New (Old) Chef At Southwark, And A Very New Menu

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Typically, we prefer to toot our own horn here at Foobooz, but today we’ll admit that we’re really enjoying Danya Henninger’s column The Spot over on philly.com. In it, she profiles restauranteurs who have been in business for a decade or more. And while she hasn’t yet paid Southwark a visit (yet), they very well could be next on her list. Why? Because it’s turning 10, too, and is looking at some pretty substantial changes to the menu and in the kitchen.

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The Revisit: Southwark

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The easiest way to tell a bar from a restaurant is by the smell of the men’s room.

I couldn’t keep that thought away from my olfactory nerve during a recent night at Southwark. It had been years since my first time there. And my first time had also been my last. I remember having a fine dinner, but one that failed to cast the spell that so many other folks had fallen under at the then-new, classically styled Queen Village haunt.

In retrospect, that was probably because I’d eaten in the back dining room instead of at the bar, where bartender George Costa was mixing Gibsons and Aviations when the rest of the city was still one big slosh of pink-lemonade Cosmotinis.

Almost ten years later everyone else has caught up—and Costa has moved on—but Southwark is still humming along. It recently installed a new chef, Sam Jacobson, whose previous tenure at Sycamore helped put Lansdowne on the dining map.
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Everyone’s a Winner in These Chef Moves

Nick Macri

Nick Macri at Hop Chef

Michael Klein has the story on some major chef shuffling that’s been happening around town. Aaron Gottesman, who until recently you could spot whipping up lamb dishes behind the counter at the Reading Terminal’s Border Spring Farms is moving on to Kevin Sbraga’s Fat Ham. Gottesman was a participant in Foobooz’s first ever Open Stove night at Cook. Back then he was planning on working in Jen Carroll’s Concrete Blonde kitchen.

The opening at Border Springs is being filled by Hop Chef champion and Southwark chef, Nick Macri. Macri gets daytime hours and the opportunity to butcher, which is something he enjoys.

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NoBL Closes to Reconceptualize

NoBL, the follow-up restaurant to Sycamore from Stephen Wagner and Sam Jacobson closed on Friday. According to a message posted to the Lansdowne restaurant’s web site, the team has decided to take another look at the concept and business model. The restaurant is closed in the meantime.

Letter on the site »

NoBL Brings Some Heat to Lansdowne

Trey Popp urges you to see him in Lansdowne, the dry borough just west of Philadelphia where Sam Jacobson is turning out “banging” plates at NoBL.

NoBL offers Mediterranean comfort food with a compelling edge. From raw oysters with s­riracha-lime cocktail sauce to ultra-tender octopus arms glistening with oil, the cooking is both sharp and as down-home as NoBL’s hodgepodge of grandmotherly dinner china.

Two-and-a-half stars – Good to Excellent

NoBL, New Kid on the Block [Philadelphia magazine]
NoBL [Official Site]

NoBL Now Accepting Reservations

Sycamore Executive Chef Sam Jacobson and proprietor Stephen Wagner are getting set to open NoBL on Lansdowne Avenue in the Delaware County town of the same name. At NoBL Jacobson will be preparing a Mediterranean-inspired casual menu of small plates. Online reservations can now be made for Tuesday, June 26th and beyond. The restaurant may open prior to that date, we’ll let you know as soon as we do.
NoBL Opening Menu »