Table Talk | Monk's owners open Belgian Cafe in Fairmount

Posted: September 20, 2007

The Chimay is flowing at the Belgian Cafe (21st and Green Streets), which replaced Fairmount's long-serving Tavern on Green.

Tom Peters, who owns the cafe with Fergus Carey, says the main difference between the new place and their popular Monk's (264 S. 16th St.) in Center City is that it's less beer-centric.

"We'll only have 200 varieties," Peters says. (The list has 150 now.)

The Belgian Cafe - the bar is dark and Gothic, the dining room light and arty - also will have lower food prices and smaller portions, from chef Evan Seplow, a vet of the White Dog Cafe. Monk's customers get half of a 21/2-pound roasted chicken as an entree, while the chicken entree at the Belgian Cafe is an organic chicken breast roulade stuffed with Chimay Belgian cheese, spinach and Ardennes ham and finished with Chimay trappiste beer sauce. Rest of the menu is similar - hearty, Euro-style fare plus burgers, mussels and sandwiches.

It's open daily from 5 p.m. Weekend brunch starts Sept. 29, and daily lunch will follow down the road.

What's new

An eruption without ruins at Pompeii, the Italian restaurant at 1113 Walnut St. (215-829-4400), across from the Forrest Theater. Owner Robert Liccio has brought in his brother, chef Joseph Tucker, and it's now called Joe Pesce. Shore birds may remember the name from a two-season run in Ventnor. Joe Pesce - no relation to the actor (who is Pesci, anyway) - is a moderate-priced, seafood-centric Mediterranean with some Asian influences; most dinner entrees are $16 to $28. Besides the Joe Pesce in Ventnor, Tucker also ran Tucker's Steak & Seafood House in Somers Point; before that, he had Joseph's in South Philly and Joseph's on the Avenue. Joe Pesce is open from lunchtime to 10 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, till 11 p.m. Fridays, 4 to 11 p.m. Saturdays and 3 to 9 p.m. Sundays. A second Joe Pesce is about a month out at 833 Haddon Ave. in Collingswood, right in the middle of the restaurant row that includes Nunzio's, Villa Barone and Word of Mouth.

What's coming

Cafe Estelle, featuring in-store-baked bread and other made-from-scratch foods (and hours of 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.), is under construction at the Lofts at 444 N. Fourth St., on the border of Old City and Northern Liberties. Marshall Green, now sous chef at Center City's Meritage (and a vet of Ansill, Django and Fork) is partnered with his girlfriend, Kristin Mulvenna, who runs Cantina Los Caballitos (and previously worked at the South Philly Taproom and Charlie's Pub). They're planning for a November opening.

Goodburger, a casual operation with three units in New York (www.goodburgerny.com), is fitting out space at 1725 Chestnut St. It's four or five months out, says New Yorker Nick Tsoulos, who is partnered with Peter Pashalis, who locally has interests in Estia and Pietro's Coal Oven Pizzeria.

Briefly noted

Looking for the Delaware-based La Tolteca chain? Add two letters. It's now called La Tonalteca, rebranding to separate it from sundry, unrelated La Toltecas, including the one in West Chester.

Personnel

Former Ansill chef de cuisine Kibett Mengech has surfaced as Matthew Levin's executive sous chef at Lacroix at the Rittenhouse. . . . Two returns: Pastry chef Rocco Lugrine, who had been at Miel Patisserie after Le Bec-Fin, is now exec pastry chef for Georges Perrier's Signature Restaurants, and chef Peter Dunmire has returned to N3rd as Restaurant M exile David Katz takes over at sister restaurant Silk City. . . . Thomas "TC" Federico is the new general manager of Mia at Caesars. He previously was at Sands Casino's Brighton Steak House.
Contact columnist Michael Klein at 215-854-5514 or mklein@phillynews.com. Read his recent work at http://go.philly.com/michaelklein and http://go.philly.com/foodanddrinq

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