Roasters' new cafes; best Center City sushi
Here is an excerpt from Craig LaBan's online chat:
Craig LaBan: Philly's coffee world continues to perk, as two of our newest roasters, Green Street Coffee and ReAnimator, both opened signature cafes recently. Haven't been to ReAnimator's new Fishtown digs, but I've been loving G-Street's spot at 11th and Spruce, where the sleek industrial design makes the most of a tight space; really stepped up its coffee, too, with single-varietals that shine when brewed to order on the Chemex.
Reader: How do you feel about Elixr?
C.L.: LOVE Elixr! To me, along with Ultimo, it's pretty much the gold standard for hand-poured coffee in town. They manage to get so much complexity out of the beans they brew. And I love the industrial-chic space of their new location (Sydenham Street between Walnut and Locust). Reader: Bhodi coffee is my favorite in the city-ever been?
C.L: Yes, I love Bodhi, too. They make one of the best capucccinos in town.
Reader: Sorry to hear Townsend Wentz leaves McCrossen's Tavern. Any gastropub to recommend near the Art Museum?
C.L.: Townsend's a real talent and did a lot to put McCrossen's back on the map. I'm not surprised he's going off to a still as-of-yet undecided location for fine dining in CC. He's one of a few Four Seasons vets who dropped out of fine-dining and found themselves working in gastropubs and BYOs. Perhaps we've turned a corner economy-wise, and the public is ready to embrace something more refined. Either way, our scene is improved by taverns like McCrossen's, the best pub in the Callowhill neighborhood, as far I as I was concerned. Now, there's also new Pizzeria Vetri for a casual option, to go with Doma and Sabrina's on Callowhill. For other gastropubs, head north of Spring Garden to Lemon Hill, Bridgid's, the Belgian Cafe, St. Stephen's Green.
Reader: What's the best sushi in Center City?
C.L.: Still Morimoto, but Zama's not far behind. Both great places, but we really need some fresh energy in the ambitious sushi category. Maybe the economy is to blame for the last few years - but hopefully, that will change soon! My old favorite, Fuji in Haddonfield, meanwhile, may be the best of all.
Reader: Come on already - when can we expect a Serpico review?!
C.L.: Sept. 29. Already been, done my interviews. This Sunday, I review Tiffin Bistro first.
Reader: I have never been to Eataly, but I'm wondering if we still need Eataly when we have Di Bruno's. What's your take?
C.L.: Well, we'd be lost without Di Bruno's. It's an institution I cherish. But Eataly is something else. Bigger. More comprehensive. And the one in New York includes various themed restaurants (pizza/pasta; fish; meat; vegetables) plus a rooftop Italian beer garden, that pretty much trumps anything we have at the moment. Not sure what kind of Eataly would materialize here - but I think there's more than enough room for both DB's and Eataly in this town.
Reader: Your favorite BYOB in the city now?
C.L.: Whoa . . . too many old favorites and different concepts to name just one. I can tell you my favorite BYO to open this year so far, however: Noord, Joncarl Lachman's updated Dutch cafe off East Passyunk. One of the more original concepts to open here in a while - done with such heart and absence of airs, I think it's going to have a nice long run.