Table Talk: Jewish foods of the world

At a corner table at Abe Fisher, co-owner Steve Cook (left) plays straight man while business partner Michael Solomonov whispers sweet nothings in the ear of chef Yehuda Sichel.

Having brought modern Israeli cuisine to Philadelphia at Zahav, Steve Cook and Michael Solomonov are focusing on Jewish cuisine from the rest of the world at the contemporary Abe Fisher, at 1623 Sansom St. (215-867-0088), next to their new hummus shop, Dizengoff.

Yehuda Sichel, a Zahav veteran who won great notices when CookNSolo ran the kosher Citron & Rose in Merion Station, is billed as co-chef with Solomonov.

The menu of small plates is divided into dishes based on vegetable ($10), fish ($12), and meat ($14). The idea is to choose one item from each category, plus a dessert, to create a $39 prix-fixe.

Bubbe's cooking it's not. Opening menu includes borscht tartare (beets, trout roe, sour cream and onion potato chips, and hard-cooked egg); salmon belly gravlax (smoked salmon hash, peppadews, and capers); and - seriously - veal schnitzel tacos.

The bar serves cocktails, 17 wines by the glass ($12 a throw), and bottled beers. Open nightly. See photos here.


Trattoria Moma in Mount Airy

Bledar Istrefi, who last winter sold his interest in the still-operating Il Polpo in Northeast Philadelphia, has surfaced in Mount Airy with Trattoria Moma (7131 Germantown Ave., 267-437-3838), assuming the storefront occupied for years by Umbria, across from Earth Bread + Brewery.

Istrefi, former chef at Bellini Grill in Center City, installed downtown polish at his white-tablecloth BYOB. Dinner entrées are mostly in the teens, with a gust to $25 for the branzino. Istrefi bakes his own bread and makes his own desserts. Like the chefs at many Italian restaurants, Istrefi is Albanian by birth and picked up the cuisine after immigrating to Italy.

Moma is open Tuesday to Saturday for lunch, Tuesday to Sunday for dinner. Photos are here.


What's coming

Restaurateurs Marcie Turney and Valerie Safran have assigned Bud & Marilyn's as the name of their next spot, serving old-fashioned American cuisine, expected to occupy the corner of 13th and Locust Streets by year's end. Last fall, they opened Nonna's in the same building, the Independent Hotel. Bud & Marilyn's is named after Turney's grandparents, Bud and Marilyn Briese, who in 1950 opened the Spot in Ripon, Wis. After Bud died in 1987, Marilyn ran it till 1990. She died two months ago at age 93.

Chris Scarduzio, tired of commuting hither and yon at 48, is consolidating his business world as his steak house Scarduzio's closed with the shutdown of Showboat in Atlantic City. He has given notice to Caesars in Atlantic City that he wants to close Mia's. He also won't join developers Steve and Tamar Olitsky on a planned bistro at 12th and Morris Streets in South Philadelphia. His next move: developing a restaurant in Newtown Square for Alberto Guadagnini, his friend for decades. Over the last 40 years, Guadagnini has owned San Marco in Center City, Ristorante Alberto in Bala Cynwyd, La Collina in Belmont Hills, and Villa Strafford in Wayne. He now owns Teca in West Chester with his son, Roberto. The property, at 191 S. Newtown Street Rd., is 12 minutes from Scarduzio's house. Scarduzio said the Newtown Square project, modeled on Guadagnini's Tuscan villa/winery, is due to open this fall.


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