For One Night, Kanella Returns to Spruce Street

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Kanella chef de cuisine Evan Butkovsky at COOK.

The Washington Square West neighborhood has missed Kanella since the Cypriot restaurant closed to move to Queen Village at the end of May. Chef/owner Konstantinos Pitsillides should open the new location within four weeks or so. But, WashWest is getting a taste of Kanella once again.

Kanella’s chef de cuisine Evan Butkovsky is joining up with Mercato’s Ryan McQuillan for a collaborative dinner on Tuesday, July, 28th. The Greek/Cypriot and Italian inspired tasting dinner (one sea, one people) will be held at Mercato, and will consist of three courses for $30.

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Act Two: Parlor Reviewed

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Trio of pizzas at the Parlor | Photo by Danya Henninger

Confession of a city critic: Whenever I have to schlep out to the suburbs, I can’t help but grit my teeth. Expectations drop beyond the county line. For every Junto, there are three Saint Jameses, and there goes an hour’s worth of unleaded into the ledger of our atmospheric doom.

But I exaggerate. The Saint James’s awfulness lay far beyond the reach of replication, much less in triplicate. Yet trepidation nevertheless filled the family wagon as we made our way to its replacement in Ardmore’s Suburban Square. Owner Rob Wasserman rebooted the ill-starred concept in March as a pizzeria called Parlor, where pies bearing somewhat distressing names such as Buffy and Beastmode awaited us. Read more »

Little Nonna’s Offering Pick Up for National Cannoli Day

cannoli-day-little-nonnas-400Little Nonna’s is celebrating National Cannoli Day on Tuesday, June 16th. The red gravy Italian restaurant from Valerie Safran and Marcie Turney is offering four non-traditional cannoli for pickup during the day for $3 each. You can also pre-order eight-packs containing two of each flavor for $20 online.

Cannoli will be available for purchase beginning at 10 a.m. until they are sold out. Pre-orders will be available until 2 p.m.

The flavors include »

Coming Up: Little Nonna’s Spaghetti and Crab Nights

Crab and spaghetti at Little Nonna's

Crab and spaghetti at Little Nonna’s

While the music of Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin plays, Little Nonna’s will be serving up dinner of spaghetti and crabs. The $35 per person menu is being served up on Sunday, June 7th and Monday, June 8th. The dinner kicks off with a summer salad with Italian Romano beans, cucumbers, tomatoes and basil. For the main course, you can choose between red and white sauce for their spaghetti and crabs.

For an additional $20 per carafe, you can accompany your meal with wine, sangria or thyme lemonade with vodka.

Check out the full menu »

First Look: Triangle Tavern

triangle-tavern-dining-room-940The Triangle Tavern has reopened in South Philadelphia and not much has changed. Yes, it is now owned by David Frank and Stephen Simons, who own the Khyber Pass Pub, Royal Tavern, Los Caballitos and Dos Segundos, but other than that, the space feels similar to what was there for the better part of the 20th century. It’s the same bar. Suzanne O’Brien, who consulted on the project (as well as redos at Trestle Inn, Jerry’s Bar), told me that the gum still remains on the underside. I took her word on that.

The reboot is rooted in the Triangle Tavern’s historic position as a neighborhood eatery. Refreshingly, affordability seems to be a key tenet in the redo. Entrees are all under $20, the house wine is $7 and there are even $6 cocktails on the list. The idea is that the 85+ seat bar and restaurant can be a frequent dinner destination for people living on and near Passyunk Avenue.

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Retro Week: Revisiting Ralph’s

Photo by Stephanie Viggiano

At Ralph’s Italian Restaurant, where a century’s worth of footsteps have buffed the dining room’s floor mosaic as smooth as the inside of an oyster shell, the idea of a regular customer takes on a genealogical hue. Five generations of the same family have owned and operated the place, which was founded by Francesco Dispigno in 1900 and has occupied its current location for 100 years. But one of their biggest points of pride is a clientele whose claim on the tables is almost as ancestral.

“We have three and four generations of families as customers,” marvels Jim Rubino, the 53-year-old great-grandson of Francesco, and grandson of Rafael Dispigno, whose Anglicized name the restaurant bears. “It’s a remarkable thing.”

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Hey Night Owls: Il Pittore Has a Dinner for You

il-pittore-midnight-madnessOn Saturday May 9th, il Pittore and Malvira Wines will join forces to host an Almost Midnight Madness dinner at the restaurant. The dinner will include four courses prepared by chef Chris Painter paired with wines produced by Winemaker and Owner, Roberto Damonte, who will be on hand.

What makes this wine dinner a little different is that reservations begin at 11 pm and il Pittore will seating until midnight. Space is limited and guests should call to reserve their seats: 215.391.4900.

The cost of the dinner is $110 per person (not including tax/gratuity).

Check out the menu for Almost Midnight Madness

Peter McAndrews Takes Over Bridgid’s

Peter McAndrews

Peter McAndrews

Peter McAndrews’ (Paesano’s, Modo Mio, Monsu) first cooking job in Philadelphia was at Bridgid’s more than 20-years ago. And now he’s back in charge of the Fairmount mainstay. He’s installed Patrick Collins as the chef. Collins has worked on 13th Street for Valerie Safran and Marcie Turney as well as for George Sabatino. This isn’t the first time McAndrews has turned back towards Bridgid’s. The chef consulted there in 2012. But this time he’s taken over the whole operation.

The menu is Italian, offering a menu of Chichette, small plates for just $5 each, 3 for $13. The new Bridgid’s will also offer a selection of ten-or-so house-made pastas for $10 to $12 a plate. Entrees will have a seafood focus and top out at $18 per plate. As is McAndrews m.o., expect bold flavors and wine friendly dishes. Speaking of wine, McAndrews is offering 8 white wines and 11 reds by the glass. McAndrews says he wants Bridgid’s to be a “true Italian restaurant, intriguing and affordable,” a place to have a good time with a good glass of wine or two.

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Bright Lights, Big City: Palladino’s Reviewed

Pork osso buco and Stecchini Genoves | Courtney Apple

Pork Osso Buco and Stecchini Genoves | Courtney Apple

With all due consideration for sore thumbs and Kim Kardashian’s badonka-donk, nothing sticks out from its surroundings quite like Palladino’s on Passyunk.

The Italian chophouse rears up over the Avenue’s Broad Street gateway like a wedge of layer cake iced by an architectural prankster. Its banded black and white facade serves up an allusion to the medieval tower of Siena’s Duomo atop the Streamline Moderne curve of a sidewalk-sheltering hip roof, and the whole thing is capped off with a sky-scraping signboard that broadcasts the restaurateur’s name in lipstick red.

And you can hear Luke Palladino’s Philadelphia debut from nearly as far away as you can see it. Saxophone-rock solos and Super-tramp reverberate on the covered curb with a brashness compounded inside by crowds that can be as boisterous on a Wednesday evening as on a Saturday night. You can take a chef out of Atlantic City, but apparently you can’t take Atlantic City out of this chef. Read more »

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