The Jew And The Carrot

Michael Solomonov Brings Proper Hummus to Philly

By Liz Steinberg

  • Print
  • Share Share
Michael Regan

Is Philadelphia hungry for Israeli and Jewish foods? Chef Michael Solomonov certainly thinks so.

Solomonov and his business partner Steve Cook announced that they’ll be adding two more restaurants to their group, which already includes the award-winning Israeli-style restaurant Zahav: A laid back Israeli-style Hummus restaurant named Dizengoff, and a restaurant with “traditional Jewish Diaspora” foods named Abe Fisher. Both are slated to launch down the street from each other in spring 2014, on 16th and Sansom Street in center city Philadelphia.

The news of the latest restaurants in the works broke last week, as the two were in the air, returning from a food tour they had led in Israel.

At Dizengoff the focus will be “really great, consistent hummus,” says Solomonov, who was born in Israel and spent his childhood moving between Israel and the United States.

The menu at the 25-seat restaurant will be very limited, he says. At the moment, he isn’t willing to commit to serving anything beyond hummus and tahini.

“Minimalism is kind of going what we’re going for,” says Solomonov. The restaurant will be “accessible” in terms of both concept and price, he says.

The hummus, which will be made fresh several times a day, hopefully will be faithful to what’s found in Israel, says Solomonov. But the restaurant will be doing one thing different from many of Israel’s most popular, packed hummusiyot: “I don’t plan on asking people to get up and leave” in order to make room for new customers, says Solomonov.

The second restaurant, 50-seat Abe Fisher, is slated to be just down the street from Dizengoff. The inspiration is Jewish cuisine in Europe, the United States and Canada, or more specifically Jewish-style restaurants like those in Paris, Budapest, New York and Montreal, he says. Unlike the similarly themed Citron and Rose which Solomonov consulted on earlier this year, Abe Fisher will not be kosher.

The menu will involve “chicken broth and things that kind of evoke classics we grew up with and love,” says Solomonov. While it’s too early to say exactly what will be on the menu, Solomonov can say that diners shouldn’t expect straightforward, traditional food — everything will have “a kind of twist,” he says.

Aside from Zahav, which launched in 2008, other restaurants in Solomonov and Cook’s group are southern-inspired Percy Street Barbecue, and two locations of Federal Donuts, which serves donuts in the morning and fried chicken later in the day.

Solomonov, who was named one of “Food and Wine” magazine’s top “empire builders” last year, believes that now is a good time to be serving Israeli and Jewish foods, in Philadelphia and in general.

“I think that Israeli food and Jewish food has a place in modern dining,” he says. “I think there’s a lot of room for it,” adding, “Philly is a great place because everyone is so excited by stuff like this.”

Israeli food in particular is gaining popularity, he believes.

“There’s a lot of momentum for Israeli food in particular and we want to represent that as well as we can,” he says.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: michael solomonov, hummus, dizengoff, citron and rose

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: 10,000 Israel supporters gathered for a solidarity rally near the United Nations in New York yesterday.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.