First Look: LP Steak at Valley Forge Casino

Lp Steak | Photo by Nick Valinote

Lp Steak | Photo by Nick Valinote

Chances are you haven’t been to LP Steak, what with it opening less than three weeks ago and well, you know, being in the suburbs and all. But should you find yourself out at Valley Forge Casino Resort for a concert, a festival, or maybe just to gamble, you’ll want to try Luke Palladino’s new place, which is worthy of a trip by itself.

Casino execs reached out to Palladino, of Luke Palladino Seasonal Italian Cooking and Palladino’s on Passyunk, fame after deciding to dramatically refresh their drinking and dining options and to start with closing the casino-owned steak house that occupied the same space.

Palladino has wrapped the 238-seat space in mirrors and tasteful reds and blacks and added sex appeal with deep red leather banquettes. A round bar is set off from the dining room by the same type of half wall that sections off several cozy dining areas while still allowing patrons to see and be seen.

Grilled thick cut 1732 Meats with smoked paprika bacon | Photo courtesy Valley Forge Casino Resort

Grilled thick cut 1732 Meats with smoked paprika bacon | Photo courtesy Valley Forge Casino Resort

As an upscale steakhouse, expect an a la carte menu with food prices to match (16 oz. Bone-in Ribeye dry aged 28 days – $58.00, Millionaire’s Maccheroni with prosciutto, Parmigiano cream, black truffle, poached egg, gold leaf – $14.00, etc…). But a difference here is that Palladino takes obvious delight in serving unexpected preparations of “big, bold steaks,” hand-selecting cuts from top purveyors, and customizing his dishes to reflect family recipes, his own tastes and, in the case of the pierogi appetizer, his fiancé’s ethnic background.

Palladino says he’s wanted to do a steak concept that wasn’t restricted by the Italian-ness of his Italian restaurant at the Shore and is excited to bring his own taste in steaks – “big and thick so I can grill them” – to Main Line diners.

“I don’t know anyone who wants to eat a wimpy steak,” he says.

One standout is the buttery imported Kobe beef dish, though patrons can opt for seafood or poultry with daily fish, lobster or organic chicken specials. Although LP Steak is unmistakably a destination for grown-ups, Palladino doesn’t embrace stuffiness, a fact that he proves when he encourages guests to use their toasted brioche to unabashedly scoop up gobs of foie gras covered with port wine jam in a pot. A good icebreaker for a first date, he agrees.

He reflects this approachability at his bar. He and his sommelier, Jeff DiMaio, who helped Palladino’s on Passyunk win Wine Spectator’s 2015 Award of Excellence, separate out their wine list in a way that Palladino considers easy to read, then price those wines reasonably.

“Look, we have six cabs under $60,” he points out.

He stocks his cellar with wines he considers “fun and a little different” and takes pride in “Jeff’s Rising Stars,” a section of wines-by-the-glass that are up-and-coming without threatening to become pretentious. He keeps two wines on tap along with ten draught beers mostly produced by American craft brewers. Cocktails that feature locally distilled spirits come as fresh twists on old standards, including a sangria mixed with house-made cider.

Right now the restaurant opens Sunday through Thursday from 5 pm to 10 m, and Friday and Saturday 5 pm to 11 pm but Palladino is looking to start Sunday brunch soon.

LP Steak [Foobooz]