Photo by Alex Tewfik
For years, Alex Plotkin’s Chops steakhouse in Bala Cynwyd was an exercise in mediocrity. It didn’t have to be great, because it was the only place to get a rib eye and filet in the eastern half of the Main Line. But once Plotkin moved the operation to the old Table 31 space inside the Comcast Center — the most important corporate headquarters in Philadelphia — he needed to step up his game. Fortunately, he has. The kitchen delivers pristine cuts from Creekstone Farms and Gachot & Gachot, and a stellar shrimp cocktail and sides (though we are so over lobster macaroni and cheese). And if you think steaks and shrimp are hard to screw up, you obviously haven’t been to Del Frisco’s or Ocean Prime.
1701 JFK Boulevard
Originally published in the December, 2014 issue of Philadelphia magazine
It’s pretty amazing that in a town where restaurant news travels at supersonic speeds, this little tidbit could have sat for so long. A thread that began yesterday on Chowhound reveals that the libel lawsuit between Chops owner Alex Plotkin and Inquirer restaurant critic Craig LaBan — the lawsuit that centered on LaBan’s review of the Bala Cynwyd steakhouse and that was chronicled in Philly Mag by Steve Volk in 2007 — was settled… way back at the beginning of April. Unsurprisingly, both LaBan and Plotkin have the same thing to say about this: “No comment”. We’re hearing that a lot lately.
The Insider provides a look inside Alex Plotkin’s Chops. The form of the former Oceanaire is still there but there are new touches like artwork and new hardwood floor. [The Insider]
Hawthornes beer boutique and eatery will be adding a new dinner menu starting February 1st.
Meal Ticket has a bit more on The Bottle Shop, a new craft beer store hoping for an April opening on East Passyunk. [Meal Ticket]
Philadelphia Chutney Company is planning locations on Temple’s campus and at 1628 Sansom Street, the former home of Remedy Tea Bar. [The Insider]
It’s still open as Di Vino, but on February 4th the Rittenhouse wine bar will officially open as Cichetteria 19. [Meal Ticket]
Black Angus, which we told you about in December inches closer to completion. It’s an Old West themed steakhouse for the 100 block of South Street. [The Insider]
Jim’s Soft Pretzels opened over the weekend at 4th ans South. [Meal Ticket]
10 Arts at the Ritz Carlton gets four-diamonds from AAA. [Philadelphia Inquirer]
Dave Magrogan of Kildare’s fame is opening Mas Mexicali Cantina at the former Coyote Crossing in West Chester. [WC Dish]
Doc Watson’s last night will be Wednesday, February 4th. New owners will refurb the space and turn it into Sherlock’s Tavern. [The Insider]
Fellini Cafe in Paoli has closed for good. [Main Line Restaurant Guide]
We’ve been hearing rumblings about possible happenings at the former home of Oceanaire. First we heard the Cheesecake Factory rumors. Those have dried up a bit since Michael Klein put the kibosh on that with a statement from the company that they weren’t interested in the area. Cheesecake Factory needs parking, lots and lots of parking.
We’ve also heard Stephen Starr has checked out the space and most recently that Alex Plotkin of Chops Restaurant & Bar on City Avenue is interested in the space.
We caught up with Plotkin to find out if he would really consider bringing another steakhouse to Center City. Plotkin said he would love to do something downtown having already been associated with the Palm and Four Seasons but it is way too early to say for sure if something could happen at the former PSFS bank at 7th and Walnut. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have some ideas for the space that was so opulently redone for Oceanaire.
Plotkin envisions a variation of Chops with more seafood and about 25% of the menu being USDA prime steaks. The wine list would consist of 150 wines all under $70. And in a feature sure to appeal to those who’ve suffered valet parking sticker shock elsewhere on Walnut Street, free valet parking.
There’s nothing in writing yet but it’s good to know the building is seriously being looked at.