Taste: Where We’re Eating: November 2008
Gullifty’s For 33 years, Gullifty’s has been a college hangout, a serious beer bar, and a family-friendly restaurant with a menu of from-scratch foods whose sheer size rivals that of any big chain eatery. To celebrate the odd anniversary, owner Gene Johnson has expanded the American bistro offerings with new dishes like savory-and-sweet apple-chicken quesadillas, and a roasted beet and filet salad. But more than three decades in, we say the best celebration of Gullifty’s is still the classic house-spun margherita pizza and a cold lager. 1149 Lancaster Avenue, Rosemont, 610-525-1851, gulliftys.com
Cooper’s Brick Oven Wine Bar From the kitchen at Jake’s, chef-owner Bruce Cooper has watched Manayunk evolve from a blue-collar neighborhood to a Main Line hang to a college-kids haven. Now the restaurateur sees the riverfront ’hood attracting young professionals in search of a Center City lifestyle without the million-dollar condos. At new Cooper’s, pinot noir drinkers looking for an every-night dinner spot will find shareable, affordable pies — the menu is light on traditional red-sauce options in favor of combos like short ribs and horseradish, or crimini and cheddar — and pretty-big small plates (average price: $10). The menu warns you to save room for dessert — from adjacent Jake’s pastry kitchen — but we ate too many of the house-made salt-and-vinegar chips. 4367 Main Street, Manayunk, 215-483-2750.
The Quarter at Zahav Thursday nights only, Zahav opens the Quarter, a 24-seat alcove curtained off from the casual main dining room and its Israeli home cooking. The Quarter is a restaurant inside a restaurant, and everything from the ornate chandelier to the six-course tasting menu of preciously composed plates, reminiscent of chef Michael Solomonov’s tenure at Marigold Kitchen, is more formal. A recent dinner featured sweetbreads wrapped in crispy chicken skin; marinated skipjack tuna and foie gras set off with dabs of a tart rhubarb sauce; and a succulent sous-vide wagyu brisket. For vegetarians, Solomonov offers tastes like shredded-phyllo-wrapped goat cheese over a creamy puree of English peas, and a brothy sweet corn tortellini. The multi-hour meal costs $65, or $100 with expertly paired wines. 237 St. James Place, 215-625-8800, zahavrestaurant.com
Raw Cafe @ Boyds Doing lunch with Jimmy Choo and Salvatore Ferragamo over spicy tuna rolls was the stuff of dreams — until the owners of Raw, a West Coast-style sushi spot on 13th Street, took over the cafe at Boyds. Sitting in the modern, mezzanine-level eatery, we can spy all our favorite labels. But with service this attentive and food this fresh, your attention will be focused on what might be the best lunch deal in town: a bento box filled with sashimi, sushi, dumplings, bacon-wrapped shrimp, a green salad, soup and tuna tartare — for $13. The shopping can wait. Boyds, 1818 Chestnut Street, 215-564-0411.