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.
Operated by brothers Rick and Jeff Spano, this family business boasts a list of handheld noshables and traditional bar fare. Amuse appetites with starters such as the wings cloaked in a choice of sauce and accompanied by blue-cheese dressing ($0.30 each). The basket of sweet-potato fries delights dippers ($5.50), and the fried white cheddar and broccoli bites come prepped and ready for a ceremonial ranch dressing rite of passage ($7). Meat mavens can affix their maxilla around the 8-ounce Angus beef burger ($7.75) or chicken sandwich ($7.50), and fish favorers can opt for the lager-battered haddock or the grilled swordfish entree, served with pineapple salsa, sautéed spinach, and shoestring potatoes for those who have graduated beyond Velcro slip-ons ($12).
The able alemen and grill captains at KC's Alley dish out high-grade burgers and high-quality brews to satisfy the bellowing bellies of hungry visitors. After browsing KC's varied menu, put in an order for a BYO burger ($7+) to initiate construction of a beef monument made to your royal designs, or opt for the classic ($8) or barbecue ($8) options to leave the work to experienced food architects. Salty baskets of Alley fries ($4.50) lightly drizzled with butter and seasoning keep peckish patrons satisfied, and nine salad options ($5–$11) appease leaf-seekers and burgerphobes. House-roasted turkey smothered in gravy ($13) gives diners a flavorful taste of Thanksgiving without forcing them to learn things like how an oven works or how to coax a turkey into one.
Founded in 1994 as a recording studio, the MilkBoy brand has since burgeoned into two bustling cafes and an all-ages venue for live music and artistic events. MilkBoy Coffee's multifarious menu brims with snacks and drinks for vegetarians, vegans, and carnivores alike. Morning munchers kick-start the day with a big breakfast burrito, packed with scrambled eggs, black beans, sausage, sour cream, cheddar, and yawn-eradicating salsa ($5.95). For lunch, hands can happily encircle the bruschetta-chicken wrap, with a savory sleeping bag of shredded chicken, sun-dried tomatoes, and feta ($6.25), and teeth can burrow into the herbivorous depths of the veggie burger, served with a vegan thousand-island dressing, named for the number of islands ruled by Oprah ($5.25). MilkBoy’s PB&J sandwich whisks customers back to a simpler time when blanket capes were de rigeur ($3.95). To drink, sip on a steamy café au lait ($2 for a small) or a frosty mint-chocolate-chip milkshake ($4.95).
TJ's gourmet a la carte menu features fresh-made fare, with everything prudently prepared to order. Wake up to a savory serving of crab hollandaise over poached eggs, a homemade biscuit, and steamed asparagus ($9.50) or keep your strength up for a long day of clown wrestling with a protein-packed breakfast sandwich ($7.25), which you can top with apple-wood-smoked bacon or maple sausage, scrambled eggs, and cheddar and jack cheeses—all encased in either a pub roll or a garlic-herb wrap. Patrons with sweetie-pie palates will be more pleased with a decadent plate of cinnamon-bun french toast topped with maple butter and pecan syrup ($8.25) or the banana-walnut pancakes ($8.25).