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Philly Restaurateur Neil Stein Has Gone Fishin' Again

Konrad Ejbich
Posted: September 25, 1999

Philadelphia's dining scene will continue its dramatic growth with the opening of Fishmarket, off Rittenhouse Square, in early October. Neil Stein, cofounder of the city's high-profile Striped Bass, is at the helm of this New England-style restaurant and fresh-fish market.

The menu, which changes daily, will feature fresh, simply prepared seafood. The raw bar will offer choices ranging from seasonal favorites such Belon oysters to lesser-known selections such as sea urchins and periwinkles. Diners and passersby may opt to bring their favorite items home from the retail store, which will sell dishes from the menu as well as fish cut to order. Lunch entrees are priced from $8 to $15, while dinner entrees range from $12 to $45.

"We're going back to the old-fashioned way of serving seafood," said Stein, who hired Carolynn Angle, the sous-chef at Striped Bass for five years, as the chef of the 50-seat Fishmarket. Angle highlights the fish itself and other fresh ingredients, and even the presentations are straightforward -- an anomaly in this era of architectural food design.

The wine program is in the same simplified vein. Marnie Old, the sommelier at Striped Bass, has developed a by-the-glass menu of wines for Fishmarket. She feels that this approach allows diners to sample a greater variety of wines than a traditional list, and also to experiment more freely with food-and-wine pairings. "Everything about the wines will be oriented toward drinking them with the food," said Old, who looked for bottlings that would not overwhelm the delicate flavors of fresh fish.

Rather than building a large wine list like the one at the more formal Striped Bass, Old has limited the list at Fishmarket to eight lesser-known wines from around the world, with the selections changing every three months. Among her first choices are Bulletin Place Chardonnay 1996 from Australia, Chateau Ste. Michelle Riesling 1998 from Washington, Martini & Prati Vino Grigio 1996 and Bogle Petite Sirah 1997, both from California. Prices range from about $5 to $7 per glass. "I want it to be easy, fun and enjoyable to drink the wine there," Old said. "Even if I have to disorient people a little, that's OK if it's in their best interest."

122 South 18th St.
Philadelphia, Pa.
Telephone: (215) 569-9080
Restaurant hours: Lunch and dinner, Monday to Saturday
Retail hours: Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

For past reports on restaurants in Philadelphia:

  • July 31, 1999
    Sweet on Savona: A taste of the Italian Riviera graces Philly's Main Line

  • Dec. 15, 1997
    Splish Splash: Philadelphia bubbles over with talented chefs because of Jean-Marie Lacroix's phenomenal Fountain

  • June 15, 1997
    Tony's Town : The peerless Tony Clark's leads the way in establishing Philadelphia's Golden Age of Restaurants

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