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.
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Michael Solomonov’s Abe Fisher will be opening on Tuesday, September 2nd. Co-owner Steven Cook says “everything from Montreal-style smoked meat and Ukrainian borscht to the American Jewish tradition of Chinese food on Christmas is fair game” for the restaurant that celebrates the Jewish Diaspora.
The Sansom Street restaurant next to Cook+Solo’s Dizengoff and across from Federal Donuts will have seating for 50 plus a full-service bar that seats ten. Two kitchen counter seats will offer a front row view of the action on the line. These seats will be available nightly for walk-in guests.
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Michael Solomonov has certainly been in the news lately. From his story of battling addiction in the New York Times to the buzz created by Rooster Soup Company and opening two new restaurants, the chef has been keeping a high profile.
And now he’s featured by Esquire in a feature of 22 men who are redefining style across America. Solomonov is shown wearing a Giorgio Armani wool suit at the Reading Terminal. We’re much more used to seeing Solomonov in chef whites or board shorts but have to admit, he cleans up nicely.
Another Philadelphia connection in the list, former Eagles linebacker and bow-tie enthusiast Dhani Jones makes the list.
22 Men Who Are Redefining Style Across America [Esquire]
WHYY’s Radio Times is bringing in Michael Solomonov today to talk about Israeli food, donuts, the loss of his brother and his recent admission that he was addicted to crack when he opened Zahav.
Marty Moss-Coane is giving Solomonov a full hour to chat, so the odds are good that we’re going to hear lots of stories both about how he got clean and how he’s been almost single-handedly responsible for bringing about a mini-boom in modern Israeli cuisine. So if you’re a Solo fan, tune in at 11am this morning and give the man a listen.
Michael Solomonov [Radio Times]
The Inimitable Michael Solomonov [Philly mag]
Photograph by Michael Persico
Last July, Michael Solomonov sat down with Philly Mag’s John Marchese and revealed that he’d battled addiction problems:
[Solomonov] told a story of spiraling into alcohol and drug abuse and how people close to him pushed him into detox and rehab. He now has several years of recovery and sobriety behind him. Solomonov later agreed to talk publicly about his addiction, but only in general terms. “At some point in my life, I’ll be very upfront about it if I can find a way to make it helpful,” he told me. “Because of my responsibility to other people in recovery, I need to figure out how I’m going to be more specific and more detailed. But I’m not ready to do that right now.” In a world of graphic addiction memoirs written by teenagers, Solomonov’s reticence is refreshing.
Solomonov has obviously decided it’s now time to come clean about getting clean. In today’s New York Times, he tells columnist Frank Bruni that he was “living a double life” when he opened Zahav in May 2008: Read more »
Michael Solomonov’s hummisiya, Dizengoff softly opened today. We were on hand to snap some photos and of course try out the hummus. We ordered the Hummus matbucha for $10. The hummus is topped with Moroccan cooked tomato-pepper salad and a slow-cooked egg. It reminded me of a hummus version of shakshuka and that was exactly The order comes with three side salads and a piece of pita, piping hot, right from the oven.
The food was plenty for lunch and the pita was just about enough for all the generous serving of hummus.
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Dizengoff, Michael Solomonov’s hummusiya will open on Monday, Augst 11th at 10:30 a.m. The spot at 1625 Sansom Street will serve four varieties of housemade hummus, freshly baked pita and seasonal salatim. The plates range from $9 to $11 and all include two pitot (the plural of pita), two seasonal salatim and Israeli pickles. The 25-seat hummusiya is named for the boulevard in Tel Aviv and will also offer a variety of non-alcoholic drinks including frozen Lemonanna, Coke, Diet Coke and San Pellegrino Pompelmo. A rotating selection of craft brews will also be available as 12-oz. drafts for $4 each. Solomonov, who says “we’ve always known that we wanted to open a hummusiya similar to the ones you find everywhere in Israel.” “We make our hummus so often throughout the day, it’s never even refrigerated.” Abe Fisher, the next door restaurant “inspired by the Jewish Diaspora” is also moving towards completion date and should open by September 7. Check out the menu »
Michael Solomonov and Steve Cook have just teased three menu items for Rooster Soup Co., the hopeful product of Federal Donuts and Broad Street Ministry’s kickstarter, and we’re salivating.
Check out what will be on the menu »
Set an alarm, drop your calls, and mark your calendar because today at 1 p.m., tickets go on sale for the next Cage Match Dinner Battle at Alla Spina. And with only 26 spots open, attendees will be competing for spots as much as the chefs will be for the winning title.
The tasty matchup will happen Wednesday, July 16 between Michael Solomonov & Co. from Zahav and Marc Vetri & Co. from Vetri. Fun fact: Solomonov used to work under Vetri. Like every competition though, there can only be one winner. Will it be student or teacher? Insert dramatic sound effect here.
The ticket is $95 per person and a portion of the proceeds will go to Rooster Soup Company, a kickstarter put together by Federal Donuts and Broad Street Ministry.
To reserve your spot, call 215-600-0017.
Alla Spina [Foobooz]
Rooster Soup Company [Foobooz]
More than 1,200 guests attended the 9th Annual Great Chefs Event on Tuesday, June 10th. The yearly eating party thrown by Philadelphia superchef Marc Vetri was held at Urban Outfitters in the Navy Yard, with proceeds going to help Alex’s Lemonade Stand eradicate childhood cancer, and to the Vetri Foundation for Children. Neuroblastoma took Alex Scott’s life when she was eight, and her parents, Jay and Liz Scott, carry on her goal of helping doctors find a cure for the disease.
The event attracts four dozen top chefs from the U.S. and Italy who created delicious dishes that people raved over all night long. The event featured a live auction that brought in $80,000 and a silent auction — which included clothing, lavish trips, sports tickets and experiences — that raised nearly $100,000.
Later that evening I headed over to Vetri’s restaurant on North Broad, Alla Spina, for the after-party. There I found many of the volunteer chefs, sponsors and ticketed guests enjoying a delicious spread by the Vetri Family, and friends including Sweet Box Bakery, Debragga meat, Nomad Pizza to name a few. Behind the turntables was The Roots’ Questlove, who appears at the after-party annually and packs the dance floor from start to finish. It’s always a highlight of the evening.
Marc Vetri’s 9th Annual Great Chefs at Urban Outfitters »