1/02/2013 12:19:00 PM

Christopher Lee Works on Menu for Sophia’s With Continued Pop-Up

Chef Lee in the new kitchen
As we noted last week, former Striped Bass chef Christopher Lee is back in Philadelphia, preparing with partner Joe Massara to turn the former Striped Bass on East Passyunk into Sophia’s. Though a full kitchen revamp is complete, the front of the house won’t be redone until later this spring. In the meantime, the space is hosting dinners pop-up style, and Lee is looking for input as he tweaks his future menu. We had a chance to stop in prior to the New Year and sample some of the dishes in question.

The bar plate dubbed “Sophia’s meatballs" was the runaway hit of the evening, with huge rounds of moist, herb-rich meat sunk in a base of cheesy polenta swirled with red sauce. (Meatballs are one of the most-heralded dishes at Lee’s Long Island gastropub, Huntington Social.) Other dishes on the in-progress bar menu include braised short rib flatbread (the crust was crispy but not brittle); pastrami pork belly sliders; and tuna tartare with kimchi.

On the working dining room bill of fare we tried a perfectly-grilled NY strip steak, served with traditional accompaniments of creamed spinach and potatoes, and a peppercorn jus. Other options included butternut squash ravioli, seared sea scallops, grilled branzino and - why not? - wild striped bass. Well-executed (and strong) cocktails on offer included the 1623 Old Fashioned (Buffalo Trace bourbon, cinnamon, clove, star anise) and the Passyunk Pear Drop (Tito’s vodka, pear purée, Cointreau).

The restaurant will reopen for dinner this Friday, January 4, with slightly different offerings, and Lee and chef de cuisine Oris Jeffers are looking for input from patrons. Former Bodhi Coffee manager Nora Byrne has been hired to oversee the front of the house. Call for exact hours and reservations, and let us know what you think (215-238-1920).


Post a Comment