Philly, the old-school steakhouse you love is changing. Bright new restaurants with quirky light fixtures, hip furnishings made of reclaimed elements and farm-to-table menus replace dark woods, musky leather, and Chicago-shipped steaks of yore.
Take Morimoto’s new steakhouse program — a stark space with Holstein meats, Australian-bred Wagyu and Japanese A5 certified Wagyu, all free from growth hormones and antibiotics. This isn’t a martini, cigar and brontosaurus meal a la “Mad Men” but something subtler and cooler.
“The simplicity of Morimoto’s design: the woods, the wave patterns along our walls, give an air of nature,” says Chef Benjamin Dayag.
Even The Palm at the Bellevue Hotel — the height of power lunching since 1989 — is closed until 2017 for a sleeker renovation.
“The vibe will be similar, a place where important people dine and drink, but with a fresher feel,” says artist Zack Bird who’ll paint mostly cityscapes at the re-done Palm rather than old local faces.
The Bellevue isn’t alone, newer Philly hotels are also adopting the twin notions of moder design and exclusive, mostly local meats.
Michele Simpson, Sonesta Hotel Philadelphia’s Director of Marketing says when they sought to add a steakhouse to their program they wanted one “for Philly millennials.”
The 18th Street hotel found it in Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, who will move from its Broad Street home of 30 years to Sonesta this spring. Marsha Brown, owner of Ruth’s Chris, promises “warm woods of cypress, exposed brick walls and contemporary lighting” for something breezier than in the past.
The Logan Hotel, which took over Philly’s classic Four Seasons and updated it, “is a new social hub,” says Sandy Heydt, the hotel’s Director of Marketing. Its colorfully cool steakhouse, Urban Farmer features neon lights juxtaposed with barn wood tables.
The menu at Urban Farmer also takes a healthier approach. The sauces are light, the vegetables — like the steaks — are locally sourced and elegantly prepared. And the meats are lean and mean.
“Traditional steakhouse beef is prime; very heavy in fat,” explains Urban Farmer GM Troy Christian. “We’re healthier because we know our beef, how it’s fed and more importantly how tenderly it is raised.”