Chef Luke Palladino has a loyal following, with a customer base that summers with him at his spot in Linwood, New Jersey, and winters at Palladino’s on East Passyunk. Among these diehard fans are the owners of the Valley Forge Casino Resort in King of Prussia, who approached him about opening up a restaurant concept earlier this year. For Palladino, the Main Line was the perfect third piece to a dining trifecta.
“I love the idea of a steakhouse,” he says, sitting at the bar of LP Steak, a 200-seater that opened this month. And while Palladino might have made his name with Italian-accented pastas and other dishes perfected while he was working in northern Italy, at LP Steak he’s taking a more continental route.
Casino restaurants have the unique advantage of catering to diners who see over-the-top as right in their comfort zone — meaning nightly lobster specials, foie gras, truffles and steaks for two are de rigeur. For the chef, that means the liberty to go extravagant with the menu.
Well-executed old-fashioned decadence is the theme. It’s a place where you can start with a classic cocktail and graze on a serious chilled tower of oysters, shrimp, crab and lobster alongside grilled thick-cut bacon from 1732 Meats, then move on to a Pat LaFrieda Tuscan cut porterhouse for two, complete with house sauce and a twice-baked potato. For dessert, a sharable sundae with house-made ice cream, brown butter caramel and Amarena cherries.
Of course, high-end ingredients aren’t the only benefit of dining in a casino. There’s the bonus of postdinner gaming, and the option to book a room at the adjacent hotel if the idea of driving home after such an elaborate meal seems like a little too much.
Eyeing the competition
Anyone who’s been to the expansive — and expanding — King of Prussia Mall recently knows there is no shortage of steakhouses near the shopping destination.
But while other restaurateurs might see this as stiff competition, Palladino is encouraged by the growing demand for high-end dining in the area.
“We’re only a mile up the road [from the mall],” Palladino says. “I bet we can get them in here. I think our food is more compelling, more interesting and more fun.”