March 27, 2011 |
Had you told me a few months ago that I'd be raving about fish and chips and warm pints of bitter, I would have said you were a bloody lunatic. Then again, a few a months ago the Dandelion was still just an odd name for the latest Stephen Starr construction site - a convenient weed metaphor for our irrepressible gardener of concept dining, then hard at work on seedling number 22 at 18th and Sansom Streets. (By April 1, numbers 23 and 24 will have poked their heads through the soils of Florida's South Beach and Washington Square, respectively.)
June 29, 2012 |
AH, IT SEEMS like only yesterday when every new place wanted to be known as a "gastropub. " The recipe was simple, and a fine one: Take your basic bar — or pub or tavern, as the case may be — add a bevy of craft beer taps, and turn over the menu to a chef with a solid pedigree in high-end kitchens. The menu would have gussied-up burgers and grilled cheeses, some haute chicken wings, perhaps mussels or clams, and maybe some fancy mac 'n' cheese and something vaguely vegan beyond a salad or veggie burger.
January 29, 2009 |
For nine months, with his own two hands, Laurentiu Muras has been redoing the former Cafe Habana on 21st Street into a gastropub called Slate . Work was finished in December, says Muras, a Romanian-born longtime bartender at such Center City establishments as Valanni, Jack's Firehouse and El Vez. All he had to do was iron out staffing issues. The wrinkles are gone, Muras says, and Slate (102 S. 21st St., 215-568-6886) will open tomorrow. It'll be open daily at 5 p.m. Chef Eric Paraskevas, formerly chef de cuisine at Lolita, says they're aiming to be an inviting neighborhood place, with appetizers from $7 to $9, sandwiches from $10 to $12, and entrees from $18 to $21. Paraskevas' background at Lolita exposed him to Mexican food, but he doesn't want to pigeonhole his cuisine.
April 21, 2011
Here is an excerpt from Craig LaBan's online chat: C.L.: There's news a-brewing on the local gastropub scene, as Michael Klein reports, the very sudden closing of Fork & Barrel in East Falls. Matt Swartz and his partners have a lot of shuffling goblets in motion but made a decision to close F&B because their new restaurant, The Farmers' Cabinet, "has so many of the same elements," according to an email. "We've also decided to close Tap and Table in Emmaus and bring the concept to Philadelphia in the coming months.
April 28, 2011
Here is an excerpt from Craig LaBan's online chat: Reader: I had a chance to dine at Farm and Fisherman last week, and, in my opinion, this is one of the best restaurants to open in some time. Beautiful setting, warm and knowledgeable servers, and the food was the star! Highlights were semi-boned quail stuffed with duck liver and ramps served in a stinging nettle sauce, Jerusalem artichoke soup with chicken confit, and slow oil-poached bluefish and much more. A great addition to the BYOB scene!
February 16, 2012
Craig: After all my recent restaurant eating, it was a joy to do some home cooking. This weekend I tackled David Chang's phenomenal bo ssam roasted pork butt from the Momofuku cookbook, with all the fixings, plus some homemade steamed buns. The pork was amazing, like salty-sugar glazed pork candy. But I was really proud of these buns: Just look at these steamy little guys! Chinatown at home! Reader: What would it take for a three-bell restaurant like Le Virtu to get four bells?
August 5, 2007 |
They're buying more baby booster seats at Monk's Cafe. Kids are welcome well into the evening at the Standard Tap. And the hostess gives crayons and paper to children who wander into London Grill. Since the citywide smoking ban went into effect in September, dazzling young - very young - urbanites are making the night scene in so-called gastro-pubs (bars that serve dinner, or restaurants with bars, take your pick). "The number of children we see here has quadrupled," says Tom Peters, co-owner of Monk's Cafe in Center City "I'm getting more baby seats.
June 2, 2011 |
Philly may be dubbed "The Best Beer-Drinking City in America," but our love of the fizzy stuff has also bubbled over into the way we eat. Walk into any gastropub and witness the inventiveness with which local chefs are incorporating beer into their cooking. "Beer appreciation was always a hobby for me, but working at the Taproom, I've learned much more about using it in cooking, having access to all these great products here," says Jesse Kimball, chef of Memphis Taproom in Port Richmond.
December 31, 2009 |
Ten years ago, who'd have thought there'd be a $26 burger and a steak house on every (other) block? But here we are, as mixed-message as ever - packs of food bloggers sniffing out the terroir of the cheese, and open-air farm markets turning the city into a locavore's paradise. And, yo! Whose idea was it to put foie gras in the scrapple? Few trends redefined Philly's dining landscape as powerfully as the proliferation of BYOBs, a phenomenon unique to this region that saw tiny bistros like Django, Melograno, and Bibou transform low-frills spaces into dining destinations with serious culinary ambition, added value, and a dash of throwback "mom-and-pop" warmth.
June 7, 2007
To say the Sidecar Bar & Grille is "on a roll" would just trivialize with a cheap pun what chef Rich Freedman and owner Adam Ritter are doing in their gastro-pub near Graduate Hospital in South Philly. Freedman, working in a tiny kitchen, turns out scratch charcuterie - Cajun sausage made of raw pork and pork liver, chorizo, Tasso ham, country pate, and hickory-and-alder-smoked knackwurst. Take the knackwurst, which comes with a salad and homemade sauerkraut. At $9.95, it's not the cheapest sandwich around.