March 6, 2013 |
FOR DECADES, Philadelphians have chomped on cheesesteaks and noshed on soft pretzels. But could city residents actually develop a palette for horse meat? Chef Peter McAndrews thinks so. He recently announced plans to serve the equine delicacy at his Sicilian restaurant Monsu in Bella Vista, even as European food outlets deal with fallout from the discovery of horse DNA in beef products. "I like the idea of being an authentic Italian restaurant. When I heard the ban was lifted, I was very pleased," McAndrews said, referring to the ban on horse slaughter in the United States, which was lifted in 2011, when Congress reinstated federal funding for U.S. Department of Agriculture inspection of horse meat.
October 11, 2012 |
Two downtown restaurateurs - Rob Wasserman (Rouge, 500 Degrees) and chef Michael Schulson (Sampan, Izakaya) - have ventured into the Main Line with the Saint James (30 Parking Plaza, Ardmore, 610-649-6200), an American bistro in Suburban Square. Chris Sheffield of SLDesign created an open, lived-in look, with a skylight in the foyer, wooden tables, leather- and wool-covered booths, and white brick walls. It's an amalgam of Pottery Barn and Crate & Barrel, with a dash of Anthropologie.
September 13, 2012 |
RALPH'S (760 S. 9th) IS HEADING to Valley Forge. Eddie Rubino , co-owner of the nation's oldest Italian restaurant, confirmed Tuesday that Ralph's of South Philly will open inside the new Sheraton Valley Forge when the hotel opens Sept. 27. "We are overwhelmed with excitement about this project finally coming to pass," Rubino said about his family's feelings toward the addition of a new location. The new Ralph's restaurant and bar will be open daily from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. It's not the first foray into the suburbs for Ralph's, which had a place in Ambler for several years.
August 1, 2012 |
EVER SINCE I wrote about Ralph's becoming the oldest Italian restaurant in the country, I've been hearing from foodies arguing that the title rightfully belongs to Dante & Luigi's. The owners of Ralph's claim their South Philly eatery, on 9th Street near Catharine, was founded in 1900. The owners of Dante and Luigi's, around the corner at 10th and Catherine, say their place has been in business since 1899. I hate getting things wrong — especially in print — so I'd like to set the record straight.
April 12, 2012 |
I AM, FIRST and foremost, a lover of all things Italian. But even I must acknowledge this: There are too damn many Italian restaurants in this city. Whenever I hear that a new trattoria or ristorante is about to open, the question immediately springs to mind: Does Philadelphia really need another Italian place? And yet — like seemingly everyone else — I always find myself anxiously awaiting the next one. Ah, la dolce vita, we never tire of you. But after waves of rustic BYOBs and old-school red-sauce joints and upscale pizzerias and fancy northern Italian spots, another question nagged at me: Are we running out of fresh Italian concepts?
April 12, 2012
Husband-wife veterans Guy Shapiro and Luli Canuso have been around the block a time or two after meeting at the once-trendy Mirabelle on Callowhill Street in the 1980s. She was a pastry chef at Le Bec-Fin. He cooked for Russian mobsters, among other employers. Now they have set up on a sunny corner near their Fairmount house with BlueCat (1921 Fairmount Ave., 267-519-2911). Named in homage to the couple's pussycat - who Canuso says "is a domestic gray but thinks he is a Russian blue" - the BYOB features modern Latin fare at modest prices.
January 30, 2012
SURE, BULLETS were flying in the barroom at Dante & Luigi's on Halloween night in 1989, when a masked man pulled a gun out of his trick-or-treat bag and starting pumping round after round into Nicodemo Scarfo Jr., son of the former Philadelphia mob boss. Before that, the Italian restaurant at 10th and Catharine streets was a hangout for Angelo Bruno, the mob boss who was killed outside his Snyder Avenue home in 1980 by a hitman with a shotgun. You'll still see a wiseguy having dinner there from time to time.
January 29, 2012 |
Try This: Traveling the Globe Without Leaving the Table By Danyelle Freeman HarperCollins. 287 pp. $16.99 I have a friend - actually several friends - who, when presented with the menu in an Italian restaurant, will order the chicken parm. Every time. There's nothing wrong with chicken parm, per se. It's the routine that irks me. Suggest that they try something else - and not the veal parm! - and they balk. Is it faintheartedness? Maybe. I think that many people are dissuaded by embarrassment.
May 4, 2011 |
East Passyunk Avenue in South Philadelphia was always the commercial heart of the old Italian neighborhood around it. You went to the butcher on "the Avenue" and also bought your clothes there, said Louis Casella, a longtime waiter at Marra's, the 80-year-old red-gravy standard opened by an Italian immigrant on Passyunk near Moore. "You still have the old-timers," Casella said. "But once, where they knew everybody on the Avenue," that's not the case now, Casella said, as trendy newcomers have moved in, drawn by the neighborhood's proximity to Center City and cheaper housing.
April 21, 2011 |
Media Borough may have had a wealth of dining options, as locals Greg Quintiliano and Alan Reh knew, but there was no Mexican restaurant. The friends fixed that shortcoming a few weeks ago with Dos Gringos (113 S. Olive St., Media, 610-565-7794), a BYOB in the former John's Place diner. Chef Don Koszowski, a former sous chef at Center City's Lolita, is going beyond ordinary, making everything from scratch, including turkey sausage and chorizo. It's open at 7 a.m. Mondays through Saturdays, serving breakfast till 11 a.m. and lunch till 2:30 p.m. Starting next week, dinner will be added Wednesdays through Saturdays.