Table Talk | Ly Michael's adopts a Vietnamese menu

Posted: July 19, 2007

Menu change at Ly Michael's, across from the Convention Center at 101 N. 11th St.:

Owners Buu Ly and Michael Ly - who also have FuZion in Worcester, Montgomery County - have steered the casually elegant restaurant to Vietnamese fare under new chef Dung K. Dang (who goes by "Kim") and new partner Billy Wong (ex-Tang's, Billy Wong's and Taste).

Dang is a Vietnamese emigre - a home cook in her first restaurant and a friend of the owners. Pho is a specialty. Everything is under $20.

What's new

Last night was the expected debut of the second Tria (1137 Spruce St., 215-629-9200). The wine-cheese-beer small-plater will be open nightly, with lunch starting in September.

Johnny MaƱana's, the East Falls cantina, is fixing for a second location, at 2031 Walnut St. Opening will be Dec. 1-ish, shortly after an Allentown location debuts.

An opening is due any day for Seafood Shack (124 Haddon Ave., Westmont, 856-869-4600), a casual seafooder/raw bar/takeout, with liquor license, from Bob Platzer of the P.J. Whelihan group. Associate Jim Fris says they'll make their own chowder, fries and desserts. Nothing fancy: "You can go five days a week in shorts and flip-flops." It'll be open for dinner nightly to start; lunch to follow.

The new, upmarket Venuto's Old World Pizza (701 Mantua Pike, West Deptford, 856-686-4848), a specialist in thin-crust pizza, is being poised as the first of a series. Founder Ralph Venuto Sr. says 40 franchises have been sold. Venuto, by the way, created Hollywood Tans. (You might ask: What's the difference between browning skin and cheese?)

Brio Tuscan Grille, a white-tablecloth chain out of Columbus, Ohio, is about a month away at the Marketplace at Garden State Park in Cherry Hill. It's a lunch-dinner-bruncher with pastas in the teens, steaks in the $20s - and a $1.5 million liquor license to pay off.

New Mexicans

The festive Las Maracas, a BYOB with comp margaritas, has opened near the expanded Maggio's in Hampton Square (368 Second Street Pike, Southampton, 215-355-6805). Las Maracas, a sibling of Taqueria La Morena in Hatboro and owned by Luis and Christine Mendoza, is open daily for lunch and dinner, with entrees under $14.

Tequila Joe's Burrito Bar has replaced Colonial Inn (31 Park Ave., Oreland, 215-887-5800). Still a bar, with the Mexican decor covered by a full-size chopper bicycle and velvet Elvis portrait hanging over the bar. Menu starts in Mexico and veers well north, topping out at $19.99 for pan-seared crabcakes with Mexican rice. Owners are John Anderson (who owns Chestnut Hill's Solaris Grille), Eden Harvest (Solaris' general manager), Joseph Scull (Solaris' head chef) and Adam Meadows (of Thomas' in Manayunk).

Briefly noted

Slate Bleu in Doylestown has added lunch Thursdays and Fridays.

Gayle in Queen Village allows BYO on Thursdays, and offers half off its wine list that night.

Last week, I goofed on the date of PA Preferred's regional cooking contest at Reading Terminal Market. It will be tomorrow and Saturday.

Contact columnist Michael Klein at 215-854-5514 or

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