Table Talk: Garces' latest place, Chifa, opens Tuesday

Chef Jose Garces in his Cantonese-Peruvian hybrid at 707 Chestnut. Chifa cuisine developed in Lima's Chinese immigrant community.
Chef Jose Garces in his Cantonese-Peruvian hybrid at 707 Chestnut. Chifa cuisine developed in Lima's Chinese immigrant community.
Posted: February 05, 2009

Chifa is not only the style of cuisine - the hybrid of Cantonese and Peruvian cuisines that developed in Lima's Chinese immigrant community in the late 19th century - but also the name of the latest restaurant from Jose Garces (Amada, Tinto, Distrito).

Chifa (707 Chestnut St., 215-925- 5555) opens Tuesday in the short-lived 707 Restaurant on what's shaping up as a happening block, including Jones, Aqua, Morimoto, Union Trust (opening Monday), and Blue Angel (reopening this spring). It serves from 5 p.m. daily.

Chifa (say it "chee-fa"), which will have a 16-seat gold resin communal table, centers on a ceviche bar serving 10 varieties daily ($14 to $24) in one of two dining rooms. A downstairs lounge, not unlike the boƮte at Tinto, was inspired by an opium den. Designer Jun Aizaki of Creme Design Collective also designed Garces' other Philadelphia restaurants.

Chef de cuisine Chad Williams' food (dish prices are $10 to $28) is based on rice and seafood; examples include arroz chaufa con marisco (fried rice with Chinese ham, egg and scallion, topped with soy- and ginger-glazed shellfish); aji gallina (chicken poached in a spicy sauce); and roast duck buns (including foie gras mousse and a garnish of plum sauce, pickled scallions, and five-spice sea salt). The tab: about $85 per couple without alcohol.

Garces' next spot will be Village Whiskey, a burger bar opening late spring next to Tinto at 20th and Sansom Streets.

Briefly noted

Cresheim Cottage Cafe in Mount Airy has closed. An e-mail from the owners said: "We had five wonderful years at the Cottage, but the construction project along Germantown Avenue and the general economic crisis proved too much of a challenge for us financially."

The Gourmet Room at Venice Plaza Caterers in Berlin has closed its a la carte operation, as owners focus on catering.

Stefano's in Huntingdon Valley has closed after about 14 years over a landlord-tenant dispute. A member of the Terra family was not certain whether there were plans to resurface.

Susanna Foo won't be doing that takeout stand in the concourse of the Comcast Center, her rep confirms, adding that the time is not right.

Houlihan's restaurants (locally in Bala Cynwyd, North Wales, Exton and Warrington) are doing a weeknight promo in February called "Dowwie Wowwie," starting Monday. If the day's Dow Jones Industrial Average closes up, patrons get free Italian doughnuts. If the Dow drops, the giveaway is for a certificate, to be used on their next visit, for a free appetizer with the purchase of an entree.


Contact columnist Michael Klein at 215-854-5514 or mklein@phillynews.com. See real-time restaurant news at his blog, "The Insider," at http://go.philly.com/insider.

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