Let's Eat: Bring your clubs to da club
Eat, drink, and play golf indoors. And how about Craig LaBan's picks for a celebratory brunch.
Drinks and food during your golf game? That's the hook at the new Golf & Social in Fishtown. Also this week, we head to Ardmore for Korean food, to King of Prussia for a huge slice of Americana, and to Reading Terminal Market for a New Orleans riff on a Philly cheesesteak, if that's OK bayou. Critic Craig LaBan also offers a few ideas for a celebratory brunch in the city. If you need food news, click here and follow me on Twitter and Instagram. Email your tips, suggestions, and questions here. If someone forwarded you this free newsletter and you like what you're reading, sign up here to get it free every week.
Getting into the swing at Golf & Social
Sports such as bowling and Ping Pong get the bar/restaurant treatment. Now add indoor golf, with Golf & Social (1080 N. Delaware Ave.), in the softest of soft-opening modes across from SugarHouse Casino in Fishtown. G&S had a year's run in Marlton before moving into the short-lived Johnny Mañana's. Open from 10 a.m. till the last duffer quits (it's about $55 an hour to play one of 87 famous courses on the four 18-foot simulators), G&S boasts a roomy, well-stocked first-floor bar as well as the second-floor game room with billiards, foosball, and golf simulators, where you line up and tee off into a screen. Menu is mainly pub fare — par for the course —but owner Rick Troost says it's due to expand. So is the club itself: The third-floor deck will hop next spring with revelers who will get two views — SugarHouse and Ben Franklin Bridge to the east, and Center City to the west. Note: If you're headed south on Delaware, you can park in a lot before you get to the front door. It's across from SugarHouse's north driveway. Pop "1100 N. Delaware Ave." into your GPS to hit it.
What we’re drinking
Earl Grey gin cocktail at Black Cat Tavern on 12th
For this week's BarCode column, Samantha Melamed visited Drinks & Dragons, a traveling Dungeons & Dragons game night at the Black Cat Tavern on 12th in deep South Philly. Earl Grey fans will love this tea-and-gin cocktail ($7), lightened with agave syrup and tarted up with a splash of lemon juice. It's like the perfect glass of iced tea with lemon, but with the boozy magic of a gin cocktail. What to eat with it? A bergamot be nice.
Where we’re eating: Bam Bam Kitchen, Founding Farmers, Beck’s Creole Cafe
Quick! Name a Korean restaurant on the Main Line! Before last week's opening of Bam Bam Kitchen (31 E. Lancaster Ave. in Ardmore), you'd have been stumped. An IT professional set up this lively BYO in two shimmering, colorful rooms in a storefront. Menu includes galbi tang (shown; it's the warming beef short-rib soup), plus japchae, bibimbap, and dduk-bae-gi bulgogi, and assorted banchan (sides). Korean fried chicken is on the way. It's open for lunch and dinner daily.
You want it, you pretty much can get it at the sprawling Founding Farmers, which just opened in King of Prussia Town Center. There's a bake shop, a creamery, a bar pouring house-made spirits, and well-portioned, American food. Day starts with breakfasts served at the Reading Terminal-inspired U-shaped counter on the first floor, and segues to lunch, dinner, and late-night snacks upstairs. Shown is a pork-rib platter. More details are here.
Before you is the Trainwreck, the signature sandwich at Beck's Cajun Cafe at Reading Terminal Market. Owner Bill Beck says it's what a cheesesteak wants to be when it grows up. Stuffed into that crunchy baguette: steak, andouille sausage, Genoa salami, caramelized onions, American cheese, Creole mayo, and what he bills as "devil's dust" spices. Packs a punch for $9.95.
This week’s openings
Haute | Rittenhouse
Chef Matt Zagorski (ex-Rouge) is consulting on this comfy American bar/restaurant at the Academy House (1420 Locust St.) that takes on a lounge vibe later in the evening.
The Love | Rittenhouse
Stephen Starr and Aimee Olexy open their sultry, buzzy-but-romantic seasonal American restaurant, with Joshua Tomaszewski at the stove, at 18th and Sansom Streets, on Wednesday, Nov. 8. It's dinner only at the start.
Royal Boucherie | Old City
Thursday, Nov. 9 is the target opening of this lively, French-influenced American brasserie from chef Nicholas Elmi (Laurel, ITV) at 52 S. Second St. It will be dinner only at the start.
Yards Taproom | Northern Liberties
A little look ahead: Nov. 16 is the target opening of the vast new location of the Philly beer king, as it takes 500 Spring Garden St. on the edge of NoLibs. Jim Burke (ex-James) is chef.
No closings this week.
Your dining questions, answered
Reader: We have a pre-hockey tournament brunch on Saturday for six adults, one well-behaved 5-year-old and a birthday. What's your pick right now?
Craig LaBan: Lots of great options in Philly, but the larger group (and a special occasion) will require planning. I love the brunch at Noord for stroopwafels, rabbit frittata, house-smoked fish, and brisket hash. The Dutch, the even more casual place in Pennsport that Noord owner Joncarl Lachman operates with Lee Styer, the chef/owner of Fond, is also great — but maybe a little casual, considering the birthday. If it's a grown-up birthday, you might consider brunching among the giant bank of beer fridges at Hawthornes, where I loved the chicken and waffles. Both Kanella South and Kanella Grill do an excellent job putting a Cypriot spin on brunch, with Kanella South in Queen Village being the fancier destination for a celebration. Other reliable brunch spots: Parc (the classic brasserie for quiche and pancakes!), the original Green Eggs in South Philly (more casual, long lines), Standard Tap (the gastropub classic in Northern Liberties, home of the Mighty Mary), Day By Day (a neighborhood standby just west of Rittenhouse, and doing it right). A few other options from the all-day (three-bell) café crowd: homey Hungry Pigeon, minimalist Res Ipsa, and swanky Walnut Street Café. Here's one more I've yet to test-drive myself: stylish Wm. Mulherin's Sons in Fishtown is now doing brunch. This was one of my absolute favorites from 2016, and is still so popular that brunch might actually be your best bet to get a table. Speck & egg pizza? Smoked salmon toast with grappa crema? Yes, please.
Email Craig here, and join his chat at 2 p.m. Tuesdays at Philly.com/food.
The best dining in the ‘burbs
After 4,000 miles and countless calories, Craig LaBan has come up with 150-plus excellent food destinations in the Pennsylvania and New Jersey suburbs. Go to philly.com/food for the full guide or buy the print version at philly.com/store.