A Fish Story: Blackfish Revisited

Blackfish Reviewed | Photo by Samuel Markey

Blackfish Reviewed | Photo by Samuel Markey

The dining room at Blackfish in Conshohocken is white, but not cold. Not icy, the way some white, restaurant-shaped boxes can be. The dark wood floors help. The matching chairs. The colorful spines of cookbooks stacked on a shelf, making the place look like it’s been styled for an Architectural Digest photo shoot, or maybe something from a summer issue of Martha Stewart Living. Not lively, exactly, but alive.

The white ceilings and white tablecloths and white plates make every color pop. The sharp red of garden tomatoes in a summer salad, the green tangles of seaweed on which sit the stony shells of oysters, the rich, textured yellow-brown of a curry sauce puddling around a fist-sized cut of tilefish perfectly golden from the pan: In this sterility of white-on-white, the plates being put out by Chip Roman’s chef de cuisine, Yianni Arhontoulis, and his crew go off like fireworks. The entire restaurant becomes a blank space, and all you can see are the blooms and sparks in front of you. Everything else fades into the background.

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When Your Boss Is Also a Registered Sex Offender

A screenshot of Pennsylvania's Megan's Law website, where Michaela Naughton found her boss Frank Laurenzi on the sex offenders list.

A quick search on Pennsylvania’s Megan’s Law website revealed the hard truth about Frank Laurenzi.

Once a promising young cadet in the police academy, Conshohocken’s Francis “Frank” Laurenzi is now a convicted sex offender. In 2014, at the age of 29, Laurenzi pleaded guilty to statutory sexual assault and sexual abuse of a child. The victim took private ballroom dancing lessons from Laurenzi, and investigators said that he videotaped some of their more than 20 sexual encounters, which occurred when the girl was 14 and 15 and Laurenzi was 27.

Laurenzi will be listed on the Pennsylvania Megan’s Law website for the rest of his life. So does that mean he shouldn’t be able to work at the local pizza parlor? Read more »

Former Borough Manager Sues Conshohocken for Age Discrimination

Former Conshohocken borough manager Francis Marabella (via screenshot)

Former Conshohocken borough manager Francis Marabella (via screenshot)

After Conshohocken’s city council voted unanimously to fire Borough Manager Francis Marabella in 2014, Councilman James Griffin told the press that Marabella just wasn’t doing a good job, or “the right job,” as Griffin more diplomatically put it. But two years later, Marabella has resurfaced with a lawsuit, claiming that the real reason that Conshohocken fired him was that he was getting old. Read more »

We Won’t Be Driving on the Shoulders of the Schuylkill Expressway Anytime Soon

The Schuylkill Expressway westbound at the Conshohocken exit. A proposal to allow driving on the shoulder at peak hours may run into a few roadblocks. Photo | Krimpet via Wikimedia Commons, used under CC-BY-SA-3.0

The Schuylkill Expressway westbound at the Conshohocken exit. A proposal to allow driving on the shoulder at peak hours may run into a few roadblocks. Photo | Krimpet. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

The news earlier this month that PennDOT is considering opening the shoulders of the Schuylkill Expressway to general traffic at peak hours caused a stir in some circles, including ours.

There are indeed a number of people out there, including planners at PennDOT, who see this as a way to speed up traffic on the perennially clogged artery.

But before anyone can even think of traveling in these temporary third lanes, PennDOT has some engineering and design issues it needs to examine first. And PennDOT’s study doesn’t even attempt to answer the question: Is this wise policy to begin with?

Before getting to that question, though, let’s look at the other issues that need to be resolved first. Read more »

Conshohocken Police Shoot Dog Belonging to Terrence Howard’s Brother

Left: Antonio Howard, depicted in a 2011 Times Herald video, being taken into police custody following charges that he threatened police with his large dog. He later pleaded guilty to the charges. Right: Terrence Howard at the FOX TV "Empire" Premiere Event on January 6, 2014 in Los Angeles, California | Joe Seer / Shutterstock.com

Left: Antonio Howard, depicted in a 2011 Times Herald video, being taken into police custody following charges that he threatened police with his large dog. He later pleaded guilty to the charges. Right: Terrence Howard at the FOX TV “Empire” Premiere Event on January 6, 2014 in Los Angeles, California | Joe Seer / Shutterstock.com

Back in 2011, Conshohocken resident Antonio Howard — also known as the brother of actor Terrence Howard — pleaded guilty to threatening Conshohocken police with his large dog when police responded to a domestic disturbance at Howard’s home. And now Conshohocken police tell us that they shot and killed that same dog, which was on the loose in Howard’s neighborhood near the 900 block of Wood Street. Read more »

Blackfish Brings Back Downton Abbey Dinner

Downton-Abbey-Dinner-940Blackfish’s Downton Abbey themed dinner is back on Sunday, March 8th. Inspired by the popular British TV show, chef and owner Chip Roman and his team are creating a meal fit for the Crawleys.

Highlights from Mrs. Patmore’s Roman’s menu include:

  • Smoked Salmon Rillettes with stone ground mustard, crostini
  • Royal Miyagi Oysters with champagne vinegar mignonette
  • Mrs. Patmore’s London Particular with petite pois, smoked ham hock, yorkshire pudding
  • Escargot A La Mrs. Hughes with fermented garlic, parsley, oyster mushroom, grilled bread
  • Downton Estates Wild Boar with stewed barley, madeira, green peppercorn
  • English Eccles Cake with black currant, sweetened yogurt

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Conshohocken Apartment Complex to Break Ground Early Next Year

An office building along the train line in Conshohocken.  Photo credit:  Montgomery County Planning Commission via Flickr.

An office building along the train line in Conshohocken.
Photo credit: Montgomery County Planning Commission via Flickr.

According to Natalie Kostelni at the Philadelphia Business Journal, Mack-Cali Realty Corp. is aiming for an early 2015 groundbreaking for its newly acquired parcel in Conshohocken.

Kostelni says Mack-Cali bought the riverfront property from O’Neill Property Group and already has the 3-plus-acre site at 51 Washington St. approved for 310 apartments. Here’s more from PBJ:  Read more »

Morning Headlines: More Apartments? Conshohocken Just Keeps on Growing

Since last reporting on Conshohocken’s growth spurt (of which millennials appeared to be the underlying driving force), the Montco borough has gone ahead and planned more developments. The Philadelphia Business Journal’s Natalie Kostelni reports that “more than $500 million” will be spent on new construction projects.

These projects, some of which have yet to get official approval, include office development (over 1.27 million square feet), apartments (about 1,000 units), restaurants, a new hotel and “other ancillary amenities demanded by its growing residential and office population.”  
Here are the specifics: Read more »

Morning Headlines: Conshohocken Development Aimed At Younger Residents?

Modern office spaces continue to pop up here and there throughout the city, enticing young professionals who favor shared, open areas at work. However, as Jon Hurdle observes in a New York Times article this morning, Philadelphia isn’t the only place trying to lure in millennials with quotidian urban-living attractions.

Developers in Conshohocken are having a go at it too.

Proving to be prime real estate for developers who see it as having all the right elements for bringing in residents/workers in the 20-to-30-something age range, Conshohocken’s “office hub” reputation appears to be sealed as they seek to develop more of the area. Case in point, a list of new projects, three of which would be on the riverfront:

Four buildings totaling 1.25 million square feet are proposed, in what would be the first big additions to the town’s commercial real estate since the recession.

They are 400 West Elm, a 340,000-square-foot, 10-story structure on a wooded site; Seven Tower Bridge, covering 260,000 square feet on 10 floors; Millennium Four, a 300,000-square-foot project; and One Conshohocken, covering 350,000 square feet. The first three would be built on riverside sites.

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Australian Black Truffle Dinner at Blackfish

black-truffles-blackfish-940

Australian black truffles.

Need we say more?

Tuesday, August 26th, Blackfish invites you to their Australian Black Truffle Dinner. The tasting menu is comprised of four dishes featuring the prized ingredient. Guests will start with duck and truffle rillettes, followed by truffle dumpling, albacore and truffle ballontine and finish with beef and truffle parfait.

The dinner, curated by chef and owner Chip Roman with the help of chef de cuisine, Yianni Arhontoulis is $65 per person.

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