If restaurateurs were rock stars (and in Philly, they’re as close as we come), Ben Puchowitz and Shawn Darragh would be vintage R.E.M. Whether they’re slinging ramen with brisket and matzo balls, as at Cheu Noodle Bar, or papering the walls of their new Bing Bing Dim Sum with acid-trip dumpling emojis, they have a knack for twisting a budding trend just far enough to make it unmistakably their own. Read more »
126 S 18th Street
Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby aren’t the first res- taurateurs to summon night- market memories with bare bulbs strung beneath a black ceiling. But the globetrotting vegans behind Vedge have uncorked an unusually pent- up desire for street snacks at this energetic offshoot of their stately mother ship.
But eat here and you can feel how long the pressure’s been building to yank every taco and noodle bowl into the meat-and-dairy-free realm. Read more »
When Ben Puchowitz and Shawn Darragh went to Japan, Darragh says they found it dull. Not the place or the scenery or any of that, really, but the food.
He thought the food in Japan was going to be awesome because pretty much everyone assumes that the food in Japan is going to be awesome. Because its like some kind of mystical fairyland where tekka maki grows on trees and everyone is handed a pound of uni and a handful of weird prawn-flavored candy upon clearing customs. But they were there for three weeks doing research for Cheu Noodle Bar and Bing Bing and found the food just…good.
Hong Kong? To hear him explain it, Hong Kong was a little different. Full of dumplings and good times. While we were sitting around inside their new triangle-shaped dumpling shed at that weird intersection where Morris and 12th cross Passyunk, Darragh reminded me of a conversation we’d had over a year ago–about dumplings and dim sum and Hong Kong. He said he thought we’d all been drinking (which is probably true) and that they’d just come home from their Hong Kong trip. We had, apparently, talked at length and I’d complained, loudly and long, about the lack of great dim sum here in Philly.
What killed Darragh and Puchowitz? They’d just made their decision to move forward with Bing Bing but couldn’t say anything about it yet.
Working towards opening Bing Bing Dim Sum on East Passyunk doesn’t mean Cheu Noodle Bar is stagnating. The Washington Square West noodle shop is showing off six new menu items for the new year. Charred beets and an oyster bun are the new small plates. In the noodle department, Chef Ben Puchowitz is now offering:
Spicy Shrimp Broth – egg noodle, shrimp balls, onion
Short Rib Mazeman – tomatillo, green chile, soft egg
Sichuan – hot bean paste, pea leaves, tofu, sesame
Yakisoba 3.0 – chorizo, mushroom, egg, cilantro
Hot Diggity is kicking off a series of regional sandwich specials. First up is the Chow Mein Sandwich from Fall River, Massachusetts. According to owner Keith Garabedian, the sandwich has been a local classic since the 1930s when it “helped feed thousands of hungry laborers and immigrants.
The sandwich is made with Hot Diggity’s own chow mein, celery, peppers, carrots, scallions, ginger, garlic and soy. The sandwich is available with chicken or vegetables.
Hot Diggity [Foobooz]
The former Lucky Fortune at 932 Race Street is becoming Nan Yang and will open this Saturday. Last night, the above sign was being installed. The new restaurant will serve Singaporean and Thai food and will be open till 4 a.m. on weekends.
In fact, in a random email we received the following images:
In Philly, Southeast Asian flavors are the gift that keeps on giving. In Point Breeze, South Philly and Chinatown, along Washington Avenue and even out in the ’burbs, there are enclaves whose composition and abstract representation of geopolitical borders are constantly shifting and changing. This means Thai and Laotian food on traditionally Vietnamese-heavy blocks, and awe-inspiring Malaysian food in Chinatown. It also means a deepening and broadening of available flavors, so if you’re looking to explore the subtle differences between Malaysian and Indonesian food, Vietnamese that goes beyond a bowl of pho, or Thai more complicated (and delicious) than a simple plate of pad Thai, there are many options.
Susanna Foo’s return to Center City now has an address. A liquor license application recently appeared at 1720 Sansom Street and the application is in the name of Susanna Foo. The former home of Genji has long been shuttered, and also suffered a fire. This morning, the sounds of hammers was clear as renovations are already underway. 1720 Sansom Street is a two-floor space with 1,935 square feet on the ground floor and an additional 1,636 available in the basement for storage and refrigeration. Foo will reunite with her longtime chef Anne Coll, who left Meritage earlier this year at the new restaurant. No word on an opening date, and according to Michael Klein, he’s hearing the name will be Suga. Foo left Center City back in 2009 after a praise-filled run on Walnut Street. The new location will be under three blocks from her original downtown Susanna Foo. She also still owns Susanna Foo Gourmet Kitchen in Radnor. Suga [Foobooz]
Cheu Noodle Bar is now serving its dinner menu for lunch and dinner. That means buns, pigtails and Cheu fries all day.
The popular Washington Square West restaurant has also added several new noodle dishes to its menu.
- Sour Broth – ground pork, fermented onion, flat noodle
- Yakisoba 2.0 – shrimps, shiso verde, charred corn, radish
- Cold Sesame 2.0 – tahini, yuba, marinated egg, cucumber
And the good news keeps on coming. Cheu will now be opening at noon on Saturdays and Sundays.
I did not make it to Hai Street Kitchen & Co. yesterday for the free maki rolls. However, occasional Foobooz contributor Fidel Gastro did brave the line. Check out his story on the line and the roll on his own blog.
Today, curiosity was too much to resist, even at 1:10 p.m. when the line stretched beyond the front door. Nineteen minutes later I had my custom roll and headed back to the office to critique and eat.
I went with a custom roll of flank steak (it was pink in the center of the slices and just looked too good to pass up), spicy gochujang sauce, wasabi guacamole sauce, romaine, carrot and red cabbage. It was finished with a shaker shake of fried garlic flakes. The roll was $8.99 for the steak plus another 99¢ for the wasabi guac.