Be advised that no turkeys were harmed — much less mentioned — in this week’s newsletter. Topic One happens to be ramen, which formerly was found around here only in sodium-stuffed, plastic-wrapped bricks of instant soup. Now its traditional roots shine through on local menus. Also this week, I visit a neighborhood Italian BYOB in South Philly and enjoy filet mignon on the Main Line at a new shop that only sells filet mignon. If you need food news, click here and follow me on Twitter and Instagram. Email tips, suggestions, and questions here. If someone forwarded you this newsletter and you like what you’re reading, sign up here to get it free every week.
Ramen: Ready for a nood scene?
"Dorm room ramen"? Perish the thought. The heady, traditional soup is found not only on Japanese menus, as you'd figure, but at random spots elsewhere (the miso ramen at Yards Brewing near Northern Liberties). Heck, the Whole Foods stores in Wynnewood and Cherry Hill even have counters devoted to ramen.
The city’s bigger slurp stars are the snug Terakawa (204 N. Ninth St.), the counter-service Nom Nom (20 S. 18th St.), the wood-paneled Yamitsuki (1028 Arch St. — look for the full-size Iron Man “Hulkbuster” suit of armor in the lobby), the moody Hiro (1102 Chestnut St.), and the Cheu locations in Washington Square West and Fishtown.
New on the scene in the western suburbs is the snazzy Hakata, which opened last month in Gateway Shopping Center, off Route 202 and Swedesford Road in Wayne. Its enviable collection of offerings includes a spicy vegan ramen, and there's a full slate of cooked items such as buns and rice bowls. (Info on Hakata is scarce; its Yelp listing provides a menu and hours.)
I'll also bring up a couple of sleepers: Tomo, a charming little sushi-ist at 228 Arch St. in Old City, and Rayaki, a more energetic strip-maller at 404 Marlton Pike East in Cherry Hill — both of which hit all the bases, literally, offering the familiar pork-based tonkotsu and also miso, chicken, vegetarian, and shoyu varieties.
And then there's Neighborhood Ramen, which Lindsay Steigerwald and Jesse Pryor (whose resumes include Cheu, CoZara, and Morimoto) started as a pop-up. They plan to offer assorted styles, including a vegan one, when they open next month at 617 S. Third St. in Queen Village.
Have any favorites? Send 'em my way.
This Week’s Openings
Hakata Ramen | Wayne
Malay Thai Kitchen | Levittown
Get your satay and pad woon sen on at this roomy, contemporary Malaysian-Thai BYO at 8800 New Falls Rd.; closed Mondays.
MyThai Kitchen | Trevose
Family-run Thai in an adorable, snug storefront at 1808 Brownsville Rd.; closed Tuesdays.
Nirvana Indian Bistro | Eagleville
A third location (after Reading and Lafayette Hill) for Nabin Chhantyal's white-tablecloth, health-forward Indian restaurant, replacing Dosa Hut & Chaat House at 2864 Ridge Pike.
Roots Cafe | Maple Shade
Breakfast-luncher (6:30 a.m.-2 p.m. daily) replaces Forno at 28 S. Church Rd.
Ten7 Brewing | North Wales
Brewery/tasting room with visiting food trucks (and a bring-your-own-food policy) at 510 Beaver St., near the North Wales train station.
TimeOut Skippack | Skippack
Sports bar replaces Brasserie 73 at 4024 Skippack Pike in Skippack Village.
Topgolf | Mount Laurel
Golf simulation meets sports bar at 104 Centerton Rd.
This Week’s Closing
Don Pablo's | Moorestown
The Tex-Mex chain shuttered its location in East Gate Square.
Where we’re eating better this weekend
Snap Custom Pizza, various locations
No happy-hour tips or brunch ideas this week, my friend. When you emerge from your Thanksgiving food coma, you may actually crave a salad. Hometown Snap Custom Pizza delivers in that regard with a line of signature and customizable bowls ($8.99 and $9.99). The Cobb isn’t exactly low-cal, but you can feel better about your holiday splurge with a Thai crunch (greens, chicken, and a spicy miso vinaigrette) or the Craizin' (topped with apple, Craisins, spicy cashews, grape tomatoes, red onions, goat cheese, and apple cider vinaigrette). Snap’s customizable, one-price thin-crust pizzas ($7.99) don’t pack much of a carbo-load, either, for that matter.
Where we’re eating
Burrata, 1247 S. 13th St.
Cozy, low-lit romance abounds at this corner Italian BYO at 13th and Wharton, which replaced August seven months ago. Cousins Albi Furxhiu and Dejvi Furxhi, both in their 20s, keep the menu small and portions ample, and service is warm and professional.
They've also retained the services of two top-flight, moonlighting pasta-makers whose names they are keeping under wraps, which is why the ethereal gnocchi seems to float amid the walnuts in its truffle cream sauce and the pappardelle stands up al dentelly to the wild boar ragu.
Apps include (naturally) a creamy, dreamy ball of burrata, served with roasted peppers and prosciutto and drizzled with fig glaze. You'll find just five entrees — a pork chop Milanese, lamb shank, and branzino, plus two nightly specials — priced in the mid-$20s.
It’s open daily from 5 p.m.
Nick Filet, 111 E. Lancaster Ave., Paoli
The eatery's name popped into the head of aspiring steakhouse owner Nick Kline in May. That's when the 24-year-old realized that he needed to scale his dream into something more realistic and, well, bite-sized.
Now he's selling juicy filet-mignon sandwiches (and a few other dishes including the beef) out of a former doughnut shop on Lancaster Avenue, just off Route 252.
Nick Filet’s 6-ounce version, grilled over charcoal and built on a toasted Amoroso roll, is $9.99, and free toppings such as sauteed mushrooms and blue cheese crumbles amp the experience.
Looking for last-minute pie tips before the big day? We've got 'em in spades.
Miracle, the Christmas-themed pop-up bar launched in 2014 in New York City, returns to South Philly's In the Valley (1615 E. Passyunk Ave.) from Nov. 23 through New Year's Eve. Ten percent of sales of the holiday mugs featured on the signature cocktail menu are donated to Action Against Hunger,
Craig LaBan has the week off. He may be lonely. Email him here.