When former Palm general manager Alex Plotkin set out to open Chops, his own steakhouse in Bala Cynwyd, he knew the suburban location would have several virtues — including no liquor-by-the-drink tax and easier parking. But he wasn’t sure he would be able to replicate the Palm’s magical clientele. Just over two years later, it seems the 37-year-old onetime New York Jet and Culinary Institute grad has succeeded in creating Palm West, a City Line power-dinner spot for politicos and business types who like to be seen trying to be discreet. (He’s also succeeded in paying off his original investors, including Larry Brown and Billy King.) Among Chops regulars: Governor Ed Rendell (prefers steak or roasted chicken), Senator Arlen Specter (steak), Comcast exec David L. Cohen (steak), Councilman Michael Nutter (steak), Safeguard CEO Pete Musser (steak or lobster) and Tasty Baking CEO Charlie Pizzi (lobster-corn cakes). Iced tea and Diet Coke are the beverages of choice among the power brokers. “They drink very little. It’s not like it used to be,” Plotkin says. “They want to be as sharp as possible.”
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