Steak 38 founder Joe DiAmore and fellow restaurateur Ben Blumberg began working together as teenagers, waiting tables at Chubby’s Restaurant in Collingswood. The two later opened their own establishments, with Joe manning the grill at Steak 38 and Ben dishing out undersea treats at Barnacle Ben’s. After more than 40 years, the epicurean duo has once again joined forces to combine their surf 'n' turf experience into a full menu of entrees seasoned with the world's most popular spice—fire. Many of Steak 38's signature dishes include tableside preparation, as waiters carve meats, debone fish, and ignite flaming desserts such as bananas foster before ringing the dinner bell. The restaurant’s intimate bar stocks its bins with toast-ready spirits, filling glasses with effervescent champagne, bracing scotch, and a selection of timeless after-dinner cordials.
With nods from USA Today, CBS News, and The Washington Post, Rodizio Grill has made a name for itself as an authentic Brazilian charrascuria––a South American–style rotisserie. Founded by São Paolo–born Ivan Utrera, the cuisine comprises of select cuts of meat, which are slow-roasted on a spit and then skewered. It also featured seafood selections, grilled pineapple, and unlimited trips to an award-winning salad bar with over 40 items. Gauchos––also known as Brazilian cowboys––bustle about the restaurant, bringing unlimited slices of tender meat to diners who can also grab fresh vegetables and appetizers at the salad bar.
Everything about Reserve exudes swank. Dark wood-paneled rooms and crimson curtains, more than 100 aged bourbons, and a cigar lounge—not to mention contributions from the menu such as organic steak and wild king salmon—work to redefine locals’ impressions of fine dining. Those morsels share tabletop space with entrees including roast duck breast and striped bass, the likes of which chefs lavish with seasonings such as pancetta butter, green peppercorn cream, and truffle chicken broth. The kitchen’s culinary artists also craft morsels of oyster and lobster at a raw bar whose offerings rival the bounty of Poseidon’s larder.
Reserve’s mixologists take over at the bar, where the restaurant’s cache of bourbons pour alongside a dozen draft beers, specialty cocktails, and an array of wines from the grapevines and bottle-growing bushes of California. While perched upon black leather stools amid corinthian pillars, guests also can listen to strands of live jazz as they take in everything.
Under the guidance of chef Tim Bennett, the cooks at Marmont Steakhouse and Bar hand carve tender steaks and prepare fresh seafood, lamb, and chicken dishes. The eatery's diverse steak offerings include lean cuts of filet mignon wrapped in applewood-smoked bacon or topped with crabmeat and sliced asparagus. In warmer months, patrons enjoy outdoor seating that harks back to the days before the invention of walls. Marmont enlists a regular stable of DJs and live musicians to perform throughout the week, with an international wine list and dozens of martinis to embolden listeners to dance.
Dry-Aged Steaks | Raw Bar | Old-School Cocktails | Celebrity Restaurateur | Classic Hollywood Ambiance
Celebrity Restaurateur: Since opening his first eatery at age 21, Stephen Starr has catapulted to the top of Philadelphia's dining scene with his 20-plus STARR Restaurants. His seamless integration of theatrical surroundings and flavorful, upscale cuisine has earned him myriad honors and acclaim, including the informal title of "Philly’s restaurant king" from Bon Appétit.
The Vibe: Vaulted ceilings, sparkling chandeliers, and a bull's head preside over this former brokerage house, whose dark woods and intimate lighting pay homage to the classic era of Hollywood.
While You're Waiting: Grab a libation at the chophouse's horseshoe-shaped bar, which Frommer's lauds as "the perfect spot for a spot of bourbon."
While You're in the Neighborhood
Before: Load up on great reads at Joseph Fox Bookshop (1724 Sansom Street), a Rittenhouse Square fixture since 1951.
After: Snap along to the smooth sounds of live music at Chris' Jazz Cafe (1421 Sansom Street).
If You Can’t Make It, Try This: Try one of Stephen Starr's other restaurants, such as The Dandelion Pub (124 S. 18th Street), which puts an upscale twist on classic British pub grub.
At Tokyo Hibachi & Sushi, every meal is a production. Surrounded by seated guests, the hibachi chefs put on a performance behind the tabletop grills and wow diners with dexterous knife skills and the controlled bursts of flame that bloom from the grills' surfaces. This isn't purely entertainment, though. It's a way for the chefs to engage with their patrons as they cook everything from chicken and vegetables to filet mignon and lobster within full view of the crowd.
In contrast, the sushi chefs opt for a bit less showmanship as they meticulously assemble rolls behind the sushi bar. They create an assortment of familiar sushi-house staples, but they also treat taste buds with specialty maki, including ingredients such as pepper-crusted tuna, fried asparagus, or homemade chili sauce.
Befitting their main-stage status, the hibachi stations dominate almost an entire room of the dining area. Japanese-style lanterns, artwork, and mementos mirror the menu's dedication to Pacific culture, and the bar's selection of sakes and imported water complements the restaurant's commitment to Japanese flavors.