"Simple" .. "uncomplicated" ... "fresh."
For the last several months, Dana Smith Farrell has been rolling out these adjectives when people ask her about Avenue Kitchen, the restaurant that she and her brother, Gregory, are opening Monday, May 6 at 789 Lancaster Ave. in Villanova (610-525-3950).
The bar/restaurant occupies a portion of the space previously occupied by Maia and Mixx in the center behind the Villanova post office and just off the Blue Route. The look is timelessly classic bistro, with angled mirrors high on the walls, whitewashed bricks, reclaimed tables and chairs made of recycled Coke bottles, and comfy neutral, leather-and-velvet banquettes.
Farrell is a partner in the Harvest Seasonal Grill & Wine Bars in Glen Mills and University City. She founded, with her now-ex-husband, Classic Diner in Malvern.
Smith, a Culinary Institute of America grad who has worked for Georges Perrier, Jean-Marie Lacroix, and Chris Scarduzio, has indeed kept the menu simple: eight sandwiches (including a grilled cheese topped with Black Forest ham, Gruyere, balsamic-poached pear and Dijon mustard); seven entrees (short rib, meat loaf, salmon, flat-iron steak, day-boat scallops); four pizzas (he uses milk in his dough); six salads; and 10 apps. Pay special attention to the fries.
It will be open for lunch and dinner daily.
The quick-serve juice and burrito bar Animo - which started five years ago in Haddonfield - opens Monday, May 6 in ground-floor space in The Arch, the apartment building across from the Comcast Center at 17th and Arch Streets.
Joe and Anthony Gentlesk have taken advantage of the hundred-year-old building, built as a hotel and once known as the Robert Morris Building. The Philadelphia menu will be the same as Haddonfield's: juices, burritos, soups, salads, plus many gluten-free items. In fact, Sunday brunch's entire menu is gluten-free.
Hours are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday brunch.
Noord is nigh
You've probably been herring great things about chef Joncarl Lachman, who expects to open his BYOB, Noord, on Wednesday, May 8, at 11th and Tasker Streets (1046 Tasker St.), just off East Passyunk Avenue. Lachman, a Philadelphia native who left as a young man to see the world. After waitering and managing, he went to culinary school, worked for Anne Rosenzweig and opened two restaurants in Chicago. Noord is aiming at a classic bistro atmosphere with a Northern European focus as Lachman gets in touch with his Dutch roots. (See menu here.)
Gianluca and Rosemarie Demontis of the Rittenhouse Italian BYOB Melograno have inked a lease for a second restaurant, at 816 W. Lancaster Ave. in Bryn Mawr - the former Ha Long Bay next to Verdad and two doors from Bryn Mawr Film Institute. Fraschetta, which has a June target date, will be a second BYOB. Rosemarie is behind the rustic design, which will use reclaimed wood. Luca, a Roman native, is building his Roman menu around slow cooking, especially porchetta d'Ariccia.
Philly will get a taste of Maine lobster rolls on May 16. Luke's Lobster - a burgeoning quick-serve founded by a young, entrepreneurial lobsterman - is taking the subterranean space that was Bonte waffles at 130 S. 17th St. It's counter service - much like the true Maine experience. The sustainably harvested seafood comes from 28-year-old founder Luke Holden's own company. The split-top lobster rolls are stuffed with lobster - not lobster salad with mayo, onions, scallions, or other filler. They're just a quarter-pound of lobster meat and a swipe of mayo in the bun and a dash of lemon butter and seasoning on top, for $15. Menu is simple: Besides the lobster rolls, there are shrimp and crab rolls made of Jonah crab from Beals Island and Maine shrimp from Casco Bay; Hurricane's chowders and bisques, flown in from Greene, Maine; Empress crab claw; a dessert called The Blue Monster (Gifford's of Maine's Blueberry ice cream sandwiched between two large, homemade chocolate chip cookies); and Maine Root soda.
Nine months after it was destroyed by fire, the South Street pizza landmark Lorenzo & Sons is back. An informal taste-test at 305 South St. shows that nothing has changed. The $3 slices yielded by 28-inch pies are enormous and foldable, even for patrons whose late-night dexterity may be somewhat lacking. It's open till 3 a.m. weeknights, till 4 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Owner Giuseppe Pulizzi says he will modify his longstanding no-toppings-on-slices rule but only will allow them on Tuesdays.
Philly will get some face time on BBQ Pitmasters, the Destination America reality series that has teams of cooks smoking and grilling for money and glory. Glenn Gross of Fat Jack's teams up with his former business partner, Ed Willis (who now owns Lumpy's BBQ in Blackwood). Great casting. They're like brothers of the best buddies/worst enemies variety. The episode is part of Season 5, which premieres June 2.
Michael Solomonov and Steve Cook say they have concluded what they now describe as a consulting arrangement with Citron & Rose, the kosher restaurant they helped open last November for philanthropist David Magerman in Merion Station. The restaurant will remain in business. (Magerman says the operation will expand to other locations.) Solomonov had been as billed as executive chef. With kosher laws at the heart of the operation, he and Cook were not billed as "owners" because they own restaurants serving non-kosher food (Zahav, Federal Donuts, Percy Street). In a statement, Cook and Solomonov said chef de cuisine Yehuda Sichel would "return temporarily to Zahav as we work on our next restaurant project."