LP Steak at the Valley Forge Casino | Photo by Nick Valinote
The steakhouse is the dullest kind of restaurant.
There’s no surprise in a steakhouse. No shock, no awe. The best things you can hope to happen in a steakhouse are that someone grills your hunk of meat to the temperature you find most pleasing and doesn’t leave any shells on the shrimp in your cocktail. That’s success in the steakhouse world. The bar is low. With the proper motivation, a cat could work the line in the average steakhouse kitchen (imagine the hairnet!), and I say this having worked at a couple myself. The hardest thing about working a steakhouse job? Counting to 40, because that was how many steaks I could fit on the grill in front of me at any one time. And while, granted, this was at a time in my life when my successfully counting to 40 was by no means a guarantee, I still managed it. Because I knew Mittens the calico was out there gunning for my gig.
With all this in mind, I can also say that a great steakhouse is a rare and wonderful thing. Because of their simplicity, their elemental charms (meat, fire, paintings of horses) and their lack of anything whatsoever challenging to the appetites or worldviews of the majority of American eaters, steakhouses can be comforting. They can be the blank canvas onto which are written epic nights. (The martinis help.) Almost all of us have a steakhouse we love, tucked away somewhere in our past.
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Last year we said goodbye to a Philadelphia institution and a standard bearer of fine dining, The Fountain at the Four Seasons. Now, there’s a new kid in town. Urban Farmer Steakhouse opened a month ago in the historic restaurant space in what is now The Logan hotel. Just as Avance was always compared to Le Bec Fin, so too will Urban Farmer be compared to The Fountain, and the two are very, very different dining experiences.
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It’s might be a bit unfair to compare Urban Farmer, the new steakhouse opening Friday, December 18th at the Logan Hotel, to the Fountain at the Four Seasons, but comparisons will definitely be made as the former takes the latter’s spot at 18th and the Parkway.
Sage Restaurant Group out of Denver is opening this steakhouse at the just transformed Logan Hotel. It is the third location for the Urban Farmer concept. The steakhouse was born in Portland, Oregon and has since opened in Cleveland. Though not a local concept, the Urban Farmer concept does make an effort to connect with local farms, fisheries and breweries. Therefore you’ll find some of your favorite merchants from local farmers’ markets on the menu, including Griggstown Farm, Birchrun Hills Farm and the Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative.
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Today, as we predicted, SugarHouse Casino announced that Chicago’s Gibsons Restaurant Group Hugo’s Frog Bar & Chop House in the expanded casino that is expected to open before 2015 ends.
Hugo’s Frog Bar & Chop House will be located in the northwest corner on the first floor of SugarHouse’s second phase. The restaurant, with its bar and dining rooms will accommodate more than 300 guests.
The restaurant will offer steak, chops, fresh seafood, featuring lobster, king crab legs, oysters and a variety of fish. Exclusive to SugarHouse’s Hugo’s Frog Bar & Chop House is the Philly Cut. A 12-ounce ribeye cap aged 50 days and cooked with smoked provolone, crispy shallots and fried herbs.
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SugarHouse Casino is intending on opening its 300,000 square foot expansion before the end of the year, and the riverfront casino is including a higher end restaurant in the new space.
An announcement regarding the new restaurant and exclusive caterer for the casino’s new event center is set for Wednesday, September 2nd. The event will include a grilling demonstration and taste of a special “Philly Cut” steak. The press release also features a hashtag, #froginPhilly. After briefly hoping this would mean the return of Rib-It or Steve Poses’ Frog, we applied some positively Sherlockian deduction, (we googled frog+steakhouse and clicked the first result) we’ve concluded that the new restaurant will be from … Spoiler ahead »
Valley Forge Casino CMO Jennifer Galle and Luke Palladino | Photo via VFCR
Luke Palladino, who has a history with casino restaurants is adding another LP Steak at Valley Forge Casino Resort to his portfolio. The upscale steakhouse will open this October at the King of Prussia casino. The restaurant will be an upscale steakhouse with seating for up to 205 people in the main dining room plus 25 seats at the bar, 30 seats in the lounge area, and two private dining rooms.
LP Steak will replace Pacific Prime in the Valley Forge Casino, and will join other new features of the casino including the recently opened Valley Beach Poolside Club and the relaunch of the Valley Forge Music Fair.
LP Steak joins the Luke Palladino Hospitality Group, which also includes Palladino’s on Passyunk and Luke Palladino Seasonal Italian Cooking in Linwood, New Jersey.
LP Steak at Valley Forge Casino Resort [Foobooz]
Photo by Arthur Etchells
HughE Dillon was the first to report that the Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse at 260 S Broad Street is looking to relocate to the Sonesta Hotel at 18th and Market Streets. The location was the longtime home to Elephant and the Castle and has sat empty since March, 2014. Though the deal hasn’t been confirmed, all parties believe it will be soon.
Rumor: Ruth’s Chris Steak House is on the Move… [PhillyChitChat]
The meat locker at Kensington Quarters | Photo via Kensington Quarters
In late January, we were asked if we would have anything special happening in March that could be teased in the magazine’s web table of contents. And with everyone in January still steadfastly holding on to their New Year’s resolutions of fewer burgers for lunch, more vegetables at dinner and hitting the suddenly packed gyms harder, we thought by March, some counter-programming would be in order.
Thus was born, Meat Week. All week, we’ll be bringing you a big plate of burgers, steaks, sausages, charcuterie, offal and more. First up, steakhouses.
Philadelphia’s Best Steakhouses »
The Pub gets in the holiday spirit | Photo by Dan McQuade
Danya Henninger reviews The Pub for the Courier-Post and finds that the throwback steakhouse is still worth a trip, for the drinks, the all-you-can-eat salad bar and of course, the steaks.
No seasoning is added to the choice cuts, but the char over hickory is enough to saturate even the biggest cuts of meat with flavor. A 12-ounce filet mignon was surprisingly easy to polish off — I don’t think I’ve ever seen three quarters of a pound of beef disappear so fast.
At $35.99 (including salad bar and sides), that giant filet is a good value. The stuffed flounder ($25.99) was less exciting, but still a good deal, since the huge mound of seafood was full of big, sweet jumbo lump crab, and the fish was perfectly flaky.
Dining Review: The Pub
The Pub [Official]
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