Devil's Den, Valanni, Dine Out Japan.
In what might be the most anticipated (and most delayed) opening we've come across in a while, Devil's Den, the new bar on 11th and Ellsworth in South Philly, finally threw open its doors last week and revealed a bar full of delicious craft brew (Schneider Aventinus on tap, anyone?) and a menu full of corny Lucifer-themed dishes (Sinnach Salad, Satan Tips). Even though we had whiskey, we really enjoyed the beautifully organized and exceptionally deep beer menu, divided into the broad "ale" and "lager" categories then broken down by type within each category. It sounds nitpicky, but many restaurants/bars tout their massive beverage selections, whether they're wine or beer, and then apply no thought to the menu arrangement or wording. That's foolish, since an appealingly organized written menu is often a better, or at least more consistent, sales tool than a waiter who may or may not have had the opportunity to try everything on the list. It also appears to have been carefully proofread, another rarity (seriously, restaurant people: spell check!). The bar itself is quite handsome with dark wood accents, rich orange-and-yellow-toned surfaces and a double-sided fireplace made of rough-hewn beams, a remarkably tame look for a place that's inspired by hell. >> Devil's Den, 1148 S. 11th St. 215.339.0855
One of our favorite Gayborhood restaubars, Valanni has been hammering and sawing its way into the space next door, expanding the formerly narrow space into something more than double its original width. The new addition opens to the public on Tuesday with a revamped menu, fresh specialty drinks, and twice the table seating and bar capacity. That's good news whether you're dining or just having a drink while you wait for a table at its sister restaurant Mercato across the street. >> Valanni, 1229 Spruce St. 215.790.9494. www.valanni.com
Craving yakitori? Maki? Tataki? Well, this week you can get all of your favorite Japanese dishes at a discount. For Dine out Japan, part of the Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival, participating Japanese restaurants are offering 20 percent off your food bill. The list of participating restaurants is impressive; it includes newer spots like Yakitori Boy and Kaizan as well as sushi standards like Shiroi Hana and Genji. Just go online to download the special coupon, and present it at one of the participating restaurants. This may be the only time we heartily recommend eating discount sushi. >> Mon., April 14-Fri., April 18. www.jasgp.org/cherryblossomfestival