Gwen Zheng and Alfred Leung, children of restaurant families, were optimists when they named their first restaurant


. Turns out they were prescient, given the early crowds at the modern Chinese BYOB at 11 Cricket Ave. in Ardmore (610-642-1858).

Don't expect a phone book-size menu of fried foods. Menu is contemporary, including salads, wraps, seafood/poultry/meat entrees, and even veggie burgers. Dinner entrees are mostly $11 to $18. Specialty is a create-your-own wok stir-fry ($8.95 to $12.95), in which you choose a style and ingredients. Auspicious is open daily for lunch and dinner.

What's new

Crabcake king Robert Sliwowski has opened his seventh

Bobby Chez's

at 1352 South St. (215-732-1003) - his first in Pennsylvania. (It's mostly takeout because most take away his food to heat at home, though he offers six tables.) His second Pennsylvania location, his largest yet, is a few weeks away, and it'll be a bar-restaurant: It's under construction at Routes 202 and 1 at the Shoppes at Brinton Lake in Glen Mills (610-358-5020).

Stella Blu

(101 Ford St., West Conshohocken) has reopened after a renovation that expanded the bar and a reconceptualization that changed the menu from Italian toward American-global small and large plates (dinner examples: crabmeat risotto for $14; lobster-and-pork spring roll, $9; spaghetti and meatballs, $12; veal picante, $23). It's open weekdays for lunch, nightly for dinner.

Three recent-comers to Phoenixville: Daniel Lisman has opened

Bookend Cafe

on Route 23 (847 Valley Forge Rd. in the Shops of Corner Stores, 610-933-4649), a quaint breakfast-luncher open from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays through Saturday. On the main drag,

Bistro 156

(156 Bridge St., 610-935-6495) represents chef-owner Mark Gellert's retooling of his Panini's restaurant into a cozy, moderate-priced American BYOB bistro open for dinner Tuesdays through Saturdays, plus Sundays for a $10.95 buffet brunch. Tuesdays, he doles comp wine; Wednesdays and Thursdays are a $25 fixed-price; and live jazz plays Saturdays. And the corner of Bridge and Main Streets now has the sprawling, curio-filled

Molly Maguire's

(195-97 Bridge St., 610-933-9550), an Irish resto-pub run by Irish-born first-timers Declan Mannion and Conor Cummins. It's open daily for lunch and dinner.

Briefly noted


is the name and contemporary Greek is the concept for the Old City spot that formerly housed




(246 Market St.). Restaurateurs Nick and Bill Lavdas have brought their plans before the Old City Civic Association, and hope to get rolling this spring.

Christian Speicher, former longtime chef at Sullivan's in King of Prussia, has gone the catering route, with Designer Catering in Blue Bell.


Hot Potato Cafe

(529 E. Girard Ave.) has started Sunday brunch.

Chef James Locascio at

Barclay Prime

on Rittenhouse Square - home of the $100 cheesesteak - has started offering Tajima beef, which supposedly is more tender than Kobe beef. Tajima, raised in Australia and imported by Indian Ridge Provisions of Telford, is not cheap on the menu: $80 for an 8-ounce filet; $90 for the 16-ounce strip; and $245 for the 36-ounce porterhouse.