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This Week: A Manchester mouthful and news from the buffet line.



Manchester Mouthful
It's mostly a carry-out place — nine seats at the window notwithstanding — but Papa's Pizza, Pasta and Subs offers a new dining option in Manchester. The shop's debut at 214 Hull St. coincides with a surge in apartment and condo move-ins, and owners Drew Papa and Ricardo Cucuzza hope to capitalize on their niche. “We're the only pizza delivery in Manchester and Church Hill,” Papa says, “and with the area building up, everything comes together.” Take-out options attract neighborhood regulars.

Papa's offers New York- and Sicilian-style pies and calzones with house-made dough, and also baked and sautAced pastas, subs, salads and desserts, with most dishes in the $10 range. Open daily from 10:30 a.m. for lunch and dinner, Sundays from 2-9 p.m. 415-7285.

Buffet Line
Ma Ma Wok: At lunch last week there were more Chinese-speaking guests than speakers of English, a sign that Ma Ma Wok's cuisine reaches a diverse audience looking for authentic tastes. Rarely-seen-here dishes such as beef with bitter melon, live fish in big casserole, and golden treasure bean curd in fired pot complement the more familiar sushi, tempura and noodle choices. The owners operate similar restaurants around Washington and tout their chefs as classically trained. Their local business is open for lunch and dinner daily in the Stein Mart shopping center at 7801 W. Broad St. 672-8989.

Sakura Japanese Sushi and Steak: A quiet dining room in the midst of construction chaos, Sakura serves lunch and dinner daily at 711-E N. Lombardy St. The menu lists four dozen variations on the sushi-sashimi-special-roll theme, including the Sakura roll with crab, tempura, cucumber, avocado and masago wrapped in seasoned rice and seaweed, at $4.95. Kitchen dishes include teriyaki, don buri, tempura, udon and hibachi-grilled meats and seafood. 254-2781.

McCormack's Whisky Grill & Smokehouse: It's been open a while but its elusive phone number and operating hours have escaped our pages. Find smoked meats, funnel cakes, classic comfort food and a staggering selection of whiskey at 204 N. Robinson St., open nightly. So far, there's no phone number or Web site — owner Mac McCormack is finding enough business without them.

Cafe at the Weinstein JCC: If it takes a Greek-Italian to learn kosher, then Alan Serafim, formerly of the Celebrity Room, is back in action serving a mostly-Jewish clientele. He jump-started the tiny 20-seat cafe off the main lobby at the Weinstein JCC - formerly known as the Jewish Community Center. He serves a lineup of cold and hot sandwiches, tuna melts, soups and a modified version of his family's pizza. “I've really had to hunt for mozzarella,” he says, “and we've worked on experimenting with spices, but unbeknownst to me, my sauce was already kosher.” A rabbi works with Serafim to verify that all ingredients and preparations meet the dietary standard. “We're the only kosher restaurant in Richmond right now,” Serafim says, “and after Passover, we're going to add some wow factor to the menu.” Meanwhile, he awaits a legal verdict on a business debacle at the Celebrity Room restaurant last year. His cafAc, at 5403 Monument Ave., is open daily except Saturday.

Zen Asian Bistro: Two specials are running at this Midlothian cafe. Dinner for two includes one starter and two entrees for $20, dine-in only. Beverages, tax and tip are extra. The date-night special is $39.99, including a bottle of house wine, two soups, an appetizer, two entrees and a dessert.

The Tobacco Company Restaurant: Chef Grady Wilder introduces a new bar menu, available daily from 2:30 p.m., including beef tenderloin sliders, fried yellow tomatoes, and crab and brie fondue. The Shockoe Slip institution plans to launch a new dinner menu in April.

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