One of the 2016 Diving Horse postcards.
The Diving Horse, the Avalon, NJ BYOB from the team behind Philadelphia’s Pub & Kitchen and Fitler Dining Room are back for another season down the shore. Reservations are now being accepted and in a change for 2016, the Diving Horse will be open weekends in May. Owner Ed Hackett says, “we usually hold off till Memorial Day Weekend but we received a lot of feedback from guests wanting us to open earlier in the season” so they’re obliging with reservations starting on Saturday, May 7th.
Chef Paul Carrier is back as chef at the Diving Horse. He’s spent his winter with the Fitler Dining Room team but is now back prepping for the new season. The preview menu features the likes of black pepper squid, Barnegat Light scallops and Hudson Canyon Mahi Mahi.
Skate wing at 26 North | Photos courtesy of Mike Stollenwerk
The 1990s were a bad time for the American restaurant scene. We were, as an emerging culinary entity, in our first youth—like awful (if precocious) toddlers who’d gotten into Daddy’s special juice. All we did was copycat, put things in our mouths and stagger around blindly from impulse to impulse. Sure, we were occasionally cute. Occasionally (accidentally) brilliant. There were great restaurants that somehow managed to avoid all the foibles and excesses of the age, but on balance, almost everything was terrible all the time.
Consider a brief list of things restaurateurs and chefs thought were good ideas in the 1990s:
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Illustration by James Boyle
Hey, big guy. It’s me again. Over the years I’ve made a habit of coming to you every December and selflessly burning up all my Christmas wishes in an attempt to make Philadelphia a better place to eat. I’ve asked for butcher shops and whiskey and Asian street food, and you’ve come through with Kensington Quarters, Cooper River, and that giant indoor food-cart monstrosity they’re (allegedly) building over in Chinatown. Though you never did convince Questlove to open his Hybird fried chicken joint here, I do appreciate all the other chicken-fryers you’ve inspired—from Andy’s to the Fat Ham to Southgate. And while I’m still waiting to see if you’ll come through on making our local cocktail culture a little less, I don’t know … mustache-y?, I have faith you’ve got something (like maybe a GQ article claiming that tight vests and tiny hats cause impotence) up your sleeve and are just waiting for the right moment.
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It is the last weekend for Snockey’s Oyster and Crab House. The Philadelphia institution is closing after 103 years. Located at 1020 South 2nd Street for the past 40 years, the restaurant’s closing further shuts the door on the tradition of the Philadelphia oyster house.
Third generation owners, Ken and Skip Snock are both in their 60s and looking to step away from the business. The property has been for sale since late 2014.
In the 1870s, Philadelphians consumed 12 oysters a week and some 2,419 Philadelphia hotels, oyster houses, restaurants and saloons served oysters. And that’s not counting the roving peddlers and curbside stands. By the late 1950s, 95% of the Delaware Bay’s oysters had been wiped out by disease. With the dropoff in local oysters, oyster houses also faced extinction.
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Holy Mackerel, Anastasi Raw Bar is open in Manayunk.
Anastasi Raw Bar officially opens today in Manayunk. Brother and sister Thomas and Mia Anastasi of the Italian Market’s Anastasi Seafood, Thomas’ in Manayunk and Pescatore in Bala, along with partner Frank Kemp have joined forces for this oyster bar and seafood grill at 4161 Main Street (the former home of Beast & Ale, Bisou, Gemelli, and MangoMoon).
Chef Ken Wallace, most recently of Vesper but with European experience that includes London’s The Fat Duck, is in charge of the kitchen. He’s preparing a seafood-focused menu that will offer daily oysters and chilled seafood favorites at the bar. Also look for a handful of meat and vegetarian options.
The bar will offer five beers, one cider and four wines by draft as well as wine by the bottle and glass. There will also be a list of oyster shooters that will be rotate seasonally.
Menus and happy hour »
Mike Stollenwerk, who won a legion of fans with his seafood at Little Fish and Fish has bounced around in recent years. Spending time at Branzino and Headhouse Crab & Oyster Co. Now he’s back with a new Old City BYOB, 26 North.
The restaurant at 26 North 3rd Street is aiming for a November opening. The BYOB will be open for lunch and dinner, with some classic Stollenwerk dishes including his signature skate wing with truffled spaetzle, leeks and parmesan broth. Expect another four or so seafood-focused entrees plus vegetarian pasta, meat and fowl dishes. Appetizers will include Portuguese fish soup, Sepia a la Plancha (grilled cuttlefish), char-grilled octopus, seared diver scallops and more.
For lunch, Stollenwerk is planning a casual selection of salads, soups and “handhelds,” (burger, crab cake, etc.) and entrees. There will be less of Stollenwerk to see when he opens his restaurant. The chef has lost nearly 140 pounds over the past couple of years.
26 North [Foobooz]
Photo by Arthur Etchells
Since a Sunday hockey post-game barbecue turned into a crab fest a few weeks ago, I’ve had a major hankering for crabs. Last week there were several events to satiate that craving and this Labor Day weekend looks to have several more.
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Junto’s smoked sturgeon
The August full moon is known as a “Sturgeon Moon” as historically native Americans found it the best time to catch sturgeon in the Great Lakes and on Lake Champlain.
And now, MacGregor Mann of Junto will be donating a portion of each Best of Philly winning sturgeon dish sold to the Delaware Riverkeeper Network.
The sustainable-farm raised sturgeon dish is smoked on Alder wood with romanesco, fermented celery root, watercress, lemon verbena and white wine emulsion. The dish at the Chaddsford restaurant is $30.
Atlantic sturgeon were once plentiful on the Delaware River, although now less than 300 spawning adults from the Delaware River’s distinct genetic line of Atlantic sturgeon remain. Learn more about Atlantic sturgeon here.
The donation will continue as long as the sturgeon dish is on the menu, which hopefully isn’t going anywhere.
Varga Bar is hosting a three-day crab boil.
If you’re a fan of clambakes, crab boils and bargain oysters, now through Labor Day is your time to strike.
Tonight is Oyster House’s last Twin Lobster Dinner of the summer. That’s two one-pound Maine lobsters, corn and drawn butter for just $28.
On Thursday, August 27th, Brick and Mortar is hosting a family style lobster and clam bake. The feast is $55 per person in advance, $65 in person. There are two seatings (6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.) and beer from Nantucket’s Cisco Brewery will be included.
But there’s more »
SugarHouse Casino is intending on opening its 300,000 square foot expansion before the end of the year, and the riverfront casino is including a higher end restaurant in the new space.
An announcement regarding the new restaurant and exclusive caterer for the casino’s new event center is set for Wednesday, September 2nd. The event will include a grilling demonstration and taste of a special “Philly Cut” steak. The press release also features a hashtag, #froginPhilly. After briefly hoping this would mean the return of Rib-It or Steve Poses’ Frog, we applied some positively Sherlockian deduction, (we googled frog+steakhouse and clicked the first result) we’ve concluded that the new restaurant will be from … Spoiler ahead »