Michael Klein: Starr and Painter team for Il Pittore

Chris Painter, chef at the Sansom Street newcomer, put together his menu during a lengthy trip to Italy. Its modern, and pricey.
Chris Painter, chef at the Sansom Street newcomer, put together his menu during a lengthy trip to Italy. Its modern, and pricey. (ASHLEE ESPINAL / Staff Photographer)
Posted: October 27, 2011

After many years (and a few locations) in the making, Il Pittore was scheduled to debut Wednesday at 2025 Sansom St. (215-391-4900; ilpittore.com).

This upscale Italian pairs Stephen Starr with his longtime right-hand man, chef Chris Painter, who helped set up such restaurants as Pizzeria Stella and Parc.

Designer Richard Stokes worked on the bilevel 80-seater, formerly Noble American Cookery. The main dining room, on the second floor, takes advantage of the skylight. On the cozier ground floor, a large community table made of bubinga wood accommodates drop-ins, and a 10-seat counter faces shelves of oils and smallwares.

The modern menu, honed during Painter's long trip to Italy, will change frequently. Prices are not low. Pastas and other first courses are in the teens. Mains start at $25 for a brick-roasted half chicken (brushed with mustard and rosemary bread crumbs) and head into the $30s. The herb-grilled porterhouse, sliced for two and served with salsa verde and Tuscan bean salad, is $85. It'll be open nightly for dinner.

Also open

Iron Chef Bobby Flay will attend the opening of Bobby's Burger Palace in Cherry Hill Mall at noon Tuesday.

King Tut is the name of the new Egyptian-Roman-Greek-Israeli concept on Antique Row (401 S. 13th St., 215-735-8111, kingtutrestaurant.com). Owner Tima Soudi is in the kitchen, showing cooks how to prepare the "ancient" recipes, which focus on fish, items from the grill, and heart-healthy options such as dandelion greens cooked in olive oil, fava beans with lemon juice, and shawarma.

Say goodbye

L'Oca, the Northern Italian BYOB across from Eastern State Penitentiary, has closed for good. In July, chef/owner Luca Garutti temporarily closed after being arrested on charges of criminal mischief and driving under the influence, according to the court record.

The location has a new tenant. Stay tuned.

Make a deal

Here's a trend that is really taking off. There's now a restaurant week (three courses for $25) at Philadelphia International Airport, running through Saturday. The catch is that it's available only to ticketed airline passengers.

Participating restaurants include Legal Sea Foods, Cantina Laredo, Chickie's & Pete's, Cibo Bistro & Wine Bar, Jack Duggan's Pub, Jet Rock Bar & Grill, and Vino Volo.

South Jersey Hot Chefs are planning Fall Harvest Week - a collection of $35 and $25 specials at dozens of restaurants from Sunday to Nov. 4. Cork, in Westmont, is getting help from outside chefs such as Olivier de St. Martin, from Caribou Cafe and Zinc; Jim Coleman, formerly of Normandy Farm; and a real blast from the past: Philippe Chin, onetime bad boy of the Philly restaurant scene, who owned Chanterelles and Philippe's.

Contact Michael Klein at mklein@philly.com or @phillyinsider on Twitter. Follow him at www.philly.com/food and catch his blog at www.philly.com/insider.

Staff writer Ashley Primis also contributed to this report. Contact her at 215-854-2244 or at aprimis@phillynews.com.

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