Wednesday, January 28, 2015

POSTED: Tuesday, December 16, 2014, 3:33 PM
Sade Darcy (left) and Jennifer Salhoff. (courtesy photos)

The 13th season of Fox's Hell's Kitchen - the Gordon Ramsay-run cooking-competition series - is down to four finalists.

The winner - to be named Wednesday, Dec. 17 - will become chef at the Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill, opening in February at Caesars in Atlantic City.

Caesars' Diamond Lounge will host a public viewing party from 8 to 10 p.m. and at least the winner is due to be there.

POSTED: Monday, December 15, 2014, 1:00 PM
Dining room at the Saint James. MICHAEL KLEIN /

The Saint James, in Suburban Square in Ardmore, will close after business on Dec. 30.

Owner Rob Wasserman, whose downtown holdings are Rouge and 500º, said six weeks of heavy renovations will yield a new restaurant. Wasserman says it will be "very family-friendly." I'm hearing some form of Italian.

Wasserman, his wife and young boys moved to the Main Line from Center City after opening The Saint James in October 2012. Since then, Wasserman said, he and his wife were struck by the lack of appealing dining options.

POSTED: Monday, December 15, 2014, 1:08 AM

Chef Luke Palladino, who has a solid following and critical acclaim for his joints at the Jersey shore, has set a Dec. 18 debut for the premiere of his East Passyunk Italian steak/seafooder. (Update: It soft-opened Dec. 15.)

And a handsome one it is, at 1934 E. Passyunk Ave. (267-928-4339): sexy banquette seating (beneath padded walls) and intimate black lacquer table seating as well as a roomy, 12-seat bar (with 18 seated at high-tops) that looks into an open kitchen. Designer Scott Eccard opted for a muted color palate, exposed ductwork, and a warm orange ceiling. Palladino's collection of original Fornasetti plates hangs vertically on one wall. He stocked the kitchen not only with a wood-fired grill but a focaccia oven from Recco, Italy. 

You can pretty much tailor a dining experience to your budget. Pastas are mainly $19 to $24, while meats start in the mid-$20s and head north.

POSTED: Friday, December 12, 2014, 3:09 PM

Sunday, Dec. 14 at 5 p.m. marks the "first pour" at Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant's first Main Line location.

It now fills a former carpet store in Ardmore Plaza (60 Greenfield Ave., 610-228-2280). (For all the chatter and whining about the dearth of parking in that center, know that Iron Hill has struck a deal with the shopping center across the street.)

Iron Hill, a giant in the region, counterbalances Ardmore's tiny Tired Hands Brewing Co.

POSTED: Friday, December 12, 2014, 12:26 AM

In its soft opening days is W/N W/N (also known as WIN WIN), the coffeeshop-slash-bar at 931 Spring Garden St. in the Loft District, the former longtime Siam Lotus.

Ownership is a hodgepodge of local food-and-beverage veterans, including Tony Montagnaro (the opening general manager at Pizza Brain) and Elixr coffee alum Will Darwall.

Right now, it's pretty much a coffee bar with ReAnimator and Elixr-roasted drinks pulled from a La Marzocco machine and a few cocktails and a half-dozen beers on tap. 

POSTED: Thursday, December 11, 2014, 3:55 PM
Roast pork, sharp provolone, spinach from John's Roast Pork.

I've heard of orders "to go," but this one ...

John Bucci has seen a lot in his years behind the counter at John's Roast Pork in South Philadelphia.

Thursday, a customer came in and said his father - a fan of his pork Italian sandwich - had passed away.

POSTED: Thursday, December 11, 2014, 2:52 PM

Combine a retro diner and a newfangled city coffee house and you pretty much have the idea behind Dottie's Dinette, in its first week at 1080 N. Delaware Ave., directly across from SugarHouse Casino's entrance.

There is no phone-book-size menu, explains Jeff Larsen, who with business partners Tim MacColl and Satya Ponnuru are behind the venture. The idea is to do fewer items better - "America's greatest hits," as he calls them.

Susan Vanvreede, who spent seven years in the Garces Group, most recently at Distrito, is chef/manager. She is backed by Garces alum Brandon Hall. They're serving Greenstreet Coffee, Benton's bacon and wagyu beef.

POSTED: Wednesday, December 10, 2014, 12:34 PM
Old Original Bookbinder's at 125 Walnut St. (MICHAEL KLEIN /

Jose Garces has been fairly quiet about his plans for Old Original Bookbinder's in Old City since he signed the lease back in October 2013.

Today, his reps disclosed that he'll call it The Olde Bar and that it's an "interpretation of a classic oyster saloon" with a raw bar built into the original woodwork. Dash Design did the work.

Garces also will host private events in the restaurant, which closed in bankruptcy in 2009.

About this blog
Michael Klein, the editor/producer of, writes about the local restaurant scene in his Inquirer column "Table Talk." Have a question? Email it! See his Inquirer work here. Reach Michael at

Michael Klein
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