Noord team branching out
Chef Joncarl Lachman and Bob Moysan of the Passyunk Square hit Noord have ventured farther south (culinarily) as they've headed a new blocks north (physically) to open a second restaurant.
Restaurant Neuf (943 S. Ninth St., 215-309-5847) offers dishes from southern France and north Africa in the distinctive Italian Market storefront that formerly housed the restaurant 943.
Lachman's menu is studded with such seldom-seen-locally dishes as shakshuka, pan-roasted squab, a mutton burger, and the heady, cumin-scented Tunisian beef stew known as kamounia. There are sharing dishes, including tagines and bouillabaisse. Most entrée prices are in the mid-$20s. Jesse Cornell's bar list reflects the geography.
The dining room has been tightened up with the addition of the bar and closing of the open kitchen. Linen table runners warm up the wooden tables. Moysan is behind a novel counter set up against a wall near the bar. He photographed his collection of miniature liquor bottles and then printed the photo into a wide display that fools the eye. The counter is topped with an angled mirror. Neuf is open initially for dinner Tuesday to Sunday. Brunch is on the way.
Cichonski at Xfinity Live
Chef Jason Cichonski, a partner at Old City's Gaslight and Queen Village's Ela, is heading the kitchen at the new 1100 Social at Xfinity Live, the former Spectrum Grill. Cichonski was given a free hand to create the bar-friendly menu. It features Mexican and Asian dishes and combinations thereof: Most dishes (such as the street corn and Korean meatballs) have clear roots. The fun is in the fusion: chipotle-tamarind BBQ spare ribs are topped with peanuts. "Mariachi Dragon Club" guacamole features large chunks of pork belly, plus corn, kimchi salsa, and black truffle créme. Open daily.
Justin Timsit, the Rittenhouse Hotel's wine director, has been awarded the rank of advanced sommelier by the Court of Master Sommeliers. The organization says he's only the third advanced sommelier working in Pennsylvania and among only 292 sommeliers nationwide. Timsit, 30, nailed a perfect score in his introductory sommelier exam and passed the second level a short time later. His nickname around the hotel is Blue Ranger - because as a preteen actor, he played "young Billy" on the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers series.
Heirloom's 3½-year run at the top of Chestnut Hill has come to a close. Owners of the regional American BYOB run the nearby Paris Bistro and Green Soul in Chestnut Hill and new South Kitchen & Jazz Parlor at 600 N. Broad St. Heirloom chef Paul Martin has moved to SOUTH Kitchen & Jazz Parlor. Gift cards will be honored at the other restaurants.
Tamarindo's, for more than 16 years a Mexican favorite in the Blue Bell/Broad Axe/Ambler area, has closed its home in anticipation of its move to Flourtown. Owner Fernando Sauri expects to open this month in a stone house near Valley Green Road, at 726 Bethlehem Pike.
La Citadelle, the cafe at 16th and Pine Streets since early 2007, is now vacant.
More restaurant news at www.philly.com/mike.