Restaurant Review: Abe Fisher and Dizengoff

Photos by Jason Varney

Abe Fisher | Photos by Jason Varney

On the first evening of Rosh Hashanah this year, BuzzFeed posted a video called “The Jewish Food Taste Test.” In it, Gentiles sample iconic Ashkenazi dishes. Gefilte fish comes first. “It’s like a cold sausage with sour paste on the top,” one goy cringes. “I’m not quite sure what meat it is,” confesses a hoodie-clad Asian dude. A vaguely Nordic-looking hipster delivers the kicker: “It tastes like a grocery store smells.” Suffice it to say that these people were not eating the gefilte fish on offer at Abe Fisher.

Chef Yehuda Sichel, a longtime loyalist of Abe Fisher co-owner Michael Solomonov, stuffs rainbow trout with a delicately nutty forcemeat of striped bass, smoked trout, walnuts and matzo. After poaching the trout whole, he cuts them into what amount to three-inch-thick boneless steaks, crisps the skin, and glazes them with a sweet reduction of carrot juice and port wine. Smoked Hungarian pepper wafts from a slaw of carrot shreds and pickled raisins piled on one side. Underneath it all is a subtly mustardy puree of butter-roasted carrots, accented with horseradish—lest anyone complain that the “sour paste” is missing.

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SPOTTED: Questlove at Abe Fisher

Stopped by #AbeFisher during the @Forbes #30Under30Summit its a must experience if you like fine dining in #Philadelphia

A photo posted by Questlove Gomez (@questlove) on


Questlove was back in his hometown yesterday for Forbes Under 30 Summit and stopped in for a meal at Abe Fisher. Questlove is quite the food aficionado also ate a fried chicken and waffle ice cream sandwich at the summit yesterday.

Abe Fisher [Foobooz]

How Israel Got Huge

Lunch rush at Dizengoff | Photo by Michael Persico

Lunch rush at Dizengoff | Photo by Michael Persico

You’ve got to understand something about Israeli cuisine right from the start: It’s not something that existed in the American consciousness a few years ago.

Really, it’s not something that exists there now. Not in most places. You’ll find a few spots in and around New York where Israeli dishes get to shine. And there have always been delis where you could get your brisket and your matzo ball soup, but that’s more about Jewish cuisine than it is Israeli. Like the thing about thumbs and fingers, all Israeli restaurants are Jewish but not all Jewish restaurants are Israeli.

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Nirvana at Abe Fisher – Praise for the Montreal-Smoked Short Ribs

The Montreal-smoked short ribs at Abe Fisher

The Montreal-smoked short ribs at Abe Fisher

Food Republic’s Matt Rodbard has been a fan of Zahav and its lamb shoulder for some time now. But now he might have a new favorite dish in town, the Montreal-smoked short ribs at Abe Fisher.

Yes, the result is tender. Incredibly tender, in a way that an unctuous short rib should be after this much love and attention (the tougher brisket cut is the typical protein used in this type of smoking). But it’s also deeply smoked and sliced perfectly to reveal a shade of prime rib pink I’d never seen with smoked meat. Our party of five ate in near-silence (the poor vegetarian sixth was left hanging for the eight minutes it took us to polish off the platters — there were two of them involved).

An order of the Montreal-smoked short ribs at Abe Fisher feeds four and is served up with rye bread and garnishes. There are currently only two orders available a night, so make your reservations for early.

Philadelphia Restaurant Abe Fisher Has Possibly Achieved Smoked Meat Nirvana [Food Republic]
Abe Fisher [Foobooz]

Abe Fisher Wants You to be Happy

abe-fisher-barAbe Fisher is introducing a Happy Hour  with $7 plates, wines by the glass, and cocktails. Since Abe’s cheapest plates are $10 apiece and the bar serves cocktails and wines priced at $12 each, this is a pretty good deal.

Abe’s cocktail list includes drinks such as The Abe Fisher Cocktail (Beefeater 24, Dolin dry, Dolin blanc and dill pickle juice), Sherry Bobbins (Corralejo Blanco, Lillet, celery, honey and lemon), and The Cherry Orchard (vodka, maraschino liqueur, sour cherry, lime and orange bitters).

Happy Hour here is an actual hour (5-6 p.m.), but on the upside, it run seven days a week.

Abe Fisher [Foobooz]

Check Out Abe Fisher for Restaurant Week

abe-fisher-sweet-sour-meatballs-squareSometimes the options on a Restaurant Week menu can be disappointing. But that’s not the case at the brand new Abe Fisher. Like at Zahav and Percy Street Barbecue (two eat for $35), Mike Solomonov is using Restaurant Week to showcase what his restaurants can do. In fact, Abe Fisher is throwing in an extra fourth dish for the typical $35 Restaurant Week menu. And most of the dishes that we’ve had our eye on from the opening menu are available. Even better, since the restaurant has just gone online at OpenTable, plenty of reservations remain.

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The Menu at Abe Fisher

abe-fisher-logoMichael Solomonov’s Abe Fisher will be opening on Tuesday, September 2nd. Co-owner Steven Cook says “everything from Montreal-style smoked meat and Ukrainian borscht to the American Jewish tradition of Chinese food on Christmas is fair game” for the restaurant that celebrates the Jewish Diaspora.

The Sansom Street restaurant next to Cook+Solo’s Dizengoff and across from Federal Donuts will have seating for 50 plus a full-service bar that seats ten. Two kitchen counter seats will offer a front row view of the action on the line. These seats will be available nightly for walk-in guests.

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Michael Solomonov’s Dizengoff Opens August 11th

dizengoff-squareDizengoff, Michael Solomonov’s hummusiya will open on Monday, Augst 11th at 10:30 a.m. The spot at 1625 Sansom Street will serve four varieties of housemade hummus, freshly baked pita and seasonal salatim. The plates range from $9 to $11 and all include two pitot (the plural of pita), two seasonal salatim and Israeli pickles. The 25-seat hummusiya is named for the boulevard in Tel Aviv and will also offer a variety of non-alcoholic drinks including frozen Lemonanna, Coke, Diet Coke and San Pellegrino Pompelmo. A rotating selection of craft brews will also be available as 12-oz. drafts for $4 each. Solomonov, who says “we’ve always known that we wanted to open a hummusiya similar to the ones you find everywhere in Israel.” “We make our hummus so often throughout the day, it’s never even refrigerated.” Abe Fisher, the next door restaurant “inspired by the Jewish Diaspora” is also moving towards completion date and should open by September 7. Check out the menu » 

This Fall: Center City Restaurant Week (With Some New Additions)

ccdrw0914_mainpageThe 11th Center City Fall Restaurant Week has set a date and added some new restaurants to the mix. For two weeks – September 7th to the 12th and September 14th to the 19th – enjoy some of Center City’s popular dining destinations at discounted prices. The deal remains the same, $35 for dinner and $20 for restaurants participating during lunch.

Newbies on the list are Cook & Solo’s newest restaurant Abe Fisher, which will feature Jewish diaspora cuisine; 4 Fathers; Bank & Bourbon for your traditional American fare fixin'; ChopsFoobooz approved Entrée BYOB; High Street on Market; Mixto to satisfy your Cuban cravings; Society Hill Society and Stella Rossa.

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Steven Cook and Michael Solomonov Opening Two New Restaurants

 

Photo by Steve Legato

Photo by Steve Legato

Steven Cook and Michael Solomonov who have gifted us with Federal Donuts, Percy Street Barbecue and Zahav have two new restaurants planned for early 2014. Both will open opposite Federal Donuts on the 1600 block of Sansom Street.

Dizengoff, a casual hummusiya will offer varieties of hummus with fresh pita, condiments and pickles. The 25-seat space will offer a select beer list and be open seven days a week. The restaurant is named for Dizengoff Street, a major Tel Aviv boulevard and the restaurant will be modeled after the hummus spots found all over Israel.

Abe Fisher promises to be “an approachable restaurant serving the cuisine of the Jewish diaspora.” Solomonov says the food will be inspired by “the foods and dishes found in the Jewish communities outside of Israel, from Montreal and New York, to France, Hungary and Italy.”

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