Thursday, May 10, 2007

Eating the Illadelph: Oh Baby, We Like It Raw Edition

Parkway Cafe rendering[ Eating The Illadelph is a semi-regular, digest-like feature on noteworthy developments from the world of food in Philadelphia, typically combining remainders into a consumable whole, not so unlike Scrapple itself. ]

— At last we heard, the Center City District is moving forward with its plans of building a mini-visitor center and café on Benjamin Franklin Parkway at 16th Street (not at Love Park’s flying saucer building or rendered above). City Council gave the CCD permission to build a new pavilion on a small triangle of land just south of the new Mexican Post. The CCD wants to have it open by fall, offering “a European-style amenity to the Parkway.” Hopefully it’s more on par with a Shake Shack and less like an Aramark concession. (Incidentally, you should also check out Paul Levy’s recent 100th anniversary presentation on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway as he and the CCD continue their heroic struggle to keep Philadelphia from sucking.) [ KYW 1060 ]

Don’t look now but there will shortly be some new faces serving raw fish around town.

— Old Original Bookbinder’s has added sushi to their offerings. That’s right, “Bookie’s” is now serving sushi. They’ve even got a sushi bar… complete with a real live sushi chef perched behind it. [ Official Site ]

XIX Raw— Meanwhile, Nineteen at the Bellevue has just announced the addition of XIX Raw, a new selection of seafood dishes featuring raw fish that will go beyond the already extensive offerings of their raw bar. It won’t be sushi, however, but instead new and distinct creations of raw seafood and sweet, sour and spicy flavors that change daily. Think Big Eye Tuna with potato salad, quail egg and caper-anchovy vinaigrette (at right) or Diver Scallop with basil, tomato, avocado and curry oil. Admittedly intrigued.
[ Official Site ]

— Zen Setsu, a new Japanese restaurant, will be taking over the Smoked Joint’s old digs at 15th and Locust this summer. We wish Zen luck but can’t help but feel that the location, up a set of stairs and in the Academy House’s first floor, puts them at an immediate disadvantage. [ Zagat Buzz ]

— Bobby Chez, the crab cake guru from New Jersey, will soon open two locations in Philadelphia. The first is slated to open in a few months in one of the retail spaces in the first floor of The Lofts at 1352 South Street.
OMG INBD. [ Official Site ]

— Two recent Philly hits on the Times’ Frank Bruni Diner’s Journal blog talked about Jose Garces' Amada and John’s Roast Pork, where, at the latter, Frank ran into some classic South Philly hospitality. But more importantly, the posts revealed that Bruni was in town working on an upcoming piece about Philadelphia restaurants for the Times. Should be interesting to see how he rates Philadelphia and her recent progress, especially after the glowing piece in June’s Food & Wine, in which the mag’s Editor in Chief had to reasses her definition of a great food town after taking a closer look at Philadelphia, declaring her love for the abundance of restaurants here that make excellent eating incredibly accessible everday and professing that “there are now more places I want to try in Philadelphia than in New York.” Not too shabby. Mr. Bruni — your move. [ Diner’s Journal ]

— Speaking of John's Roast Pork, they are once again giving Saturday hours a try, which is nothing less than spectacular news for those of us stuck behind a desk during the week. They're now open 9am - 4pm on Saturdays. Frank's slight of the namesake sandwich notwithstanding, we'll be enjoying some John's rather shortly, thank you very much. And our roast pork will surely be a large. [ Official Site ]

— And we'd like to offer a somewhat belated welcome to the new Philadelphia MenuPages Blog, an excellent addition to Philadelphia's set of food-centric blogs. Well done. [ Official Site ]

OK, kids, that's it for now.

Vote Nutter.

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