Growing up, Marcie Spampinato watched her father, Mike, masterfully manage a local country club. By seventh grade, she was working alongside him, and today—with a restaurant management degree from Penn State under her belt—she joins with Mike to co-manage their steak-and-sushi joint, Spamps.
Chefs trained in Japan artfully stuff the eatery's sushi rolls with fresh ingredients such as black-pepper-crusted tuna and flying fish roe. Fusion flourishes such as kimchi tartar sauce, miso beurre blanc, and sake reductions give entrees such as rib-eye steak an Asian flair.
And much like a chocoholic's dream journal, the eatery's new cocktails revolve around sweet flavors, especially Marcie's favorite, the pumpkin-pie martini. Libations, which also include wine and beer, flow freely behind a copper bar with TVs or fill glasses in a dining room with exposed brick walls and private booths. At an outdoor patio dubbed The Grotto, lofted TVs illuminate trellises and tabletops as well as bar-goers shimmying to a live DJ's beats on Friday and Saturday nights.
At PBandU, founder Mercury Amodio reboots the classic school-lunch combination of creamy peanut butter on Wonder bread. Chefs smash and jar honey-roasted peanuts, and pair them with 20 toppings such as honey, bacon, and cheddar cheese for a menu lauded by Haute Living for its “simple, youthful appeal.” Alternatively, dining companions can forsake bread altogether with inventive dishes such as peanut-butter fondue and peanut-butter smoothies, all served by a horrified Mr. Peanut.:m]]
Asiana Garden's chefs hail from different cultural backgrounds, but they let their varied experiences and styles complement each other. The gourmet dishes they create range from traditional Thai noodle dishes to inspired house specialties. Their menu showcases preparations of beef and chicken sautéed in sweet-and-sour sauce or coconut-milk-infused curries, and their specials spotlight different proteins such as saffron-infused crab cakes or roasted duck. There's even a range of vegetarian dishes that swap out the meat for tofu. The aromas of lemongrass, thai basil, and chili oil from these meals fill the modern BYOB eatery, adding to the exotic atmosphere created by decorative statues and serene paintings of flowers.
Although Ben Shore and Irv Chudnoff opened their Jewish deli all the way back in 1955, its old-school spirit is very much alive today. The current owners still cook their soup in-house with enormous mounds of matzo ball. They still pile their sandwiches high with corned beef. They still smoke their salmon to perfection. They also feed neighborhood crowds with various catering options, from trays of bagels and cream cheese to deli buffets and catapults stuffed with pre-built sandwiches.
Situated at the Conshohocken Train Station, Outbound Station’s menu conducts a freight-train-size medley of La Colombe coffees, fresh juices, and portable nibbles for hungry commuters. For an early dose of Old World energy, jump start your senses with a cappuccino ($2.75+), café au lait ($2+), or a chai-tea latte ($2.75). Stomachs adjust better to the waking world when comforted with a breakfast sandwich of two fresh eggs under a cheese blanket on a toast or bagel bed ($3.45). Spicy up commutes with a chorizo panini, a pressed repast of smoked chorizo sausage augmented by avocado, lettuce, tomato, onions, and provolone ($6.95). Daily specialty bars feature guest appearances from pasta, wraps, tacos, and retired cabooses sighing wistfully for the days of steam trains and coal-powered espresso machines. Fresh fruit and vegetable juices quell commuter blues with vibrant blends such as the Vampire juice, a hearty mixture of carrot, beet, lime, and fawning teenage girls.