Table Talk | Horsham's new Afghan restaurant is a family affair

Posted: August 02, 2007

Moe and Nehide Rahpo, who have lived in eastern Montgomery County for years and formerly owned Ariana in Lansdowne, didn't want a long commute to their next Afghan restaurant.

They took over a pizzeria off Easton Road in Horsham for their homey Yalda Grill (222 Horsham Rd., 215-444-9502), where it's a family affair that includes their sons Omid and Niez. The parents, who emigrated from Afghanistan in 1973, handle the cooking - a combo of Middle Eastern cuisine plus an assortment of Afghan dishes (the soup called aush, the dumplings known as mantu). All under $15.

As Afghan cuisine is unfamiliar to the area, the Rahpos have pragmatically maintained the former pizzeria's takeout side, where they dispense pizzas, hoagies and such.

What's new

Cake - Grey Heck's popular Chestnut Hill bakery/cafe - has doubled with a move around the corner this week. It's now in a cute glass conservatorylike space behind Robertson's Flowers at 8501 Germantown Ave. (215-247-6887); entrance is on Highland Avenue. It's open at 7 a.m. Tuesdays through Fridays (8 a.m. Saturdays) with breakfast and pastries, and segues into a French-Mediterranean-inspired lunch menu through the 5:30 p.m. closing. Brunch will start in September, Heck says. Chef is Joan Gigliotti, whose background includes Cresheim Cottage Cafe, and pastry chef is Jill VanDuyne, an alumna of Tangerine.

What's coming

Mark Smith is saying "fall" for a Pennsauken outpost of the Tortilla Press, his Mexican spot in Collingswood. Site is 7716 Maple Ave., a former pizzeria near the Cherry Hill line, prompting jokes that this is the closest he'll come to owning a Cherry Hill liquor license. New spot will be 150 seats plus bar, nearly twice the size of the Collingswood location, which is BYOB and opened in 2002.

Aug. 18 will mark the end of the run for La Boheme (246 S. 11th St.). Owner Olivier de St. Martin will renovate the Wash West bistro. He's aiming for a Sept. 4 opening of Zinc bistro a vins - a Le Marais-style French bistro concept (seafood, cheese, charcuterie, salades gourmandes) with a 1919 zinc bar and handsome mirrored-marble back bar. His wine list, focused on small French producers, will be blackboard, so it can change frequently.

Briefly noted

Greg Ling, last at Raw Sushi & Sake Lounge after turns at Rx and Bleu, is now executive chef at Deuce in Northern Liberties, whose menu has gone global (while keeping its famous cheesesteak spring rolls). Jon Edwards is the new general manager.

Blake Joffe of Bar Ferdinand won the recent PA Preferred Best Chef of Pennsylvania regionals. He faced off against David Ansill of Ansill in the finals, after besting Corey Baver of Paradiso in the semifinals. Joffe will compete in the state contest, at the Farm Show in January.

Walter Staib of City Tavern in Old City is among four Pennsylvania chef-owners competing for the National Restaurant Association's Restaurant Neighbor Award, which recognizes philanthropy. Winners will be announced in late September.


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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