Go To Israel with Michael Solomonov

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Michael Solomonov and Steve Cook in Israel

Is this the year you take the trip of a lifetime? If you’ve got an extra $7,829 lying around and a hankering for hummus, then block off June 26- July 5 for what has to be an unforgettable trip to Israel with Zahav chef Michael Solomonov.

The trip is equal parts sightseeing and culinary tour, with visits to Jerusalem and the Dead Sea interspersed with excursions to try cheese aged in 2,000 year old Israeli caves and sardines fresh from the sea in Akko.

Airfare is included in the price, and the flights leave from and return to Philly. You can also book your own flights and just pay for the land portion of the trip if you’d rather, which will cost $6,054 per person.

Get a preview of the trip »

James Beard Award Semifinalists Announced

james-beard-semisToday at noon, the James Beard Foundation announced the semifinalists for its 2015 Restaurant and Chef Awards.

Abe Fisher and Townsend were Best New Restaurant nominees. Michael Solomonov and Marc Vetri got nods for Outstanding Chef and Ellen Yin’s new restaurant group received three nominations. Fork was nominated for Outstanding Restaurant and Alex Bois (High Street on Market) and Jon Nodler (a.kitchen) received rising stars nominations.

The nominees »

Zahav Becomes “Lamb Shack” for February

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Executive chef of Zahav, Michael Solomonov

Zahav, Michael Solomonov’s flagship restaurant famous for its authentic Israeli cuisine, is becoming a “Lamb  Shack” from February 6-28.

The lamb, which is “an entire bone-in Colorado shoulder braised with pomegranate juice and chickpeas into a melting mountain of meat like you’ve never experienced,” has become something of a cult favorite for Philly diners and critics, but has historically only been an option for parties of nine or more due to the several day preparation process it requires.

In response to the public demand for lamb, Solomonov has decided to offer only his famous pomegranate lamb for the month of February (and a vegetarian option for the less carnivorous.) The Lamb Shack menu is $36 per person, and includes hummus and tehina, house baked pita, salatim, and “whomping hunks” of pomegranate lamb.

Also, if getting to try some of the most sought after lamb in Philadelphia isn’t enough for you, Zahav is inviting guests to BYO for the entire month of February at no additional charge.

Zahav [Foobooz]

Dizengoff Is Doing Brunch This Sunday

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This Sunday, December 14th,Dizengoff is hosting a special brunch. Michael Solomonov’s hummusiya is getting eggy with a family-style meal for $26 per person.

The main attraction, at least to me is the promise of Shakshuka. Solomonov once served a Philly Cooks tour a rendition made by his contractor, cooked over an industrial heater and I’ve been hooked since.

The tickets are limited for the 10 a.m. brunch and only available on the CooknSolo website.

Read more »

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.

Read more about Abe Fisher and Dizengoff » 

Michael Solomonov and Marc Vetri on Being a Celebrity Chef in Philadelphia

Marc Vetri and Michael Solomonov. Photograph by Dustin Fenstermacher

Marc Vetri and Michael Solomonov. Photograph by Dustin Fenstermacher

[Sitting in Vetri’s recently renovated upstairs private dining room]

Michael: Wow, look at this. I used to sleep on a cot in that corner.

Marc: Yeah, it used to be this crappy apartment.

PM: When Michael worked for you, Marc, did you notice his talent right away? Can you spot talent?

Marc: I used to think that I could really figure folks out when they walked into the kitchen. But after a certain amount of time — ya know, two months, three months — they can walk out and you never see them again. They leave their knife bag and everything. They are just gone. So I really don’t think I can say that anymore.

Michael: It’s a generational thing, because when you and I first met, there certainly wasn’t anything like that happening here. Read more »

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.

Read more »

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