HOME > Chowhound > Pennsylvania >

Discussion

Stephen Starr Gift Card

Such choices! I received a $200 gift card to any Stephen Starr restaurant from some special people last night. When I read the names I knew I needed your help to choose--we've been to none! If it were just me, I'd pick Morimoto, but my husband doesn't "do" much fish in any form, so maybe that wouldn't be a good choice. Or would it?

Given that I love fish, but hubby doesn't; neither of us drink alcohol, which of these Starr places do you think we'd most enjoy: Tangerine, Alma de Cuba, Barclay Prime, Striped Bass, or Morimoto? What should we expect from each, in summer, 2008?

EAgerly anticipating your reply!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. If you both enjoy great steak then Barclay Prime is a good choice. Also, consider Buddakan. They have a wide range of Asian influenced food and really fun desserts.

    1. I would vote for Barclay Prime, hands down, if you plan on using the whole amount in one night. Even without alcohol, you can certainly spend $200 there and their steaks, apps, and sides are great. You could also spread it out over two nights with a stop at Buddakan and Alma de Cuba. You might go over a little bit, but again, without alcohol, you would be close.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Decker

        That is something that didn't occur to me--that because we don't drink, the price points would be such that we might use this card for two different Starr places, and have two unusual dining experiences we might not have otherwise.

        Can you give me an idea of what to expect at Alma de Cuba. Tangerine, or even El Vez? My husband isn't a huge meat eater either--I'm not sure either of us would truly appreciate BArclay Prime. We are adventuresome, other than not getting into super-spicy for me.

        OUr priorities would be for great, invovative food, interesting atmosphere, but not at the price of being extremely noisy. We would be prepared to eat early in order to reduce the noise factor.

        This is all new territory for me, but I knew we could depend upon fellow Chowhounds.

        The Starr-virgins will report on their experiences of course!

        1. re: Bashful3

          I am a vegetarian and don't do fish, so if I might be an indication of what your husband would enjoy, I'd suggest Morimoto's and El Vez. Morimoto's has a few vegetarian dishes, including a tofu dish that's made tableside that's absolutely lovely. You'll definitely have a much easier time there than he will, but if he knows what to expect going in I think he'll do fine. They also have some of the best desserts in the city, imo.

          I really like El Vez, although I'm kind of in the minority in that group on this board. Good guacamoles (a number of different kinds to choose from), a few vegetarian entrees, excellent sides (don't skip the corn on the cob), and my favorite margaritas in the city (blood orange).

          The Continental and Jones are also pretty casual, and I've enjoyed a few meals there as well.

          (Eat early at all of these places if you want a quieter atmosphere -- all can get pretty noisy, excepting Morimoto's.)

          1. re: spyturtle008

            If you are looking for something a little out of the ordinary, I'd do El Vez or Buddakan. When you take alcohol out of the pricing mix, that means you could probably get 2 very nice dinners for two out of that gift card. OR you could go with another non-drinking couple -adventuous meals are always more fun with 4 or more. More opportunities to get differnt dishes & share!

            I really liked Alma de Cuba, but must admit that I was heavily influenced by the mojitos. Barclay Prine is wonderful, but doesn't have enough pizazz for me if I'm doing something special. Jones & Continental are too "ordinary". I need that touch of funkiness too!

            1. re: spyturtle008

              i am right with you on the guac. you can't not love it. best guac in the neighborhood.

              not being drinkers - el vez might be more annoying than fun. to me, it's pretty drink-centric (thus the elaborate bar in the center). plus a $200 card would likely be three dinners there, not one!

              tangerine is gorgeous but i've only been for drinks.

              i would go for buddakan. i have not been in awhile, but the edamame ravioli - so good. upstairs is quieter than down.

              actually, i changed my mind - if it were me, personally, i'd hold out for parc. it's supposed to open on the 13th of july.

            2. re: Bashful3

              El Vez is really just OK - from the drinks to the food. I wouldn't recommend. Also Stripped Bass will be closed.
              It might be nice to check out Parc when it opens.

              I would probably recommend The Continental, Barclay Prime, Buddakan and Alma de Cuba right now, although so many more are opening this year.

          2. I love Alma De Cuba.....alot. I vote for them.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Gorp512

              I like them as well.My last visit they had no problem with us ordering a couple courses of appetizers and starters and salads and no entrees. Better yet, when it became obvious our eyes had a larger appetite than our stomachs, they cancelled our last course mid way through what then became our last course!

            2. If you're willing to wait a few weeks, you may wish to consider Parc, Starr's latest offering on Rittenhouse Square.

              1. Park sounds interesting, Boogniah. What do you know about it? Yes, we could wait a couple of weeks. Easily.

                1. If it isn't just limited to the current restaurants, I'd hold out for a couple weeks and check out Parc, the new brasserrie on Rittenhouse Square. It is supposed to open next week and looks like a fun space with a pretty traditional Brasserie type menu.

                  I love Morimoto, but without eating fish or beef, I think the menu is pretty limited. I know people who love Tangerine, and it's small plates so you could get a number of different things to try. I've never been myself, though. I find El Vez to be fine, but fairly ordinary Mex/American food. Striped Bass just closed.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Hungryin theBurbs

                    Parc's menu courtesy of Food and Drinq

                    Lunch

                    Fruits De Mer

                    Shrimp Cocktail -2 sauces $15
                    Little Neck Clams (1/2 Dozen) $12
                    Oysters (1/2 Dozen) $15
                    Lobster Cocktail M.P.
                    Plateau Petit Serves 2 to 4 $28
                    Plateau Grand Serves 6 to 8 $75

                    Salads
                    Mesclun $8 -mixed greens, sherry vinaigrette
                    Salade Lyonaisse $11 -frisee, lardons, poached egg
                    Beet Salad $12 - mache, leonora, walnut vinaigrette
                    Grilled Sardine Salad $14 -roasted tomato, arugula, parmesan
                    PARC Salad $14 -grilled shrimp, mixed greens, truffle-citrus vinaigrette

                    Appetizers
                    Onion Soup Gratinee $9
                    Summer Pea Soup $8 -parmesan, brioche croutons
                    Escargots $14 -hazelnut butter
                    Steak Tartare $15 -chopped filet, dijon, quail egg
                    Pate de Campagne $12 - cornichons, mustard, shaved fennel, grain mustard aioli
                    Gnocchi Parisienne $12 -summer vegetables, tapenade
                    Mixed Charcuterie $14 -prosciutto, saucisson, country pate
                    Tuna Carpaccio $14

                    Sandwiches
                    Croque Madame $12 -grilled ham and cheese, sauce mornay
                    PARC Burger
                    Chicken Club
                    Tuna Tartine $14 -shaved vegetables, tapenade
                    Pannini $14 -prosciutto, buffalo mozzarella, basil

                    Entrees
                    Seared Organic Salmon$26 -English peas, fava beans, tomato
                    Trout Amandine $22
                    Moules Frites $22 -steamed mussels, pernod, pommes frites
                    Risotto
                    Steak Frites
                    Boeuf Bourguignon $22 -traditional beef stew, fresh pasta
                    Poulet Roti $23 -roasted chicken, pommes puree, sauce choron
                    Omelet aux fines herbs$10 -crème fraiche, pommes frites

                    DINNER

                    Fruits De Mer
                    Shrimp Cocktail -2 sauces $15
                    Little Neck Clams (1/2 Dozen) $12
                    Oysters (1/2 Dozen) $15
                    Lobster Cocktail M.P.
                    Plateau Petit Serves 2 to 4 $28
                    Plateau Grand Serves 6 to 8 $75

                    Salades
                    Mesclun $8 -mixed greens, sherry vinaigrette
                    Salade Lyonaisse $11 -frisee, lardons, poached egg
                    Beet Salad $12 - mache, leonora, walnut vinaigrette
                    Grilled Sardine Salad $14 -roasted tomato, arugula, parmesan
                    PARC Salad $14 -grilled shrimp, mixed greens, truffle-citrus vinaigrette

                    Appetizers
                    Onion Soup Gratinee $9
                    Summer Pea Soup $8 -parmesan, brioche croutons
                    Pissaladierre $10 -caramelized onion tart, goat cheese, nicoise olives
                    Escargot $14 -hazelnut butter
                    Chicken Liver Mousse $12 -onion confit, mesclun greens
                    Tomato Tarte $10
                    Brandade de Morue $12 -creamy salt cod, herb croutes
                    Steak Tartare $15 -chopped filet, dijon, quail egg
                    Pate de Campagne $12 - cornichons, mustard
                    Tuna Carpaccio $14 -shaved fennel, grain mustard aioli
                    Gnocchi Parisienne $12 -summer vegetables, tapenade
                    Mixed Charcuterie $14 -prosciutto, saucisson, country pate

                    Entrees
                    Trout Amandine $22 -pencil asparagus, lemon brown butter
                    Steak Frites $24 -hangar steak, watercress salad
                    Slow Roasted Cod $21 -fennel confit
                    Crispy Duck Confit $23 -fingerling potatoes, arugula salad
                    Summer Vegetable Risotto $16
                    Boeuf Bourguignon $22 -traditional beef stew, fresh pasta
                    Seared Organic Salmon $26 -English peas, fava beans, tomato
                    New York Strip $28 -seared spinach, roasted potatoes, maitre d’hotel butter
                    Skate Grenobloise $22 -brioche croutons, rapini, caper brown butter
                    Roasted Leg of Lamb $25 -creamy polenta
                    Sauteed Calves Liver $21 -shiitake, cippolini onions, marsala
                    Moules Frites $22 -steamed mussels, pernod, pommes frites
                    Berkshire Pork Chop $26 -herb spaetzel, mustard sauce
                    Housemade Ravioli $17 -tomato confit
                    Poulet Roti $23 -roasted chicken, pommes puree, sauce choron
                    PARC Burger $15 -pommes frites, gruyere, caramelized onions

                    Sides $8
                    Pommes Frites
                    Haricots Verts
                    Macaroni Gratin
                    Pencil Asparagus
                    Seared Spinach
                    Cauliflower Gratin

                    Plats du Jour
                    Monday: Lamb Stew $24
                    Tuesday: Braised Rabbit $26
                    Wednesday: Soft Shell Crabs $27
                    Thursday: Braised Short Ribs $23
                    Friday: Bouillabaisse $28
                    Saturday: Cote de Boeuf (for two)$65
                    Sunday: Coq Au Vin $22

                    1. re: Gorp512

                      An interesting menu: thanks so much, Gorp.

                  2. We were in this position at Christmas ($225 in gift cards) and opted for Tangerine -- had a great meal with one cocktail and one glass of wine, 2 apps, 2 entrees and 1 dessert and have enough left over to (almost) do a second outing. (we paid the tip to keep the second card for $100 available). Would definitely go back to Tangerine (which is as mentioned gorgeous).

                    1. I've got a gift card that I misplaced for some time and found later. It says on the back that it expires after a year. Anybody know if they enforce that?

                      1 Reply
                      1. Buddakan is my favorite (agree with rabidog on the edamame ravioli) with Alma de Cuba as 2nd choice (I like the dijon salmon). Continental is good but not great (I do like brunch there), did not like El Vez at all (photo booth is cute, though), and was underwhelmed at Tangerine. I did eat at Jones once, but can't remember what I ate so I guess it was not so memorable. The tasting menu at Morimoto is great but that involves fish. Never been to Barclay Prime. I'll jump on the bandwagon encouraging you to try Parc...you know, we're all just waiting for your review :)