Dan Tsao, who juggles life as a restaurateur (EMei in Chinatown) and a newspaper publisher (Metro Chinese Weekly), has signed a lease for 1720 Sansom St., which was the Susanna Foo-owned restaurant SuGa.
Tsao, a Main Line neighbor of Foo’s, says he plans a Szechuan restaurant this spring — name not determined — after a light redecoration. The menu will bear some similarity to that served at EMei (915 Arch St.), but it will be more accessible to non-Chinese patrons.
Its signature dishes such as dan dan noodles, scallion pancakes, dumplings in hot oil, and cold sliced beef and tripe (fu qi fei pian)? Yes. The house special frog and the pork intestine with Chinese peppercorn? Perhaps not.
Tsao, a native of Zhejiang who came to the United States to study at Penn State, wants to keep his clientele (notably the thousands of native Chinese college students studying at Penn, Drexel, and Temple) flocking to EMei, whose name is sometimes rendered E-Mai.
Inquirer critic Craig LaBan includes EMei in his list of Szechuan favorites.
SuGa, a portmanteau of the names of Susanna and her son Gabriel, had a three-year run through last spring. It was a quick walk from 1512 Walnut St., the site of her landmark restaurant Susanna Foo, which closed in 2009 after 25 years.