October 22, 2000 |
As the legions of national steak chains continue to march their chops on Philadelphia, I have little doubt that the new Smith & Wollensky has the potential to be one of the best overall restaurants of the lot. And if I could manage to forget the four misfired steaks and the inedible hunk of lard-entombed pork they served me, I'd say it was nearly there. I can hardly resist a seat in one of those comfy booths beside the wall of windows, gazing out above the trees and taxis and street life of Rittenhouse Square as I hunker into a hearty bowl of split-pea soup.
February 15, 2009 |
Before we bury the dear departed Striped Bass beneath a stampede of hungry meat-eaters, let us first pay tribute to the lasting splash of the big fish. In terms of a culinary legacy, there's no denying its impact: In the last year alone, no fewer than 10 chefs reviewed in this column worked at some point behind the lines of Striped Bass' open kitchen. Of course, its closing last year and recent replacement by a less-adventurous concept, a steak house called Butcher & Singer, marked the beginning of the end of an era, too, adding a scratch to the gold-plated culinary ambition of Walnut Street's Restaurant Row. That veneer has since taken a few more scuffs with the recent closing of Brasserie Perrier and news that Susanna Foo, ever the survivor, wasn't above starting to offer home delivery.
July 19, 2012 |
Cole (for Nicole) Mahon points out that her tattooed, formidably muscled arms have nothing to do with gym time; they're from long hours she puts in each week rolling out some of the tenderest pierogi dough in town. A pierogi menu wasn't part of the plan six years ago when she and her brother James took over the Green Rock Tavern, a corner bar with a bad reputation on Lehigh Avenue: "I grew up on ravioli," she says. But in deference to the Fishtown-Port Richmond neighborhood's Polish sensibility, she honed her pierogi moves at the table of a friend's mother.
February 12, 2009 |
It was Saturday, preview night for Union Trust, the latest front in the city's untimely steak wars, and the shots of Sobieski vodka were suitably chilled after sluicing through onion-domed ice sculptures that recalled - given the moment - the gilded end days of czarist Russia. Outside at Seventh and Chestnut were the requisite lines of invitees, the up-sweep of floodlights, cadres of hop-to-it valets. Inside, vaulted ceilings, once a signature of Jack Kellmer's jewelers, soared like a cathedral's, a breathtaking 47 feet.
September 21, 2008 |
When you call to reserve a table for the churrasco meat-athon at Chima in Center City, a phone rings in Brazil. It's an odd and unexpected transcontinental detour to Chima's corporate call center for that local number to travel. But it's comforting, I suppose, to know that this growing chain of upscale restaurants is so authentic, a reservationist somewhere in Minas Gerais is noting our arrival. But authenticity, it turns out, is the least of my issues with Chima, which mimics a traditional Brazilian steak-house formula - down to the cheesepuffs, vast salad bar, and tableside skewer-craft of its gaucho servers - popularized by other all-you-can-eat Brazilian steak-house chains like Fogo de Chão.
July 30, 2000 |
I've been turning to my inner carnivore lately, hoping to discover the primal secret that links a taste for great steak with the hunger for power. I hear the crackle of a broiler and sniff the air for roasting meat. It fills my nose with desire. Aaah . . . rib steak! Turning brown around the edges, its peppery crust becomes caramel in the fire. Its pink and salty juices run down my chin, washing through my bloodstream with a potent cocktail of amino acids. Grrr . . . I sure get the urge to caucus.
April 30, 2001 |
The sacred honor of Haddonfield and Haddon Heights will ride this week on 100 ounces of beef and the cast-iron digestive systems of the two boroughs' top law enforcement officials. On Wednesday night, Heights Police Chief Ron Shute and Haddonfield Police Chief Rick Tsonis will gather on neutral turf - the deck at R.Mac's Pub in Haddon Township - to down a pair of 50-ounce aged porterhouse steaks. Just for the heck of it. "We're real wild men," Tsonis said. "Meat-and-potatoes guys," Shute added, in one of the biggest understatements of the year.
June 5, 2002 |
My search for real kobe steak began, like almost all food adventures, on a whim. At lunchtime on a broiling Tokyo Saturday, I turned to my friend Masayuki, a born-and-bred Tokyo resident, and the idea sort of fell from my lips. "Let's go have some kobe steak. " Masayuki hesitated. His eyes said it all. Rarified kobe steak? Celebrated kobe steak? One of Japan's great trademarks for exceptional occasions? We were walking along a street with plenty of inexpensive little food joints.
September 6, 2009 |
The red-meat race to build Center City's biggest, most luxurious chophouse has dominated the dining headlines of the last year. But an insatiable devotion to grilled beef is hardly confined to the urban limits. There are already enough destinations in the suburbs that one can drive an hour in most any direction from City Hall and come upon an independent steak house of some distinction. Head north and you'll hit the retrofitted church hall of Marsha Brown's Southern grill in New Hope.
December 20, 2009 |
When you are weighing the choice between two entrees, it's never a good sign when the server leans furtively toward your ear to advise sotto voce that (surprise!) the more expensive cut of steak is a better bet. My first waiter at Parker's Prime, though, managed to elevate the hard-sell to a new level of crass. The $40 "zabuton" cut of Wagyu beef, he said, was so sublimely marbled from its famously pampered breeding, "I want to marry a Wagyu wife to feed me beer and give me massages.