Butcher and Singer Review: A Cut Above?

Starr’s second Center City steakhouse, Butcher and Singer, pleases the eye — but not always the palate

One of the signature retro items, in fact, the market-price lobster thermidor, which cost $56 on my visit, was the biggest disappointment. Convinced by my up-­selling server, who visibly swooned while describing the dish, I ordered it anticipating that my first bite would be accompanied by the sounds of angels singing. That first bite was indeed delicious. Subsequent bites, however, revealed careless cooking. Off-tasting, mushy-textured chunks of lobster meat mingled with sweet and succulent morsels. The $38 steak Diane, another menu item that harks back to a bygone era, was similarly marred by clumsy execution; the dish’s two paillards of filet were mismatched, with one perfectly medium-rare and the other overcooked to a tough, dry shade of gray. Not only do these sloppy mistakes contrast sharply with the cool, considered look of the place; they’re shocking at these prices.

Stephen Starr obviously knows how to weave a swanky setting, polished service and good food together in a way few other restaurateurs can. Barclay Prime puts a creative twist on the steakhouse genre in a modern, adult atmosphere. Its menu strikes just the right balance between standards and little surprises, and the execution rarely falters. Cooking the classics can be a winning formula, even at these prices, as Starr understands. But only when you get them right every time.

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  • Marv

    Not Pretentious, great food and service by Peter. Went back for a drink after the show and the bar tender was great!

  • Paul Nelson

    Just went to Butcher and Singer, one week after dining at The Fountain. I’ll take Butcher and Singer any day of the week. The food was better and there were no surprises. Further, the staff at The Fountain are so pretentious and full of themselves. They even contradict themselves in an attempt to outdo…but it fails because they can’t keep simple promises like which menu they agreed to provide and which room made sense if we were having a number of appetizers.

    Butcher and Singer is where I am headed next. You won’t catch me at The Fountain anytime soon.