Table Talk | Silk City marks a return; Tokyo Bleu opens in N.J.

Posted: June 28, 2007

Fifteen months after it closed - and nearly a year and a half since restaurateur Mark Bee signed the agreement of sale - Silk City is back in business at Fifth and Spring Garden Streets (215-592-8838) on the edge of Northern Liberties.

It looks much as it did before - an old-fashioned stainless-steel diner on one side, a low-lit nightclub on the other. The big difference: It's clean. That, and the array of liquor bottles in front of the backsplash. You can belly up to the counter - the bar, as it were - and order cheap beers and $7 cocktails.

Bee, who also owns the nearby N. 3rd, has installed his longtime chef Peter Dunmire (Rouge, Brasserie Perrier) in the kitchen to turn out a full, non-diner-y American menu (entrees $12 to $17), plus apps (spring rolls, tuna tartare, empanadas), and killer desserts.

The club side hosts DJs. The diner side is open from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. daily; kitchen is open till 1 a.m. Brunch will start "soon," says Bee. At N. 3rd, veteran Joe Lakavage is running the show.

Plans also are afoot to turn Silk City's side and back yard into a beer garden.

What's new

Michael Chen, who has done sushi at Mount Fuji in Southampton and Mikado in Cherry Hill and Margate, has ventured out with his wife, Faith, at Tokyo Bleu (602 Route 130 North, Cinnaminson, 856-829-8889). It's the handsome BYOB that last housed Max's. Chen oversees a huge assortment of rolls, plus entrees and noodle dishes. It's open from 11:30 to 10 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, till 11 p.m. Fridays, noon to 11 p.m. Saturdays and noon to 10 p.m. Sunday

Last week marked the debut of the second branch of Sabrina's Cafe, north of Logan Circle (1802 Callowhill St., 215-636-9061). This one - melding the space's diner past with a contemporary look - carries the full name "Sabrina's Cafe & Spencer's Too," after the 3-year-old son of owners Raquel and Robert De Abreu. (Sabrina is their daughter, who at age 7 is 15 months older than the Italian Market restaurant.) Menu is similarly hearty, reasonably priced brunch fare served all day, plus American entrees (meat loaf, fish) toward dinnertime; most entrees are less than $15. Hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays and Mondays, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays.

Manayunk now has the fourth location of J.D. McGillicuddy's, the popular pub also in Ardmore, Upper Darby and Essington. Tom Thornton and family have set up at 111 Cotton St. (215-930-0209), the spot a block off Main Street that's housed Ristorante Amore, Casa Mexicana, and the Cotton Club. It's open from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.; kitchen (wide-ranging, moderate-priced menu) closes at 11.

Decor and menu at Zocalo, the Mexican mainstay at 36th Street and Lancaster Avenue, have been punched up of late. Gregory Russell, who's been in the kitchen for 18 years (the last four as executive chef), sold his South Jersey restaurant Las Tarascas two months ago. He and his wife, Mary, went to Mexico to bring back new furnishings and dishes for Zocalo and they're working with owner Joe Ferzoco. Eventually, signage will reflect a new name, Las Tarascas en Zocalo.

Potbelly's, a quick-server featuring hot sandwiches, shakes, salads and live music, has just opened in the Penn Tower at 34th Street and Civic Center Boulevard (215-382-0549), across from the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. It's open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. weekdays, 7 to 7 weekends. A second location is up for next month at 1200 Walnut St.

Reading Terminal Market now has the Everyday Gourmet, in the space formerly occupied by Andro's: soups, salads, sandwiches and entrees. Chef/co-owner Wally McIlhenney used to work at the terminal's former Jill's Vorspeise.

Briefly noted

Rylei (7144 Frankford Ave.) is now open for lunch Wednesdays through Fridays.

Salento (2216 Walnut St.) is open for dinner Tuesdays through Sundays, despite what I wrote here last week.


Contact columnist Michael Klein at 215-854-5514 or mklein@phillynews.com. Read his recent work at http://go.philly.com/michaelklein.

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