Two chef-brothers from Queen Street in Queen Village have come home to open a restaurant six blocks away.
Village Belle (757 S. Front St., 215-551-2200), a neighborhood-oriented Mediterranean, has taken the longtime home of Frederick's, next to the park overlooking I-95.
Joey and Lou Campanaro maintained the dark, romantic vibe of the old-time barroom but stripped down the overdone dining room in favor of comfortable burgundy banquettes, simple tables, and hardwood floors. Check out the clever muraled doors of the men's and women's rooms in the bar.
The Culinary Institute of America-trained Lou Campanaro (who started at DiLullo Centro, headed to New York and Miami, and returned to the area to cook at Olive in Cherry Hill) and Joey Campanaro (also a DiLullo alum, now a New York star with the Little Owl, Market Table, and Kenmare) are keeping the menu simple. Entrees ($17 to $26) include crab cakes, lamb chops with black mission figs, and cod with broccoli rabe, white beans, and pancetta. Pastas and appetizers ($8 to $14) include ricotta crespelle, tomato-basil risotto, duck confit, and chicken-liver mousse. (See menu at http://go.philly.com/villagebelle.) Extensive wine list comes from all over; beers are a mix of locals and imports, all in bottles. General manager Michael Romeo previously ran Lever House and Barbuto in New York.