Monday, January 26, 2015

Barclay Prime Review

This is for a series of posts for Stephen Starr restaurants including:

A few weeks back, the GF and I were in the mood for steak and more importantly, we were looking to celebrate our 4th anniversary together. So, we thought it was high time that we finally tried Barclay Prime. So we hopped in an Uber and rode over to the Rittenhouse area.

Starr restaurants are always spot on in terms of vibe and design. Expect no less from Barclay Prime, which is highly emblematic of the Mad Men era. Power lunches and expense account meals are to be enjoyed here.

Seating is extremely comfortable - you feel as though you're lounging and that's not a bad thing!

Ophelia's Fizz [$15]
Ketel One orange vodka, prosecco, muddled strawberry & basil 

We had some bubbly back at home and considering the markups, we opted for a few cocktails for dinner in lieu of a bottle of vino. The GF went with the effervescent vodka sparkler, which was perfect for her. Not cloyingly sweet with the muddled strawberry, the herbaceousness of the basil really shined through each sip. 

The Stamford Bridge [$16]
Woodford Reserve, Bodegas Toro Albala PX Gran Reserva, black licorice & orange-tea infused dolin blanc vermouth

I enjoyed the bourbon-based tipple, which featured an everyday drinking favorite - Woodford Reserve. A Spanish desert wine backed up the bourbon with deep aromas of caramel and toffee. Very nice. 


Who doesn't love a popover to start your meal a la BLT Steak or Sbraga? This was one of the best I've had - crispy exterior studded with gruyere, with an inside that was light and fluffy. Perfectly paired with a pat of room-temp butter (thank the heavens!) topped with fleur de sel.

Alaskan King Crab Cocktail [$29]
Cocktail sauce

While this is a hefty $13.50 a leg, the king crab was cooked perfectly and was delicious. No seasoning or cocktail sauce needed here - just a small spritz of lemon to enjoy the sweet meat.

Maine Diver Scallops [$18]
Cauliflower couscous, marcona almond, romesco  

The GF had the scallops, which were seared properly and were tender within. The accoutrements took an interesting Middle Eastern turn with some cumin interspersed within the cauliflower couscous, which had great texture. The romesco added some brightness and the marcona almonds provided richness and additional texture to each bite. 

Foie Gras [$25]
Quince terrine, mustard greens, sherry sauce 

Unsurprisingly, I went with the foie, which featured a small, but perfectly seared lobe of lusciousness. The quince terrine was great, featuring interesting texture and a subtly sweet countervailing element to the heft of the foie. The mustard greens provided some contrast as well. 

And from there, it was on to the steaks! You know it's time when the knives are presented, each with its own back story. The GF and I opted to go with the Samurai and Porsche design, respectively.

12 oz. Prime Filet Mignon [$53]

With her weapon firmly secured, the GF had the right tools to enjoy her prime beef filet. While there wasn't much seasoning here, the steak was properly charred and came as requested - medium. A pickled red onion and watercress salad appears to come with your steak.

18 oz. 28-Day Dry-Aged Prime Ribeye [$51]

I almost went with the 50 oz tomahawk, but decided to take it down a notch and opted for the dry-aged ribeye. Ordered medium-rare, this had great beefiness, with enough marbling throughout.

I could have used a bit more seasoning, but the quality of the beef was undeniable.
Tater Tots [$11]

The tater tots had to be ordered - they were crispy on the outside with a creamy texture that had great chive flavor within. Easy to enjoy.

Truffle Mac & Cheese [$18]

The truffle mac and cheese was a no-brainer as well. Barclay Prime might very well offer my favorite version of mac and cheese. Bonus? They did not overdo it with the truffle oil. The secret to their cheese sauce? According to our wonderful server Nicole, it's literally the MAC - mascarpone, asiago, and cheddar. The sweetness of the mascarpone was understated, but definitely provided a contrasting element to the sharp cheddar and salty asiago. In addition to al dente cavatappi nestling the cheese sauce perfectly, there was a nice crunchy crumble on top that almost popped in your mouth with each bite. Tiny broccoli florets were sparingly studded in the dish as well A must order. 


And as we moved on to dessert, Nicole came out with some champagne to toast our special night, compliments of the house. Much appreciated! 

Toasted Chocolate S'Mores [$10]

Back in 2013, I saw Pastry Chef Christina Diekewicz create the toasted chocolate s'mores at the Rittenhouse Row Festival . So naturally, we opted for this dessert. The ice cream was the true star for me, studded with graham cracker crumbles and had a lusciousness that complemented the molten chocolate cake topped with s'mores marshmallow. Delicious.

Chocolate Shortbread Cookies 

The pastry chef also sent out some star-shaped chocolate short-bread cookies.And ...


A tiny chocolate cake to enjoy at home. What a nice touch!  

When you're at a Starr restaurant - you expect great service and an informed staff. Our server Nicole, and certainly the kitchen, far exceeded our expectations. And while those of you who expect the high-stakes seasoning and butter-basted beef may be somewhat disappointed, keep in mind it's more about showcasing the quality of beef here. And I can't think of another mac and cheese that I've enjoyed as much as I did. So if you're looking to celebrate a special occasion or simply enjoy a steak-night out - do stop by Barclay Prime - you won't be disappointed!

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