July 10, 2016 |
The unofficial start of summer - Memorial Day - is not a secret date. And any restaurateur with common sense and a measure of luck will do all they can to open a new restaurant before the gates bust open at the end of May. After that, the beach crowds come fast and hungry, and with none of the patience for early errors they'd afford at a new restaurant back home. Yet, there are the slowpokes who tease us well into early July with luscious social-media pics of dishes "in the works" and promises of "opening soon" while the sight of active work crews stoke a more skeptical view.
July 3, 2016 |
Here are five featured seafood houses, old and new, visited this summer at the Jersey Shore by Craig LaBan. Crabby Paddy's 1415 Long Beach Blvd., Ship Bottom; 609-342-1506; crabbypaddys.com . Breakfast, lunch and dinner. BYOB. No Reservations. (Call 30 minutes in advance.) Doc Magrogan's Oyster House 8600 Landis Ave. (in the Dunes), Townsend's Inlet, Sea Isle City, 609-478-6082; docmagrogans.com/sea-isle-nj . Dinner only. Dock's Oyster House 2405 Atlantic Ave, Atlantic City, 609-345-0092; docksoysterhouse.com . Dinner only.
June 17, 2016
Here is an excerpt from Craig LaBan's online chat of June 14, 2016: Craig LaBan: Here's one notable update from the Department of Disappointments: Isn't it especially sad when a longtime reliable favorite begins to slip and then keeps going? Such appears to be the case with Tiffin, the once stalwart Indian take-out specialist. . . . Tiffin hit a new low when we decided to give it one more try via take-out last night. . . . Food was not very hot, and it had even less flavor.
May 9, 2016 |
There's a new restaurant in London and you go there to eat naked. I'm not making this up. This restaurant hasn't even opened yet, but it's already getting major attention, and not for the food. I went to the restaurant's website and it didn't even have a menu posted. Food isn't the point, would be my guess. Like nobody complains about the plot in porn. Even though there's never a twist and the ending is always happy. Step up your game, pornographers. You might think you would never go to a naked restaurant, but it has a waiting list of 30,000.
February 12, 2016
Here is an excerpt from Craig LaBan's online chat of Feb. 9, 2016: Reader: Which is a worse dining holiday - New Year's Eve or Valentine's Day? Craig LaBan: Wow. That's a tough one. I prefer to dine out neither of those nights because of limited, overpriced fixed-price menus, and expectations that are rarely met. I guess I'd go with Valentine's Day over NYE because you have a chance of getting creative with something off-the-grid (provided the object of your affection is down with that)
December 28, 2015 |
Philadelphia's chefs looked to nostalgia for new inspirations in 2015. They took whole-animal cooking to new heights. They turned on some bright lights in emerging neighborhoods and brought modern riffs on traditional Asian flavors to more established dining zones. And many of them also headed south, as more than a quarter of the restaurants I reviewed this year were in South Philadelphia. But from the ever-growing nexus of new restaurant energy on East Passyunk Avenue to the Great Northeast and the bucolic hills of Chester County, the local dining scene showed absolutely no sign of slowing ambitions.
December 11, 2015 |
Moorestown Mall now has the region's first outpost of Yard House , which offers a staggering 110 beer taps and a pub menu only slightly smaller than most cities' phone book. The Irvine, Calif., chain boasts that it has five miles of individual beer lines encased in stainless steel. Leigh Maida, Brendan Hartranft, and Brendan Kelly (Memphis Taproom, Local 44, Strangelove's, Coeur) have opened Clarkville (4301 Baltimore Ave., 215-387-4992), a bar across from Clark Park in West Philadelphia, just a few blocks from Local 44. The colorful drop-in serves 11 beers, 5 wines, no bottles, no liquor.
November 26, 2015 |
Back in the swim Mike Stollenwerk, one of Philly's most visible seafood chefs before stepping out of the scene nearly two years ago, is back with 26 North BYOB (26 N. Third St., 267-239-5900). With the revived Bistro 7 down the street - where Michael O'Halloran has gone for romance with a renovation of his 11-year-old dinner-only, French BYOB - this is an intriguing time for the slice of Old City north of Market. At 26 North, the Jersey Shore-bred Stollenwerk (Little Fish, Fish)
November 13, 2015 |
Vietnamese BYOB StreetSide , a low-key, budget-priced Vietnamese BYOB at 165 W. Girard Ave. (267-737-9165), across from the liquor store in Northern Liberties, joins a small collection of nearby Viet storefront eateries, including SameSame in Northern Liberties and Stock in Fishtown. Co-owner My Huynh, who grew up in South Philadelphia, has 14 seats on the ground floor. There's seating upstairs for a couple dozen more people. The easy-to-decipher, somewhat politically incorrect menu includes vermicelli bowls, fried spring rolls, rice paper rolls, dumplings, banh mi, baked mussels, edamame topped with "Viet crack" (chili salt)
September 4, 2015 |
Crab-Apple Salad Season There's a reason Audrey Taichman hasn't been seen much lately during the dinner hour around 20th and Spruce, the corner where nearly two decades ago she helped launch the minimalist chic spirit of Philly's BYOB boom with her iconic Audrey Claire. She's been putting kids to bed. Within the last three years, she had a baby boy, adopted the young twins of her sister, Leslie, who tragically died of cancer, and then became stepmother to two more sets of older twins through marriage this year.