3/29/2012 04:54:00 PM

Coming Soon: Solomonov on the Main Line, Vernick in Rittenhouse

Despite early rumors of a second Federal Donuts location, we know now that the next venture from Michael Solmonov and Steve Cook will be something more traditional. Set to open this summer in Merion, Citron and Rose will be a glatt kosher restaurant and catering company. Unlike Society Hill’s Zahav, which serves modern Israeli food, the Main Line dining room will feature interpretations of old world Jewish European dishes.

A full-time mashgiach will be on site to assure kosher practices are followed to the letter. To that end, Cook and Solomonov are not officially allowed to own the restaurant, as they are owners of other, non-kosher establishments. The team has partnered with philanthropist David Magerman (who runs the Kohelet Foundation in support of Jewish day-school education across the country), who will be the official owner.


An open kitchen and chef’s counter will be surrounded by a comfortable 60-seat dining room and a dark wood-marble bar sporting an all-kosher cocktail, beer and wine list. Look for a menu full of  rotisserie meat, housemade charcuterie, an assortment of pickles and vegetable dishes and a freshly baked breads and pastries (368-370 Montgomery Ave., Merion).

And pedigreed chefs continue to flock to Philadelphia. Greg Vernick has experience in such renowned kitchens as NYC’s Restaurant Tocqueville, Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Jean-Georges and Boston’s Clio, but the Cherry Hill, NJ-native is coming home to launch his first solo offering. Vernick Food & Drink will be a modern global restaurant in a brownstone at 2031 Walnut Street.

“We want this restaurant to feel like the vibrant cafes my wife Julie and I visited in Europe, a place where guests can casually stop by to relax while enjoying great food and drink without a lot of fuss,” Vernick says. His menu will feature dishes that range from $5-$26, divided into sections of toasts (crostini and bruschetta); raw (shellfish and tartares); vegetables (salads and sides); small plates (think housemade mozzarella with rhubarb jam and sea salt); large plates (for example, potato ravioli with lamb ragu) and “simply roasted” sharing platters served family style.

The bi-level space, just off Rittenhouse Square, will feature large bistro windows downstairs, opening onto a 10-seat slate bar surrounded by high-tops. Further into the first floor will be an intimate dining area with partially exposed brick walls, as well as a chef’s counter. Upstairs, elegantly appointed maple-wood tables will provide seating for 45 more, alongside floor-to-ceiling windows. A spring opening is projected (2031 Walnut St.).

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