Center City chefs moving westward

CENTER CITY - October 25, 2012

Suburbanites like to dine out. They have the income to do it and the knowledge as well. But until this month, few Center City restaurateurs have taken their expertise directly to them. That all changed when The St. James opened at Suburban Square.

Competitors downtown, Rob Wasserman of Rouge and Michael Schulson of Sampan formed a partnership and leased space adjoining the Tines Building tower.

They've created a welcoming set of rooms designed to attract customers back more than once a week. Wasserman grew up in the neighborhood and is confident the Main Line is ready for downtown-quality food. Running the kitchen side, Chef Michael Schulson has come up with a flexible menu that lets the diner decide the experience.

Schulson, who's known mainly for Asian fare in Center City and Atlantic city, oversees an American bistro menu that emphasizes small plates and choice. He believes appetizers should be bursting with flavor.

His entrees...simply-prepared proteins like pork, chicken, and fish are generous without being overwhelming. Side dishes complement the selections, and there are desserts, of course.

You're free to assemble a meal of any description and then enjoy how it all works together. The main dining room is warm and casual. The bar is, too, and has unobtrusive features that accommodate today's dining public. So there are charging stations where you can plug in personal electronics and take advantage of the house wi-fi.

Moderate pricing means customers can become regulars...even visiting several times a week without breaking the budget. The menu features a special entree for each night of the week. Their Center City restaurants like Rouge and Sampan continue to thrive, but Wasserman and Schulson are giving The St. James full attention right now. It's just how they do business.

For now, The St. James is open nightly for dinner. In a few weeks, the plan calls for lunch on weekdays and brunch both weekend days. For more information, visit The Saint James, or phone 610-649-6200.

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