Chef Jose Garces is back with a new restaurant beside the Delaware in New Hope. Also this week, I’ll tell you about an elevated sushi experience in Cherry Hill and a solid pub in Wayne.
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Chef Jose Garces, on the ropes last year when his restaurant empire was sold during bankruptcy, has emerged with his name on a new restaurant in New Hope.
Talk about “new hope.”
Stella by Jose Garces (50 S. Main St., 267-740-7131) boasts a river view off the deck of the new Ghost Light Inn, across the parking lot from Bucks County Playhouse. Garces and his corporate overlords from Ballard Brands have installed a comfy, tavernlike American small-plater, open now for dinner Wednesday to Sunday. (Bar opens at 4 p.m., dining room at 4:30.) Chipper service, too.
Cocktails, all $13, include the Stage Left, with a strip of cucumber wrapped around the inside of a glass of gin, lime, and mint. Dishes include a list of spreads, such as duck liver mousse ($8) studded with onion, radish, and citrus and served with three rounds of griddled sourdough. Spaghetti pie ($18) was a super-rich pasta, almost a savory kugel, in which white cheddar cream held it together; a server poured a black truffle and wild mushroom emulsion into the middle. There’s a $55 tasting, and a $25 wine-pairing option. Menu is here.
Valet parking in lot. Reservations via OpenTable, though walk-ins are accommodated.
Butcher’s Smokehouse | Washington Square West
Fast-casual BBQ at 1221 Walnut St. opened Monday.
Inchin’s Bamboo Garden | Rittenhouse
Indo-Chinese fusion spot at 1726 Chestnut St. opened Tuesday.
Jet Wine Garden | South Street West
July 4 is the debut of a wine garden next door to Jet Wine Bar, at 1525 South St. Hours are 4-10 p.m. Thursday, 4-11 p.m. Friday, noon-11 p.m. Saturday, and noon-9 p.m. Sunday.
California Pizza Kitchen | Cherry Hill
Last day at the mall is July 7.
Pho Ben City | Abington (temporary)
Closed for renovations. Due to reopen July 25.
SuGa | Rittenhouse
Susanna Foo’s Chinese spot at 1720 Sansom St. is closed for July and August, at least.
Aqimero at the Ritz-Carlton, 10 S. Broad St., 6 a.m.-2 a.m. daily
You could sit in the lounge of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, in one of Philadelphia’s iconic spaces with its domed ceiling 140 feet above you, and order Champagne for two. The Veuve Yellow Label will set you back $35 a glass, and by that point, you’ll need a dozen oysters for $38 more, and then maybe a second glass of champagne, and by golly with tax and tip, you’re at $200-plus.
You could step across the lobby and pay $25 for a golden token to plunk into Philadelphia’s first Champagne vending machine, which was set up last week. The Moët Mini-matic dispenses gold-foil-wrapped 187ml bottles of Moët & Chandon Imperial Brut and Imperial Rosé. Each “split,” which comes with a sipper, is enough for two glasses of bubbly. Sit and sip in the lobby or take it to go, being mindful about open-bottle laws and public drinking; the machine, by the way, is open till 2 a.m.
You could just head into any State Store for the Moët, pay $12.99 plus tax, and call it a day.
Zushi Dozo, 1892 Marlton Pike East, Cherry Hill
One way to scout an unfamiliar sushi restaurant: Does it offer chirashi? That suggests at least a chef’s pride in the quality and selection. The dish, which translates to "scattered sushi,” is a bowl of rice topped with sliced fish and vegetables.
At Zushi Dozo, chef Jae Shin’s modest Cherry Hill strip-maller that’s decked out in light woods and floral-print curtains, the chirashi includes tuna, salmon, yellowtail, fluke, squid, crab, roe, egg (tamago), pickled radish, and gobo (pickled burdock). At $25 including a bowl miso soup, it’s a hearty meal, though you could order one to share. There’s a full kitchen menu, including ramen, udon, and teriyaki.
Hours: noon-10 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, 3-9 p.m. Sunday.
Teresa’s Next Door, 124-126 N. Wayne Ave., Wayne
They give you the world at Teresa’s Next Door, a lively Belgian-inspired mainstay on the North Wayne Avenue restaurant row next to Teresa’s Cafe, the stylish Italian spot that started it all.
There’s adventurous menu that runs from Northern Europe to Mexico to Turkey, and the bar experience includes hundreds of whiskeys, 24 beers on tap, a killer selection of gluten-free alcoholic beverages, dozens of all-natural wines, and even dozens of drinking-glass varieties to optimize the experience. Not surprisingly, it’s one of Craig LaBan’s suburban favorites.
If you’re seeking a bartender’s chat or guidance, take a seat at the granite bar. If you know what you want, settle into a cherrywood booth. Recommendations include the mussels ($18.50, done seven different ways, and how many restaurants will allow you to add escargots?), the croque madame (served with a salad, $14), and the dürüm ($13), a meat-and-veggie-filled Turkish wrap. Pomme frites ($6) are a must.
Tips: Keep an eye on its social media for promotions, such as wear a kilt to Sunday brunch and get a comp pour of Laphroaig. Also, note that tacos are half-price from 10 p.m to midnight, and the kitchen stays open till midnight — a rarity on the Main Line.
Hours: 11:30 a.m.-1 a.m. Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-1 a.m. Sunday.
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Craig LaBan goes down the Shore and tells you about some of the best places to dine al fresco.