Chef Joncarl Lachman completes a long-sought homecoming with this month's opening of Noord - his Northern European bistro - at 1046 Tasker St. (267-909-9704), the southeast corner of 11th and Tasker. The 38-seat, white-tablecloth BYOB has a chef's counter.
Lachman is drawing from his Dutch heritage and his extensive travels from the Netherlands north into Scandinavia, as well as from his work with chef Anne Rosenzweig at NYC's Arcadia and inspiration from NYC's Prune.
And though the menu may have you scurrying to your Dutch-to-English dictionary, the food is actually quite accessible. He describes it as home cooking with "attention to detail."
Noord's debut completes a homecoming for Lachman, who grew up in Southwest Philly and Darby.
Oy vey, Maria
Laura Frangiosa is Italian. Husband Joshua Skaroff is Jewish. The Avenue Delicatessen - a retro-looking sitdown/takeout/catering operation they opened at 27 N. Lansdowne Ave. in Lansdowne (610-622-3354) with friend Brian Flounders - is both.
As in straightforward Jewish cooking (house-cured corned beef) and Italian cooking (meatballs), as well as a fusion that you might term "Jewtalian." Jewish wedding soup, a riff on Italian wedding soup, includes "sinker"-style matzo balls, veal mini-meatballs, and escarole. Everything is made from scratch, including the mayo (but not the Heinz ketchup), says Frangiosa, chef-in-residence at Audrey Claire's Cook demo kitchen, working with chef Becca O'Brien, formerly of Green Aisle Grocery.
The former Dairy Queen on Montgomery Avenue in Narberth will become a branch of Burger.Org, the glatt-kosher burger chain with locations at 19th and Chestnut Streets and in Elkins Park, Cherry Hill, and Margate. It's a few weeks away.
Rakesh and Heather Ramola are looking at June 1 to open a Center City branch of IndeBlue, their Collingswood Indian BYOB, at 205 S. 13th St. In the former Pastoral space, across from the old Letto Deli, it will have a small bar.
Han Chiang, who has taken his Han Dynasty from a Sichuan BYOB in a strip mall in the western burbs to a six-location mini-chain, has vowed to make his boldest move yet. He says he will take over the massive (and long-vacant) restaurant space in the old Corn Exchange Building at 123 Chestnut St. as a new location for his Old City restaurant, now located down the street at 108 Chestnut. Chiang told me that he gets the keys to the new place - which opened in 1996 as Rococo and later housed a series of ill-fated clubs and a steak house - in July. His lease at 108 Chestnut is up in November, but he says he hopes to shift the operation sooner.
NoBL, a BYOB sibling of Sycamore in Lansdowne, called it quits after 10 months, as did Pure Tacos at 1935 Chestnut St.
With nearly three dozen restaurants and more in development, Stephen Starr and his people brainstorm and review many ideas for bowls, platters, pitchers, glassware, flatware, vases, salt and pepper shakers, and the like. And none of it is junk. Starr buys such brands as Rosenthal, Fortessa, Fiestaware, Steelite, and Homer Laughlin.
The inventory - 20 huge boxes - has been donated to Philabundance, which is offering it for sale during the Rittenhouse Row Spring Festival on Saturday from noon to 5 p.m., rain or shine. Philabundance will sell pieces at reasonable prices (just a few dollars each) on the 1800 block of Walnut.