October 1, 2009 |
Clark Gilbert, whose culinary background includes Taquet, Fountain at the Four Seasons, the Saloon, and La Terrasse, has gone homey at his first solo spot, Gemelli (232 Woodbine Ave., Narberth, 610-660-0160). The space previously was Margot. It's a BYOB, open Mondays through Saturdays for dinner only. Gilbert describes his bistro-style menu as "Italian, with a few nods to France. " (See it at http://go.philly.com/gemelli .) He's keeping at least half of the entree prices, including that of the namesake dish, gemelli pasta with Bolognese sauce, in the teens.
September 11, 2009
Retrenching, rebalancing, whatever you want to call it, the local dining scene went through more than nips and tucks after disposable incomes tanked last year. But it hasn't been an all-bad thing: Menus have been recalibrated, average checks are down (along with some restaurant rents). Even serious-eats places - Bibou and Fond come to mind - are keeping prices in line. And instead of bazillion-dollar steak palaces, we're seeing Asian street food, classy burger joints, pizzerias, and an explosion of barbecue pits, many with Big Names behind them.
August 30, 2009 |
Great restaurateurs will come and go, often despite their virtues. But special restaurant spaces, it seems, can have an almost magical ability to survive. How else to explain the second lightning strike that has landed yet another French star - the new Bibou - for the tiny corner room at Kimball and South Eighth Streets? The first strike here occurred in 2001, of course, when David Ansill and his French-born wife, Catherine Gilbert-Ansill, opened Pif, the adventurous bistro that was one of the early gems of our BYOB revolution.
August 20, 2009 |
Not too many restaurants celebrate their opening outside of Chinatown - and in August - with a Chinese lion dance. Northern Liberties' Kong (702 N. Second St., 215-922-5664) did one Saturday. It's the Hong Kong-style "street-food" bistro from Michael O'Halloran and wife Sophia Lee, who own Bistro 7 in Old City. They are offering the home-style grub available in Hong Kong stalls, buns, rice bowls, noodle bowls and such, paired with Asian and domestic beers and assorted wines.
August 6, 2009 |
New and just off City Avenue: Avril (134 Bala Ave., Bala Cynwyd, 610-667-2626), a cozy BYO bistro from chef Christian Gatti and his wife, April Lisante - hence the name. Gatti's Mediterranean menu starts in southeast France and heads into Italy. It will go farther inland as the weather cools off. Lisante, who spent a decade as a reporter, food writer, and editor at the Philadelphia Daily News, met Gatti in 2003 when she interviewed him for a feature about hot, young chefs.
June 28, 2009 |
I used to think it wasn't possible to have too much of a good thing, and for the longest time, that was my sentiment regarding our abbondanza of Italian BYOBs. Who doesn't want a go-to trattoria for an affordable plate of pasta and a juicy branzino within a short walk of home? And yet, when Novità opened its doors on the 1600 block of South Street in the fall, the realization that there were nearly a dozen Italian BYOBs now within a five-block radius had an unexpected effect.
June 21, 2009 |
The "Umai tree," as the devout fans of chef Alex McCoy now call themselves, has spread its roots in a quiet but effective way that most restaurateurs could only hope for. With little fanfare in the press, and little paid advertisement, McCoy has built a loyal clientele for his cozy Fairmount sushi bistro over the last three years purely by word of mouth, rolling his inventive maki below the radar and reeling in regulars with an unconventional eye...
June 18, 2009 |
After 12 years, Evan Lambert said, Savona , his posh Main Line staple (100 Old Gulph Rd., Gulph Mills, 610-520-1200), needed to "evolve. " The reconceptualization, a top-to-bottom renovation completed last month, was not intended to be trendy in any way, says Lambert, who got L.A. designer Ann Vering to use natural materials and a soft color palette. They carved out small, romantic spaces for the special-occasion crowd that craves chef Andrew Masciangelo's regional Italian cuisine.
June 4, 2009 |
Red meat, booze, and sports are not exclusively manly domains. But let's face it: A serious Guys' Night Out usually lands somewhere in the vicinity of those key ingredients. Here's my list of in-the-know spots to sate the craving for one or all of the above: OLD GUARD HOUSE INN (THREE BELLS) 953 Youngsford Rd., Gladwyne 610-649-9708; www.guardhouseinn.com The varnished-log dining rooms festooned with antlers, muskets, and pewter mugs give this Main Line institution the Ye-Olde-School manly look, as the volunteer firefighters hanging at the clubby bar can attest.
April 12, 2009 |
This comeback was a long time coming for the French bistro, which had been knocked off its frites around here for years by that bout of post-9/11 anti-France silliness. But there is obviously a timeless appeal to a crock of caramelized onion soup sealed beneath a molten beret of Gruyère cheese. Folks can stay away from their escargots in garlic butter only so long. Since the moratorium on liking France began to lift recently, like the end of a gloomy existentialist funk, all of Philly, it seems, has been living La Vie en Rose.