Laser Wolf, the sequel to Philadelphia’s game-changing Israeli restaurant Zahav, is ready to start serving lamb skewers, kale baba ghanoush, creamy hummus, and fresh-from-the-oven pita in Kensington, which can now officially call itself Philly’s next restaurant destination. The grill-focused spot from James Beard Award winners Mike Solomonov and Steve Cook opens Thursday, February 6. Reservations are now being taken on Laser Wolf’s website.
Laser Wolf is a skewer house, or shipudiya in Hebrew, named after Lazar Wolf, the butcher in iconic Jewish musical Fiddler on the Roof. (According to Fiddler on the Roof documentary Fiddler: A Miracle of Miracles, the show has been performed somewhere around the world every day for half a century.) In charge of the charcoal grill in the open kitchen is Andrew Henshaw, formerly chef de cuisine at Zahav and now executive chef at Laser Wolf.
A meal at the restaurant starts with freshly made pita, that hummus Zahav (and Solomonov and Cook’s Dizengoff) is famous for, and small shiny bowls filled with salatim: sweet potato muhammara, eggplant and pepper relish, braised fennel with orange, shaved Brussels sprouts with hazelnuts and spicy amba, Israeli pickles and Castelvetrano olives, pumpkin chershi, eggplant baba ghanoush, kale baba ghanoush, dill and lentil tabbouleh, white beans with peppers and tomato, shipka peppers with pickled longhots, and shaved cucumbers with harissa.
You’ll want to fill up on those, but that’s just the opening gambit. Next come the grilled meats, fish, and vegetables, with options like Romanian beef kebab, lamb merguez, chicken with a guava marinade, Tunisian-style tuna with a fiery harissa glaze, and fat mushrooms with pine nut tahini. Or go for the whole branzino for two, prepared Palestinian-style, stuffed with ginger, dill seed, and Aleppo pepper. Dinner concludes with a soft-serve ice cream sundae, included in the price.
To drink, there are citrus-y cocktails like the salty lion with gin, arak, grapefruit, mint, and salt, or the alcohol-free passion fruit cooler. The wine list highlights bottles from Israel.
The look at Laser Wolf, located in a former warehouse at the corner of Howard and Thompson streets, near the destination restaurants of Fishtown, is casual-cool, with industrial elements, globe lanterns and string lights, and brightly patterned tablecloths meant to call up the vibe of the Machane Yehuda Market in the Israeli city of Jerusalem. There’s room for 90 diners across tables, a 12-seat bar, and, in warm weather, outdoor tables.
It’s open for dinner only, Sunday to Thursday from 5 to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday until 11 p.m. If Zahav, named the best restaurant in the country at the 2019 James Beard Awards, is any indication, reservations at Laser Wolf should be booked well in advance.
Take a look around: