Philadelphia has a branch of Japanese BBQ bar/restaurant Gyu-Kaku, at 1901 Callowhill St. (267-603-9482), in the Granary, across from stalwart Rose Tattoo Cafe, behind the Free Library.
Gyu-Kaku specializes in yakiniku at 23 grill-top tables: Order raw meat, seafood, and/or veggies, and the kitchen will marinate it as desired. The server brings it out, and the customer grills and sauces it. (Or wimps out and has the kitchen cook bibimbap or a noodle dish.) Figure on $25 a person for dinner (nightly), plus alcohol, tax, and tip, though more elaborate prix-fixes start at $70 for two people.
It's a high-ceilinged, industrial space, though two semiprivate rooms are more intimate. The grills vent into the tabletops (and out of the restaurant), so the dining room and clothes remain smoke-free. Each table has its own fire-suppression system.
That's Anthony Pasceri, an alum of Modo Mio and Popolino, cooking everything from scratch in the one-man kitchen of Forcella (310 Old York Rd., Jenkintown, 267-400-6155), arguably eastern Montgomery County's smallest white-tablecloth BYOB: The $45 four-course dinners, served Tuesday to Saturday, go out to only 14 seats. Owners Jose and Jennifer Vargas also own the nearby Leila's Bistro.
A second Estia Greek Taverna is due to open Monday at 222 N. Radnor Chester Rd., Wayne (484-581-7124), a 200-seat offshoot of Center City's Greek destination, Estia, and the twin of an Estia Taverna that opened in March in Marlton. The new location, across from Radnor High's ball fields, has a wraparound patio for outdoor dining surrounded by flowers and greenery, as well as whitewashed stone arches, repurposed wood-plank floors and tabletops, and a full bar. It's open for dinner; lunch and brunch are on the way.
Tria Cafe, a version of the popular Center City wine/cheese/beer-centric bars, will occupy the former Dmitri's at 23d and Pine Streets. Partner Jon Myerow said it would open by the end of the year.
Chef Sylva Senat, who has been developing a restaurant company of his own since leaving Tashan last year, is part of a group that plans to open a still-unnamed restaurant on the site of the long-shuttered Letto Deli at 13th and Chancellor Streets. This one is many months away; the plan is to raze the building and construct a new one.
Three new Tiffins are on the way this fall in New Jersey. Besides one in East Hanover, there are branches of the Indian BYOB due at 1892 Route 70 East, Cherry Hill, and Echo Shoppes on White Horse Road in Voorhees.
The bar Tangier wraps its nearly 32-year run on Monday at 18th and Lombard Streets.
Bella Trattoria ended its run of a dozen years in Manayunk.
A second Union Taco has opened, at 4229 Main St. in Manayunk.
More restaurant news at www.philly.com/mike