Table Talk: Bubblefish offers bubble tea and sushi in Chinatown

Hot tea service at Bubblefish, 909 Arch St.

A family affair

When Xu Lin's father died two years ago, the longtime Chinatown community activist decided it was time to spend more time with his siblings.

His siblings happened to be restaurateurs in Canada.

Lin persuaded his brother Sean, his sister Ping and her husband, Edison Wang, to come to Philadelphia, where last week they opened Bubblefish, a contemporary BYOB in a former shoe store at 909 Arch St. in Chinatown (267-930-7634).

The name combines the specialties: bubble tea and brewed teas (including sea salt tea, which has a creamy whipped salt topping), plus fish, as in sushi and o-nigiri.

Appetizers and hot dishes, such as don (rice bowls), takoyaki, black cod, Taiwanese salt-baked chicken, and red curry shrimp (served with vegetables, rice, and marinated egg), round out the menu. It's open from lunchtime through late night.

What's coming

Chef David Jansen, who left the Four Seasons' Fountain at the end of 2010 after more than two decades to devote more time to his three kids, will open a restaurant in Mount Airy in the spring. Jansen will take the building that housed Avenida and Cresheim Cottage Cafe (7402 Germantown Ave.). He describes Jansen's style as upscale American contemporary with world influences. Though the dining room will be white tablecloth, he insisted the atmosphere would not be stuffy. "And not overly priced," he said. What sold Jansen on the location was the outdoor setup, which backs up to the New Covenant Church.

Jackson Fu and his mother, Jane Guo, of Center City's Jane G's, are headed to 3939 Chestnut St. in University City for their second Chinese restaurant. The still-unnamed restaurant will occupy the site that was Thai Singh House before it moved down the street a year ago. Fu said the menu would include dim sum, as well as Shanghai and Cantonese cuisine "with a little Sichuan."

SpOt Burgers' new home

Josh Kim, whose ketchup-red-and-mustard-yellow SpOt Burgers cart was the hit of the Drexel University campus from 2012 into 2015, backed by friend Fred Bacani, has come in from the cold with a storefront SpOt Burgers, at 2821 W. Girard Ave. in Brewerytown. It's open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday to Sunday.


Joining the new Samwich on the Bella Vista sandwich circuit is Woodrow's Sandwich Shop, which took over the spot at 630 South St. (215-470-3559) last occupied by Hot Diggity. Kevin Kramer, whose resumé includes Capital Grill and Smith & Wollensky, turns out eight varieties. It's sit-down and takeout, open from noon to 8 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.

Briefly noted

MacGregor Mann, chef/owner of Junto near Chadds Ford, will provide food at the restaurant at the nearby Brandywine River Museum, starting in February.

Pig, the pork-focused quick-service at 712 W. Girard Ave., has closed after one month, amid finger-pointing between the operator - Joseph Shilling - and the restaurateur who holds the lease on the space - Nick Farina. Shilling said he hoped to revive the concept elsewhere.

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