Restaurant Review: Aldine

Photos by Courtney Apple

Photos by Courtney Apple

Everyone knows that opening a restaurant is the surest path to an empty checking account, but George and Jennifer Sabatino know better. For truly shredding your bankroll, nothing beats not opening a restaurant — as the couple spent an agonizing year doing before the first customers finally came to Aldine in October.

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Aldine Launches Tasting Menu

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Two of the Sabatino’s dogs | Emily Teel

In the run-up to George Sabatino’s Aldine, the chef promised a tasting-menu dining option. But when the restaurant opened a couple of months back it was a la carte only. Now, Sabatino has rolled out his first tasting menu. The five-course dinner is $55 per person and a drink pairing is available for $30.

Aldine has also rolled out something else, bread! Sabatino posted to Instagram his sourdough Parker rolls with coffee salt.

The tasting menu »

Jose Pistola’s Gets a New Sign

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On December 30th, Jose Pistola’s got a new sign. The neon sign was delivered, installed and illuminated in just a few hours. Now when you’re looking for Pistola’s, you won’t have to say it is just across from Howl at the Moon or just down from Applebees.

The sign is designed to resemble the Lorelei Lounge sign that hung on the building in the 1960s.

Some sign puns and a look at the Lorelei Lounge sign »

Gran Caffe L’Aquila Is Indeed Grand

gelato-gran-caffe-laquilla-940Gran Caffe L’Aquila opened a week ago at 1716 Chestnut Street. The bi-level space is open from morning to night, offering Italian coffee, pastries, gelato, panini, wine and more. The restaurant shares more than just the name with the Abruzzo Gran Caffe L’Aquila. Local restaurateur Riccardo Longo has brought in World Cup of Gelato winner Stefano Biasini and Michele Morelli in on the project. They ran the Gran Caffe in L’Aquila, Italy, that was heavily damaged by an earthquake in 2009.

Upon entering the downstairs space you’re greeted with a gelato counter with 24 flavors. Beyond that is a coffee and pastries bar, followed by a panini case. Next to those options are the drinks and the cashier. In the back is an Italian-style (no seats) bar for enjoying wine and a bite. The opposite wall offers seating in two-and-four-tops.

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Aldine Offering Three NYE Options

Photo by Emily Teel

Photo by Emily Teel

George Sabatino’s Aldine is offering three tasting menus on New Year’s Eve. The first seating at 5:30 p.m. is three-courses and $55 per person. The second seating is at 7:30 p.m. and features a special four-course tasting menu for $75 per person. The final seating is at 9:30 p.m. and includes the $100 per person dinner will feature five-courses of primo ingredients like uni, foie gras and lobster.  A Champagne toast will also happen at midnight.

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One Liberty Place Getting Observation Deck and Restaurant

Liberty PLACE-JEFF-FUSCO-400One Liberty Place is getting an observation deck and that’s just part of the story. In a big presser yesterday, Mayor Michael Nutter announced that Montparnasse 56 Group (M 56) would operate the observation deck on the 57th floor of Philadelphia’s second tallest building (until Comcast’s Innovation and Technology Center opens in 2017). What wasn’t widely reported but was picked up by HughE Dillon, is that in addition to the cafe at the observation deck level, a restaurant will go in on the 58th floor.

The restaurant will open after the observation deck debuts in the summer of 2015 but it will eclipse Two Liberty Place’s R2L as the highest restaurant in the city. At least until the Four Season’s restaurant debuts in the new Comcast tower.

No details on what kind of restaurant it would be and who would run it.

Details of the New Observation Tower at Liberty One – Press Conference with the Principles, views, cafe news and more [Philly Chit Chat]

Famous 4th Street Deli on 19th Is Under New Ownership

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This morning, HughE Dillon tipped us off that the sign at the Original Famous 4th Street Deli on 19th Street was being replaced with a “Kaufmans” sign. A worker inside the deli says that the business is under new ownership but the menu remains the same. However, she wasn’t able to shed any light on who the new owner is (Update below).

A call to the original Original Famous 4th Street Deli at 4th and Bainbridge verified that only the 19th Street location has been affected by the sale and business continues as usual.

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Abe Fisher Gets Three Bells

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Photo via Abe Fisher

Craig LaBan is back on Sansom Street, just weeks after giving Dizengoff three bells, to test out Michael Solomonov’s Ashkenazic restaurant, Abe Fisher. LaBan is a fan of just about everything, from the pastrami smoked short rib to the bacon tinged take on the egg cream.

But Abe proved its worth in many ways. The uniquely creative menu is bolstered by outgoing, informed service. The excellent drink program was thoughtfully conceived, from well-crafted theme cocktails (the beet-stained and rummy Nobody Expects the Spanish Inquisition) to its $12 Cruvinet pours of intriguing food-friendly wines, from grenache blanc to bobal and negrette. This is easily one of the year’s most distinctive, well-rounded, and ambitious openings.

Three Bells – Excellent

Read Trey Popp’s review of Abe Fisher and Dizengoff from December’s Philadelphia magazine.

Abe Fisher [Philadelphia Inquirer]
Abe Fisher [Foobooz]

Tale of the Tape: Steve’s Steaks – Center City

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Whenever Pat’s and Geno’s Steaks are mentioned, undoubtedly someone will weigh in with the seemingly erudite argument that they don’t pick a winner between those geographic rivals, but rather they prefer Steve’s Steaks. The Philadelphia cheesesteak joint has been Northeast Philadelphia royalty since opening in the early 1980s. In March of 2013, Steve’s opened a branch of cheesesteak kingdom at 16th and Chestnut Streets in Center City Philadelphia.

Today, we measured how Steve’s Prince of Steaks stacked up against the best cheesesteaks in Philadelphia.

The tale of the tape »

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