More is more at Fabrika, the swank restaurant-cabaret opening Feb. 4 in a former ice cream equipment factory next to Barcade at 1108 Frankford Ave. in Fishtown.
Want a lineup of late-night variety-show entertainment — jugglers, singers, contortionists, what have you, who perform on a round stage that retracts into the floor? Intimate airs, even in a 150-seater under a 40-foot ceiling? Three bars? More crystal chandeliers than you can find in a lighting showroom? A bathtub outside the restrooms?
It’s all there, plus a menu of eastern Mediterranean/Levantine food from chefs Konstantinos Pitsillides and his protégé Dominic Santora, who worked side by side at Kanella Grill in Center City. Santora left Kanella in 2018 to cookat Vetri Cucina and Vernick.
The cooking at Fabrika — say it “fab-REEK-ka” — is steeped in Pitsillides’ Cypriot upbringing and also harks to the native cuisines of Fabrika’s owners, Ylia Dzieri, Lasha Kikvidze, Alex Gritsyuk, and Boris Khanataev, in the former Soviet republics of Georgia and Azerbaijan. Gritsyuk owns Golden Gates restaurant in Northeast Philadelphia.
Santora executes a menu that balances small plates such as bacalao fritters, Azeri manti, lamb short ribs, shrimp kebabs, beet falafel, and grilled octopus, and main dishes such as lamb chops, stuffed turnip, pig cheek schnitzel, goat stew, and poussin under the brick. Figure on $12 to $15 for starters, and entrees in the mid- to high-$20s.
Santora said he was particularly stoked for the whole-animal cookery — lambs, goats, and pigs — designed to be shared.
At Kanella, he and Pitsillides used to offer calf’s head stew on Fridays, “and it would sell right out,” Santora said.
The main room at Fabrika is ringed by a balcony backed by private rooms on the mezzanine that bring the capacity to 550 people. The entryway, featuring dramatic, fish-theme metal sculptures from artist Uriel Tedgi, leads into a dining room dominated by a stage and chandeliers that rise and fall to floor level, depending on need.
Fabrika, which is on OpenTable, will be open Tuesdays through Sundays for walk-in and reserved dinner and variety-show style entertainment. (Light music plays from 8 to 10 p.m. but the bulk of the entertainment starts at 10 p.m. when a smaller menu is available.) Parking is available at a lot next door.
And the black, claw-footed bathtub set up outside of the restrooms? At a preview party on Jan. 28, a burlesque performer danced in it. Not saying you can’t, too.