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Wine Thief comes to Mount Airy

The neighborhood bistro opens Wednesday.

Wine Thief, Chris Simpson's bistro at 7152 Germantown Ave. (215-242-6700), is due to open Wednesday night. Chef Jared Cohen has worked at Max & David's in Elkins Park.

An early menu did not have prices, but Simpson has said everything is priced for the neighborhood. The establishment was among the recipients of a city incentive grant.

Expect such starters as eggplant cheesecake (with pine nuts & parmesan cream sauce), halibut ceviche with red onion, mandarin orange bell peppers & cilantro, a "Thief Roll" (with ahi tuna, wakame soy & wasabi crema); vegetarian French onion soup; and PEI mussels. Salads included a Caesar and Nicoise. Sandwich menu includes a vegetable burger, Buffalo burger and Black Angus burger, plus a grilled organic chicken sandwich with fresh mozzarella, broccoli rabe & sundried tomato aioli. Entree list included fried chicken (with corn bread pudding & braised collard greens); grilled hanger steak (with chimichurri, mashed plantains & fried jicama); a traditional cippino stew (with mussels, shrimp & halibut); seared tuna (with Israeli couscous salad & lemon mustard aioli); buffalo meatloaf (with roasted garlic mashed, grilled asparagus & shallot tomato sauce); and vegetable shepherd's pie. Nightly specials will include pork porterhouse, mac and cheese, roast duck, and lobster pot pie. There's also a kid's menu, whose selections include an organic hot dog and homemade organic chicken tenders.

The wine list is not set, but bottles will be priced $15 over retail, and glasses will be commensurately priced.

As for the name: "My wife and I were struck, as if by lightning, at the 2004 Virginia Wine Festival. While visiting Barboursville Vineyard, at our first barrel tasting, a wine thief took the stage. This simple "J"-shaped straw-like tube allowed us to taste merlot barrel aged 3 months compared to one aged 3 years. Tasting directly from the barrel is a treat, yet the experience was trumped by the introduction to a wine thief. This simple & efficient apparatus stole our hearts. We knew we had found a name and the inspiration for our restaurant."