affordable price point. 2859 Holme Avenue
What do you get when you cross two Wharton grads with a love of sandwiches? Logan Square newcomer Matt & Marie’s stuffs its rolls and customers alike with delicious fillings: Pieta Pastrami with pickles and pepperoncini aioli; Verdura Double with sautéed broccoli rabe, roasted zucchini and smoked goat cheese; and Ducati Dealer with hot Italian sausage and pickled daikon relish, carrot and cucumber. 18th & Arch Streets, (267) 273-1940, mattandmaries.com
There’s always room for another great cheesesteak, and Pudge’s has proved the point, adding a Conshohocken location to the folio. (Other locations are in Blue Bell and Towamencin.) In addition to all of the classic Philly sandwiches (hoagies, cheesesteaks, roast pork), the new location serves burgers and build-your-own grilled cheese. 401 Fayette Street, Conshohocken, (484) 351-8029,pudgescheesesteaks.com
Circles Chef Alex Boonphaya teams up with his sous chef Silvestre Rincon for Tuk Tuk Real, the city’s first Thai taqueria. Some of their cross-cultural mashups include moo ping pao (pork belly buns served with kimchi), banh mi tortas and lemongrass carnitas tacos. 429 South Street, (215) 639-2396
The second outing from the owners of Chinatown BYO Xi’an Sizzling Woks, Xi’an Cuisine and Bar adds karaoke to the mix. The menu remains the same—Western Chinese specialties: liang pi noodles, Kung Pao cashew chicken and chive pies. 120 Chestnut Street, (215) 627-1688, xiancuisine.com
Fairmount welcomes Japanese barbecue Gyu-Kaku, where guests can cook on tabletop grills. Bibimbap, spicy tuna volcanoes and garlic noodles complement char-your-own Kobe-style filet mignon, Chilean seabass and spicy pork.
Popular Places, New Locations:
The margaritas are already flowing at Mad Mex’s newest location in Wynnewood, while the kitchen turns out festively spiced eats. Hefty plates of nachos, taquitos, burritos and tacos sate even the hungriest of MexiCali appetites. 50 E. Wynnewood Road, Wynnewood, (484) 417-6932, madmex.com
Premiere Greek seafood house Estia expands to Radnor with a new location. Visitors can expect the same ultra-fresh, simply grilled fish, as well as traditional recipes such as moussaka, dolmades, spinach pie and baklava. 222 N. Radnor Chester Road, Radnor, (484) 581-7124, estiataverna.com
City Tap House opens a second outpost in Philadelphia, this time on Logan Square. About 40 taps, two cask engines and a near-encyclopedic list of bottles make it an exceptional new destination for beer lovers, while the menu promises similarly well-crafted, seasonal sandwiches, pizza and large plates. 2 Logan Square, citytaphouse.com
Nick Farina doubles down with his second Union Taco—adding on to the flagship location in Northern Liberties. Like its predecessor, the Manayunk branch dishes out creative tacos (oxtail with cabrales, caramelized onion and pickled jicama; cactus, sweet potato and onion with chipotle aioli), plus a small menu of tortas and salads. 4229 Main Street, Manayunk, (267) 766-6193, uniontaco.com
Juice and smoothie chain Robeks Smoothies launches its first mobile operation in Philadelphia. Squeezing up fresh fruits and veggies for healthy made-to-order beverages, the new truck, which will be followed by several stores opening in the area in the coming year, can be found at Love Park, City Hall and the Oval. robeks.com
Owners of the sleek 13th Street pizzeria Zavino announced a new addition for early 2015: Tredici will also emphasize Italian cookery, while weaving in Greek, Spanish and French traditions.
Coming this fall: Girard Brasserie and Bruncherie, a “progressive” locally sourced French Fishtown restaurant with a no-tip (read: fair wages) policy. 300 E. Girard Avenue, (732) 814-6583, girardongirard.com
Franklin Mortgage alum Mike Welsh spreads the serious cocktail love to the Loft District with Brick & Mortar, which will offer an American tavern menu. 315 N. 12th Street
On the heels of Independence Beer Garden, Michael Schulson will be opening an unnamed-as-yet “Second Midtown Village project,” featuring Japanese fare such as sushi and robata.
Also on a roll is Kevin Sbraga, now prepping his third project, Juniper Commons, a rotisserie-based eatery in the Southstar Lofts at Broad and South Streets.
Speaking of rotisserie, Olivier Desaintmartin (Zinc and Caribou Café) plans to sell simple-roasted chickens, rotisserie baguette sandwiches and French gourmet pantry items at his Petit Rôti.
Brewerytown returns to form with the opening of Crime and Punishment Brew Pub, a brand new craft brewer on Girard Avenue.