Playing against type, Saté Kampar, a humble Malaysian BYOB on East Passyunk Avenue, made the James Beard Foundation's list of semifinalists for its 2017 award for best new restaurant in America.
The yearling - which Craig LaBan praised in a two-bell review - is one of 27 best-new-restaurant candidates, including the white-hot Le Coucou, the Stephen Starr-Daniel Rose partnership in New York City. Winners in the category typically have million-dollar cocktail programs and publicists on retainer.
Philadelphia's other notable semifinalists is Zahav, the modern Israeli restaurant in Society Hill Towers. It made the so-called long list in three categories: chef, service, and rising star chef.
Also making the Beard's semifinalists:
Scott Anderson, of Elements; Joey Baldino, of Zeppoli; Nicholas Elmi, of Laurel; Dwain Kalup, of Domaine Hudson; Rich Landau, of Vedge; Cristina Martinez and Benjamin Miller, of South Philly Barbacoa; Greg Vernick, of Vernick Food & Drink are among the 20 semifinalists vying for chef, Mid-Atlantic. (Landau and Vernick were finalists last year.)
Tova du Plessis of East Passyunk's Essen Bakery and Elizabeth Degener of Cape May's Enfin Farms for baker
Chesapeake & Maine, of Rehoboth Beach, Del., and Martha, of Kensington, for bar
Michael Solomonov, of Society Hill's Zahav for chef; he was a finalist last year and is the last Philadelphian to win the Midatlantic chef category (in 2011)
Zahav for service
Zahav's Camille Cogswell and Jesse Ito of Queen Village's Royal Izakaya for rising-star chef
Pat O'Malley, of Hungry Pigeon in Queen Village for pastry chef
Sagami, of Collingswood, for outstanding restaurant open more than 10 years.
Stephen Starr, of Starr Restaurants, and Ellen Yin, of Fork, High Street on Market, and High Street on Hudson, for restaurateur
Sam Calagione, of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, and Herman C. Mihalich and John S. Cooper, of Dad's Hat Pennsylvania Rye Whiskey for wine, spirits, or beer professional
The list will be culled and the finalists announced on March 15. Awards ceremony will be May 1 in Chicago.
The full list is here.
FYI: Despite a strong showing among the semifinalists and finalists last year, Philadelphians were shut out.