Stephen Starr is going the English pub route near Rittenhouse Square with The Dandelion (122-24 S. 18th St., 215-558-2500) in adjoining storefronts at 18th and Sansom Streets. Opening is 3 p.m. Friday.
The clubby environs start at the downstairs bar (on the Sansom side, where a shoe store was) and sprawl over two floors (in the restaurant space that has been Mantra and Fishmarket). Dining rooms include a sunroom with bay windows looking onto 18th and a richly appointed upstairs bar.
Chef Robert Aikens not only is an Englishman (with plenty of U.S. private-chef experience), but his kitchen uses metric measures as he stresses precision.
Menu stresses stick-to-your-ribness: charcuterie offerings; duck bolognese with pappardelle and fried duck egg; mac-and-cheese amped by ham hock; braised beef short rib and onion cottage pie; fish and chips; Cumberland sausages, mashed potato, and onion gravy; rabbit, root vegetable, bacon, and prune pie; grilled mackerel; and chicken and beef roasts served "on Sundays and bank holidays."
It's open for lunch and dinner daily.
The corner of 18th and Sansom, by the way, will see a Philly branch of the hot New York Italian eatery Serafina, which is taking shape at 10 Rittenhouse. A March opening is expected.
Dublin Square, an Irish themer (viz.: staff in kilts), opens Monday after $1.5 million in renovations to the former Swanky Bubbles in the Short Hills Towne Center (482 Evesham Rd., Cherry Hill, 856-520-8312). Brothers Mike and Sean McGeough, who own a Dublin Square in Bordentown, spent much of their youth in Dublin. They've added a 10,000-square-foot radiant-heated patio. All told: three bars with tile works above, Irish art, seven dining rooms, and a game room for kids. Chef Savann Sot most recently was chef at DJ's Steakhouse at Trump Marina Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City. It's open for lunch and dinner daily.
Monsù is the name of the Sicilian restaurant Peter McAndrews will open at 901 Christian St., now home of the South Philly branch of Paesano's, his sandwich shop. McAndrews, who also owns the Italian BYOB Modo Mio on the edge of Northern Liberties, is moving Paesano's to 1017 S. Ninth St., formerly Bebe's Barbecue. McAndrews, who traveled to Sicily with his chef Damien Messina, said Monsù will be a casual BYOB whose Sicilian cuisine will include touches of Spain, France, and Mexico. It will be open for brunch and dinner. The name Monsù is a Sicilian corruption of the French honorific Monseigneur, from the era when wealthy Sicilians hired French chefs. McAndrews aims to open Monsù and the new Paesano's about Jan. 21.
Pumpkin, the BYOB at 1713 South St., has brought in Chris Kearse as chef de cuisine under co-owner/chef Ian Moroney. Kearse, a vet of Lacroix, has added modern plating to Pumpkin's rustic menu.