A Fish Story: Blackfish Revisited

Blackfish Reviewed | Photo by Samuel Markey

Blackfish Reviewed | Photo by Samuel Markey

The dining room at Blackfish in Conshohocken is white, but not cold. Not icy, the way some white, restaurant-shaped boxes can be. The dark wood floors help. The matching chairs. The colorful spines of cookbooks stacked on a shelf, making the place look like it’s been styled for an Architectural Digest photo shoot, or maybe something from a summer issue of Martha Stewart Living. Not lively, exactly, but alive.

The white ceilings and white tablecloths and white plates make every color pop. The sharp red of garden tomatoes in a summer salad, the green tangles of seaweed on which sit the stony shells of oysters, the rich, textured yellow-brown of a curry sauce puddling around a fist-sized cut of tilefish perfectly golden from the pan: In this sterility of white-on-white, the plates being put out by Chip Roman’s chef de cuisine, Yianni Arhontoulis, and his crew go off like fireworks. The entire restaurant becomes a blank space, and all you can see are the blooms and sparks in front of you. Everything else fades into the background.

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Seafood Hustle at Heritage

heritageSkip the shore traffic this weekend and get your fix of seafood during the week at Heritage. This Wednesday, July 27th, Heritage is hosting a Seafood Hustle dinner–which might be a nice change of pace after weeks and weeks of Sips.

Chef Sean Magee is making some summertime classics, as well as his own favorites. He was inspired by one of his favorite restaurants, Smittys in Somers Point, NJ.  The drink specials for the night will be a rosé flight and the Heritage Shandy.

You can check out the full menu below. And if you miss it this week, the restaurant is planning on hosting more Seafood Hustles throughout the summer, so keep an eye out for upcoming dates.

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Red Owl Tavern Offering Lobster Clambakes Every Monday

Clambake at Red Owl TavernLooking for a way to make Mondays a little more fun and a little less (to put it nicely) horrible? Red Owl Tavern might have to solution.

Every Monday this summer, the restaurant at the Hotel Monaco will be dishing out traditional clambakes with a whole lobster, clams, mussels, and shrimp. The exciting news?  It is only $25.  If you miss Monday, Red Owl Tavern will also offer the special Tuesday through Friday, from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.

And if that isn’t quite enough for you, they will also be offering a dozen oysters and a bottle of wine for $33 all summer long.

Red Owl Tavern [Foobooz]

Diving Horse Opens Early This Season

One of the 2016 Diving Horse postcards.

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.

Check out the preview menu »

Smooth Jazz and Skate Wing: 26 North Reviewed

Skate wing at 26 North

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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Gastronaut: Hey, Santa …

Illustration by James Boyle

Illustration by James Boyle

Dear Santa,

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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Final Days for Snockey’s Oyster and Crab House

snockey's
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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Anastasi Raw Bar Opens Today in Manayunk

Holy Mackerel, Anastasi Raw Bar is open in Manayunk.

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 Is Back with 26 North

26-north-facade-400Mike 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]

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