After 12 years, Evan Lambert said,
, his posh Main Line staple (100 Old Gulph Rd., Gulph Mills, 610-520-1200), needed to "evolve."
The reconceptualization, a top-to-bottom renovation completed last month, was not intended to be trendy in any way, says Lambert, who got L.A. designer Ann Vering to use natural materials and a soft color palette.
They carved out small, romantic spaces for the special-occasion crowd that craves chef Andrew Masciangelo's regional Italian cuisine. (Most entrees are $36 to $42.)
They expanded the bar area to occupy part of the first and second floors, and now seat patrons on the patio. The casual menu, with most dishes well under $20, includes charcoal-fired pizzas; hot and cold appetizers (such as polenta with mushrooms, and a frisee with poached egg, bacon and potato traditional); risotto and its Tuscan counterpart farrotto; pastas; and mains (salmon, veal Milanese, pork chop).
, a gastropub in the works for a year and a half, has opened at 11th and Sansom Streets (215-922- 6500). Sue Schlisman, who also owns Devil's Alley across town and Sam's Grills in Wynnewood and Jenkintown, has created a bilevel operation with modern-industrial decor employing concrete, wood, exposed brick wall, and a second-floor skylight. Beer list has 16 on tap, and there are nearly a dozen wines by the glass. Chef Greg Aversa's menu is a lineup of burgers, salads and sandwiches, with some bar snacks (sliders, quesadillas) and 10 or so "big plates" (flame-grilled chicken, St. Louis-style ribs, flank steak, a turkey platter, and soft-shell fish tacos). Most intriguing is the turducken burger, a take on the holiday specialty. Aversa cooks down duck leg in poultry seasoning and thyme, and forms it between patties of ground turkey and ground chicken. Smokin' Betty's is open daily from 11 a.m. through late night.
Mount Airy now has Wine Thief, a bistro at 7152 Germantown Ave. (215-242-6700) with neighborhood-friendly prices and a decent wine list, from owner Chris Simpson. Chef Jared Cohen, an alum of Max & David's in Elkins Park, turns out such starters as eggplant cheesecake (with pine nuts and Parmesan cream sauce) and vegetarian French onion soup; a sandwich menu; and an assortment of entrees including fried chicken (with corn bread pudding and braised collard greens), grilled hanger steak (with chimichurri, mashed plantains, and fried jicama), and a traditional cioppino. Everything is under $20. There's also a children's menu. Wines are priced at $15 over cost.
, the bistro on Leopard Road, tucked off Lancaster Avenue in Berwyn, will solve its parking problems pronto. It's taking the space at 575 Lancaster Ave. that was bistro M, a BYOB. Opening is expected next week; lunch will be added, and Meridith's will keep its current space for catering.
Dads dining at Patou in Old City or Bistro St. Tropez in Center City on Saturday will receive a free rib-eye steak, and on Sunday for Father's Day, Bistro St. Tropez will give away a filet mignon tip sandwich.