WokWorks: Fast Asian-style flavors in Rittenhouse

WokWorks at 1935 Chestnut St.

Brennan Foxman waited tables while studying economics at Tulane University.

For six months, he lived in Amsterdam, where he fell in love with Asian food hot off a wok.

Back in the States, "I hate to be blunt, but I've found either poor-quality Asian from a takeout or high-quality restaurant food," he said.

At age 22, he wants to meld the two - quality food done fast - at WokWorks (1935 Chestnut St., 215-644-9127), where Pure Tacos was.

Foxman is no chef. He hired Allen Susser, who won the James Beard Award for best chef, Southeast, in 1994, to develop the menu.

Wokworks' cook-to-order setup is much like the nearby hits Agno Grill and honeygrow: You join the queue, choose a noodle/rice/quinoa (carrots, cabbage, bean sprout, onion and free-range egg make up the base), pick a protein, add vegetable, if desired, and finish with one of eight sauces.

A small dining area contains a green wall.

The menu also includes buns, dumplings, sides (my own favorite is the maple caramelized squash), house-made pickles, miso soup and a crunchy Thai salad.

Foxman said he is aiming to some extent at the $10 luncher, though prices add up. Figure on $6 for the base noodles or rice, plus $2 or $3 for a nonetheless generous portion of protein, and $1 for each vegetable.

It's open from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily Monday to Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday.