The answer to the insipid interview question: “If you had the opportunity to invite anyone to dinner, who would it be and why?” has always been obvious to me. I would invite a Philadelphia chef because a) they’re local, alive, and non–fictional, and therefore might actually show up and b) they could cook for me, so even if I left with a heart full of disappointment, I would at least have a stomach full of something other than coffee and bagels from the café below my apartment.
Just over two years ago, Steve Cook and Michael Solomonov invited New York “spice whisperer,” Lior Lev Sercarsz to come down to Philadelphia to collaborate with Percy Street’s Erin O’Shea. The results were spectacular as this post lays out.
On Wednesday, June 15th, Sercarsz, the owner of New York’s famed spice shop, La Boîte, returns to Philadelphia for a night at Abe Fisher. At Abe Fisher, Sercarsz will join with executive chef Yehuda Sichel for a four-course meal that will combine the Eastern European Jewish influences of chef Yehuda’s cooking with the powerful flavors found in La Boîte spices.
Know what that is right there? That’s what victory looks like.
A double victory, actually, as Michael Solomonov’s book Zahav: A World Of Israeli Cooking took home both Best International Cookbook and Book Of The Year at this year’s James Beard Awards
The awards were given out last night and, obviously, Cook and Solomonov were there to accept those medals in person. Unfortunately, they were the only local names to show up during the Broadcast and Journalism awards last night, but that’s cool. It’s not like Philly hasn’t brought back their share of gold over the years.
In the meantime, we reached out to Solomonov’s team and got some of Michael Persico‘s beautiful shots from the book, plus two recipes: one for beets with tehina, and another for shakshouka.
Check ’em all out after the jump.
Today, the James Beard Foundation announced the finalists for its 2016 awards. Zahav chef and owner Michael Solomonov is a finalist for Outstanding Chef and his cookbook, Zahav: A World of Israeli Cooking was also nominated in the International Cookbook category.
Bloomberg Business named Dizengoff’s opening in New York’s Chelsea Market as one of the 26 most exciting restaurant openings in the world this spring. The first New York venture of Michael Solomonov and Steve Cook (Zahav, Abe Fisher, Percy Street, Federal Donuts) is hailed as a reason for hummus lovers to rejoice.
The New York City Dizengoff will offer Israeli wines by the glass and shakshuka all day. That’s a treat Philadelphians only get on Sundays ($11 per bowl). Other restaurants in the list range from a French cafe at Versailles to a new casual restaurant in Copenhagen from the team that gave the world Noma, a restaurant praised as the best in the world. Not bad company for a hummusiya.
Michael Solomonov‘s Israeli restaurant Zahav is bringing their “Lamb Shack” back for a second run—the event was so popular last year that they’re doing it again.
It’s nice to see that the Wall Street Journal has discovered Philadelphia’s dining scene. Just a month after featuring Kensington Quarters, the paper is back with a story on Michael Solomonov, Steve Cook, Broad Street Ministry and Rooster Soup Company. While the charitable background of Rooster Soup will be familiar to Foobooz readers, there are new details about Rooster Soup Company to share.
This weekend a tipster alerted Eater NY to a permit for a Dizengoff in New York’s Chelsea Market. CooknSolo principal Steve Cook acknowledged to Michael Klein on Sunday that he and Michael Solomonov were bringing their hummusiya to New York’s Meatpacking District. The market is already home to two Philadelphia exports, Stephen Starr’s Buddakan and Morimoto. The market, which also houses studios for Food Network was once home of another Philadelphia-rooted concept, the short-lived collaboration between Questlove and Starr, Hybird.
Dizengoff is the first but is unlikely to be the last CooknSolo project that heads to New York. In an entertaining interview with Grub Street, Cook and Solomonov say they are also looking to open a New York Federal Donuts. What won’t be heading to New York is a branch of Zahav, which Solomonov says would slay in New York, “but then we’d have to fucking move to New York.”
No opening timeline has been announced.
On Monday night at Twenty Manning, a sponsor party was held to announce the details of the 2015 Audi FEASTIVAL, which will take place on September 17th, 2015. On that night, the FringeArts Headquarters on 140 N. Columbus Boulevard will host an exclusive, chic party for the hottest movers and shakers in Philadelphia’s business, culinary and arts scenes — but most importantly, a fundraiser for FringeArts, whose Philadelphia Fringe Festival runs from September 3rd through 19th. The co-chairs for FEASTIVAL this year are Jesse & Beka Rendell, David & Susan Lipson, Tony Forte and Ryan Hummel. Guests at the patron party enjoyed samples of dishes that will be served at the gala, as well as an open bar. The purpose of a patron party is to thank the sponsors for their support and to preview what they can expect at the gala on the 17th. Tickets are still available and can be bought here. Photos after the jump
On Monday, May 11th at Zahav and Tuesday, May 12th at Vetri, the two restaurants are hosting collaborative dinners. The dinners will feature the cooking of chef Adam Leonti of Vetri Ristorante and chef/co-owner Michael Solomonov of Zahav.
Each night will feature identical seven-course tastings exploring Eastern and Western Mediterranean cuisine, served in each restaurant’s private dining room.
The dinners, which are $200 per person (plus tax and gratuity) include a collaborative beverage pairing between Vetri’s Bobby Domenick and C