Scott Swiderski, who left Buddakan over the summer after 12 years as executive chef, has surfaced on a corner in Washington Square West with a restaurant-bar called the Corner (102 S. 13th St., 215-735-7500). It replaces a short-lived bar/lounge called Apothecary and later APO.
Swiderski, backed by sous chef John "Chainsaw" Taus, has kept his menu small, befitting his tiny open kitchen that looks out to a counter as well as a wee little bar dispensing seven whites, eight reds, five sparkling wines, nine beers, and a complement of $11 cocktails.
The sexily lit street-level dining room has wooden tables and banquettes embedded with adjustable seat backs. The upstairs has been refitted into a comfier lounge maintaining the roof deck.
The menu, with a top price of $18 for grilled tuna, include a meatball salad, fried calamari that hark back to Buddakan, a grilled truffle cheese sandwich with short rib in the middle, and a bowl of rigatoni.
Two South Jersey restaurant veterans are working together now. Steak 38, the old-school meatery in the Hillside Inn (515 Route 38, Cherry Hill, 856-665-4090), has reopened after two years. It is back under original owner Joe DiAmore, who had left about eight years ago to open a Steak 38 in Brigantine, which has since closed.
DiAmore is backed by Ben Blumberg, who ran the South Jersey staple Barnacle Ben's for 33 years.
Steak 38, open from 4 p.m. daily, offers tableside service of Caesar and other salads, carved meat, and bananas Foster. Entree prices start at $19 and quickly head north; they are still a few bucks cheaper than before, and there's an under-$19 sandwich menu as well.
The count of sushi spots in the ground floor of Center City One (1326 Spruce St.) is about to hit five in the last three years since Miraku folded at the end of 2007. Missu was next. Within months, came Muntin and Hasu. Next up, in early January: a branch of Makiman Sushi, whose flagship is at the Five Points intersection in Northeast Philly.
New to Rittenhouse: Yamaki Sushi Bar (209 S. 20th St., 215-545-2388), which has two tables and a seven-seat sushi bar. Owners Patrick Yuen and Erwin Wu do the usual: rolls, sushi/sashimi, and the unusual: cheesesteak, which are maki stuffed with steak and cheese, topped with tempura crunch, and served with rice and seaweed salad.
Stephen Starr says "next week" for the Dandelion, an English pub at 18th and Sansom Streets. It's not named after a weed. Its logo is a dandily dressed lion.