The penchant for modernity at o-toro recently caught the eye and taste buds of County Lines magazine’s staff, which named it one of Philly’s Best New Ventures of 2013. The restaurant’s track lighting illuminates a contemporary scene marked by wooden fixtures, vibrant splotches of red and orange, and plates of Japanese cuisine with Mexican, Korean, and American influences. Sushi, sashimi, and specialty rolls—such as the signature o-toro roll with fatty tuna tartar, spicy mayo, and jalapeño—are served alongside tapas-style plates of filet mignon dumplings, duck tacos, and skewers of Korean-style fried chicken. At the polished wooden bar, bartenders pour wine, sake, and craft beer.
Michael Ross's r?sum? includes stints as the director of the Nuclear Medicine Program and a professor of surgery at the University of Pennsylvania's Department of Clinical Studies. So it's a little startling, amid those qualifications, to also see "restaurateur." Since 2011, however, Michael and his wife, Beth, have elevated Domaine Hudson into a critical darling that's racked up myriad awards.
Most of those?including a 2013 Best of Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator?celebrate the eatery's wine list, which encompasses 450-plus bottles, as well as 40 wines by the glass. To help navigate the staggering selection, the entire Domaine Hudson staff is formally trained in pairing food and wine, as well as choosing which reds won't clash with your lipstick. Besides wine, the restaurant's beverage options extend to more than 60 craft beers, not to mention seasonal cocktails and more than a dozen brands of scotch.
In contrast with the seemingly endless drink choices, Chef Dwain Kalup supplies a concise menu of New American cuisine. The Domaine Hudson culinary team packs plenty of flavors into each inspired dish, from bay scallops dusted in curry spices to succulent duck breast served alongside roasted-chestnut pur?es. Dwain likewise showcases numerous artisan cheeses and sweet-tooth-tempting desserts, including pistachio tortes with brown-butter honey emulsions.
Trenton Social's convivial environment sprawls from its indoor lounge to its cozy outdoor patio, where dining and drinking often melds with special events. Its menu fuels guests with eats ranging from seafood and pastas to hot sandwiches and parmesan fries. Between drinks on Sundays, guests can learn to shimmy as salsa dancers teach free lessons, and monthly bike trips explore historic Trenton as tour guides expound upon relevant historical morsels, such as stories of the brutal penny-farthing gangs of old.