Now he’s ventured into Edgmont Township, Delaware County, with a rustic brick-oven pizza/small plater called La Porta (1192 N. Middletown Rd., Media, 610-358-5104), replacing Locust Crest Tavern on Route 352, on the edge of Ridley Creek State Park.
Don’t come seeking chicken parm. Sure, you can get a margherita pizza. Why not a “malfatti” — which translates as “badly made” — a half pizza-half stromboli beast topped with prosciutto, sweet peppers, mozzarella, and plum tomato. Snacks include scamorza (crispy fried smoked mozzarella, sweet-pepper puree, and rosemary honey) and olivi (fried olives stuffed with sausage and tomato agrodolce). Besides larger plates (mussels, salumi), there is a collection of sandwiches that seem right out of Paesano’s. See menu at www.philly.com/laporta.
Speaking of Media
Media Borough just might have the highest concentration of restaurants per square mile in the region. Three newcomers (and you can see photos from around the borough here):
Diego’s Cantina & Tequila Bar (214 W. State St., 484-442-8741, a narrow storefront — formerly Coffee Club — with a bar in the front and dining in the back from Loic Barnieu, who also owns Picasso and La Belle Epoque in town. Diego’s has already had a visit from comedian Wanda Sykes, the town’s celebrity.
Spasso Italian Grill, an offshoot of Claudio Sandolo’s original in Old City, took over the stately spot 1 W. State St. (610-565-7803), the onetime home of borough hall and later the restaurants Brodeur’s and New Orleans Cafe. Sandolo offers the same middle-of-the-road menu offered downtown.
Desert Rose (305 W. State St., 484-442-8012) is a simple Mediterranean cafe/grocery from Jason and Natali McHugh — he’s a local guy who worked at the old Deux Cheminées before embarking on travels to Europe and the Virgin Islands. After meeting Natali in her native Israel, he became enthralled with street food. Menu includes hummus platters, shwarma, and falafel.
Philippe Chin is back
Philippe Chin, the Harley-riding, Paris-born chef who owned Chanterelles and Philippe Chin at the Locust Club back in the ’90s before heading south, has surfaced on the bay in Somers Point, N.J., with Philippe Chin French-Asian Bistro & Deck Bar in the gracious Victorian mansion at 800 Bay Ave. (609-926-3500. The year-round restaurant, opening this weekend, previously was known as 800 Bay.
More details on these restaurants can be found on my blog, “The Insider, at www.philly.com/mike.
Contact Michael Klein at firstname.lastname@example.org.