Michael Solomonov gets the (well-deserved) glory for the mini empire of CookNSolo Philadelphia eateries (Zahav, Dizengoff, etc.) that he runs with partner Steven Cook. But outside the spotlight, the Solomonov acolyte Yehuda Sichel is turning out foods of the Jewish Diaspora at Abe Fisher, which CookNSolo opened in September 2014.
Sichel, who went to culinary school in Israel, was sous-chef at Zahav and ran the kitchen at Citron & Rose, a kosher spot the group is no longer affiliated with.
It didn’t take long for Philadelphia Inquirer restaurant critic Craig LaBan to rave that executive chef Sichel “wields schmaltz here like liquid gold.”
In January, Travel + Leisure put the restaurant on its Best New Restaurants list, saying, “Yehuda Sichel spins deliciously irreverent riffs on the foods of the Jewish Diaspora.”
Philadelphia magazine called Abe Fisher “Best Restaurant to Show Off to Your NYC Friends,” writing, “Anyone who thinks America’s best Ashkenazi and Sephardic foods are locked up in some Lower East Side deli simply hasn’t tasted the matzo brei and pastrami-style short ribs at this Rittenhouse newbie.”
In June, the Baltimore-born Sichel, 29, cooked at the James Beard House, which dubbed his meal “Sexy New Jewish Cooking.” In July, Eater named Abe Fisher one of the 21 Best New Restaurants in America; in March, Sichel was named a semifinalist for the James Beard Award for Best New Restaurant.
2015 was also the year Sichel proposed to his girlfriend. He’ll be married in 2016, a year we suspect will find him lit up by his very own spotlight.