We go way up to the 52nd floor this week to scope out Philly’s highest public restaurant, and then hit the streets of South Philly for Cambodian food and Fishtown for a lunchtime surprise. Also this week comes word of a true happy-hour bargain near Rittenhouse Square.
We're all about high times — that is, dining with a view. Since Top of Centre Square on the 41st floor of Centre Square closed a quarter-century ago, the city's top tables have been those at R2L, Daniel Stern's sleek American on the 37th floor of Two Liberty Place.
We're moving up. This summer, chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten will open the sumptuous Jean-Georges on the 59th floor of the new Comcast Technology Center, with its Sky High lounge on 60.
In the meantime, there's a new top perch: the Pyramid Club, on the 52nd floor of the BNY Mellon Center at 1735 Market St. Since 1993, it has been private, opening its meeting facilities, dining, and mesmerizing views only to members. But just this week, it opened to the general public for dinner Tuesday to Friday via OpenTable. (You might even be able to snag a Valentine's res.)
The Pyramid is undergoing a food-and-beverage rebirth under new chef Sylva Senat, who made his mark here at Tashan and then at Maison 208, and general manager Kevin Keys, who ran the show at such posh spots as Le Bec-Fin, the Union League, and Jansen. Rock-solid wine list, as befits a club whose members generally eschew the likes of Yellowtail.
The current four-course tasting menu ($75, with wine pairings available) includes foie gras mousse toast, Thai basil risotto with wild mushroom and Parmesan froth, braised Kurobuta pork shank, and vegan caponata. There also is an a la carte menu.
Why open to the public? Management is looking to lure new members as Philly’s private-club scene is ramping up, inspired by this spring’s opening of the Fitler Club at 2400 Market St.
Angelo's Pizza | South Philadelphia
South Philly-style pizzas and sandwiches are back at this new takeout at 736 S. Ninth St., up the block from Ralph's and Sarcone's Bakery. A smoldering fire in a floor joist forced the closing of the shop for a week.
Crunchik'n | Washington Square West
Now soft-open (well, crunchy, to be honest): a Korean snack shop featuring juicy Korean fried chicken, at 212 S. 11th St.
Pink's Hot Dogs | King of Prussia
The L.A.-based celeb hangout has set up a branch at the Savor food court at KoP Mall.
Pyramid Club | Logan Square
Tu's Tea & Banh Mi | South Philadelphia
The Washington Avenue location of this Vietnamese cafe, known for its bubble tea served in cups resembling a light club, is shuttered. Another Asian cafe is on the way.
Twenty Manning Grill, 261 S. 20th St., 4-7 p.m. Sunday-Thursday
Say "five bucks for food" in the same sentence as "Rittenhouse Square" and, well, now you're talking about a deal. TMG's new happy-hour menu lists nine dishes, including chef Michael Yeamans' signature appetizers such as the South Philly wontons (which are fried creations filled with pork, broccoli rabe, roasted long hots, and sharp provolone), chicken satay, deviled eggs, and spicy calamari. He's also offering a crispy chicken sandwich, which he changes weekly. Right now it's Nashville-style hot chicken, whose juicy breast is topped with lettuce, ranch dressing, Cheddar, and pickles on a potato roll.
On the drink side: Two $4 beers, two $7 wines, and $5 well cocktails.
By the way: With the temporary closing of the nearby Rouge (renovations should be finished inside of a month), you can get the signature Rouge burger at Twenty Manning Grill. Yeamans has the fixins for a dozen of them a day.
La Colombe, 1335 Frankford Ave.
As a coffee enthusiast, I order my espresso at La Colombe's stylish flagship cafe (1335 Frankford Ave.) and move on. But finally, curiosity got the best of me. The food menu, which starts in the morning with breakfast (pastries, etc.) and adds more dishes over lunchtime and later, is intriguing. Certainly it's beyond burgers or turkey sandwiches or boring salads.
Take the wood-fired carrots ($10), which mix the hearty root veggie with tart winter radish and shaved celery, a sweet-tart candied lemon, black sesame seeds, and a ring of hummus. Or the house-cured salmon platter ($9), a sort of deconstructed bagel sandwich with sour cream, pickled red onion, capers, and dill oil, served with crustini. Or the cheekily named French drip ($12), a riff on the French dip with roast beef, caramelized onions, Cheddar, horseradish, sour cream, and watercress on baguette.
Hours: 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 7 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Sophie's Kitchen, 522 Washington Ave., 215-271-0888
The eastern end of Washington Avenue in South Philadelphia has all sorts of Southeast Asian cuisine. A few months ago, it picked up the Cambodian stylings of Sophia Neth, who used to own Khmer Kitchen, which closed last year a mile away in Southwark. Neth's cooking balances sweet and sour, mild and wild.
She and son Jordan Chan are now set up in the corner space at Randolph and Washington that formerly housed Lee's Cafe, also offering takeout on the first floor (which has one table) and a simple dining room on the second floor. Sweet staff eagerly go the extra few minutes to walk you through the menu.
Specialty here are the sautéed dishes, served with jasmine rice. Loc lak is a stir fry (available with chicken for $12 or the usual beef for $14) served with onions, cucumbers, and tomatoes, and a sauce of lime juice, salt and pepper. Cha kroeung, which you can get with chicken, beef, pork, even quail and frog's legs ($11-$16), mixes bell pepper, celery, holy basil, and the lemongrass-chili-infused condiment paste known as kroeung. Neth can dial the heat up or down.
There's no menu online, or much of a web presence, for that matter.
Hours: 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday and Tuesday.
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