Table Talk: A Japanese street food comes to a Phila. street

Posted: January 21, 2010

The week of Feb. 1 marks the opening of Maru Global (255 S. 10th St., 267-273-0567), Philadelphia's first quick-serve eatery focused on takoyaki, the puffy, fried crepe balls.

The Japanese street food is traditionally studded with octopus, but Tokyo-born chef Ryo Igarashi and his wife, Nicole, both local restaurant veterans, are offering multiple varieties, including Philly cheesesteak, pizza, spicy shrimp, barbecue, and sweet-and-sour miso. The original, based on scallion and red ginger, can be made to order with shrimp, chicken, sirloin, or octopus. They're sold six for $3.25.

Maru Global also will serve rice dishes, the stir-fry ramen specialty known as yakisoba, and salads, such as a Japanese Caesar, tofu and tomato, octopus, and wild seaweed, plus hand-cut fries. Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, till 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and noon to 9 p.m. Sundays.

If the name rings a bell: An unrelated Japanese/Korean restaurant called simply Maru opened last month at 206 Market St. in Old City. Maru means "round" or "perfect" in Japanese.

What's new

R2L, Daniel Stern and Suzette Mahoney's destination on the 37th floor of Two Liberty Place, opens tonight. For a look-see, go to http://go.philly.com/R2L.

Du Jour has relocated to Commerce Square (2001 Market St., 215-735-8010), where it now turns out weekday breakfast/lunch. Its previous location, in the Symphony House at Broad and Pine Streets, is now Chew Man Chu, a pan-Asian, which just started dim-sum brunch from 11:30 to 4 p.m. weekends. See menu at http://go.philly.com/chew. Owner Marty Grims hopes to open a second White Dog Cafe in the spring at 200 W. Lancaster Ave., across from Anthropologie in Wayne.

Briefly noted

Bruce Nichols of Museum Catering, a founder of Philly Beer Week, is taking over Society Hill's Zot (122 Lombard St.) with a beer-focused restaurant/bar called The Headhouse in early March, in partnership with landlord Madame Saito Ai. (Pun! It's off Head House Square.) He'll also run his commissary from the building. Menu will be global comfort food.

Chef Matt Levin weighs in on his departure from the Rubb project in Manayunk, which proceeds without him. "That was not for me," he said. "I need to be associated with people who have my best interest in mind, and that was a struggle. I wish them well." Levin said he first wants to set up his back-burnered bistro, Masano.

The former Sal's and Frangelica at 12th and Chancellor Streets will become a sports bar, name undetermined. Co-owner Jeff Sotland, a partner in Mikey's American Grill on Drexel's campus, says its atmosphere and elevated comfort food ("not pub grub") will be aimed at everyone in the neighborhood. He hopes to open the second week of March.

Malvern's Restaurant Alba is open for lunch Thursdays and Fridays. It has a wine list mainly of lightly marked-up Piedmonts.


Contact columnist Michael Klein at mklein@phillynews.com. Follow his blog at http://go.philly.com/insider and on Twitter @phillyinsider.

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