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Jul 10, 2008 12:18 PM

New Comcast Center

What can anyone tell me about the new Comcast Center at 17th/18th & JFK? Restaurants? Food Court? Shops? I see that there is direct access from Suburban Station. I work a few blocks away and am thinking of strolling down at lunch time. Being a lazy kind of person, I also don't want to waste my time in the dead heat of summer (grin).

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  1. Not everything is open yet. Open food places are: Dibrunos, Japanese food, la scalas (brick oven pizza), produce and seafood. Termini is also open. It is something to see.

    1. It is a zoo at lunch time, with DiBruno's and LaScala being the most popular vendors. Their lines were incredibly long when I was there last week. It may calm down a bit as the novelty wears off. I don't really think the food court is very attractive. If you do decide to wait in the lines, you might rather take your food outside, especially if its a day like today.

      6 Replies
      1. re: archstreet

        Any idea what the hours are? I wonder if the vendors are open when I am on my way home (4-5 pm). If so, it would be very convenient to pick up stuff for dinner. I'm also lucky enought to be able to float my lunch time, so I could try 1:30 or so in hopes that the crowd would have died down. My boss had dinner in the courtyard part of the restaurant last week -- said it was good. He's a very meat & potatos kinda guy, not a foodie, therefore he is not really the best source of info. He did say that the big screen dispay in the lobby is absolutely mesmerizing.

        I'm leaving work now, so maybe I'll take a peek inside when I get to Suburban.

        1. re: PattiCakes

          DiBruno's is definitely open late to cater to the after-work takeout dinner crowd. Not sure about the other vendors.

          1. re: malkazanie

            Everything is open except Mexican Post and Susannah Foo Dumplings. DiBruno's has a pretty good sampling of what they offer at the Rittenhouse store. Termini's has the same things they have at every location but some are tastefully prepackaged for easy take-out. Under the C has fabulous seafood, especially the octopus salad and soft shell crabs. It's all very fresh and I can't recommend it enough. The same folks at John Yi at Reading Terminal run it and are very nice. The produce stand has a pretty good variety of fruit, some already in containers, and is well above average. Haven't been to LaScala's (is it any good? why haven't I heard of them?) and have not tried the sushi place yet.

            1. re: malkazanie

              SCOUTING REPORT

              I checked out "The Market" on the way home tonight. I just went straight through the doors in Suburban Station that are behind Dunkin' Donuts and to the right of the gigunda new Hallmark store.

              Virtually no shoppers at 4:30, but all vendors were open. The vendors are all geared toward both the lunch time crowd (you purchase something pre-made, then either sit at one of the tables in the middle of the somewhat limited space, or you take it elsewhere), AND toward the buy-it-and-take-it-home-for-dinner commuter.

              Starting at the far end of the space is a fresh produce stand. Nothing exotic, but everything very well arranged, bright and colorful. Also a section with large pre-made salads and combos of cut-up fruits & veggies. Across from the produce place is Under the C Seafood. They are offering a 10% discount after 4:30 PM now through September. They have a good variety of premium grade raw fish/shellfish, live lobsters, and frozen king crab legs. They also have a good selection of pre-made seafood items such as crab or lobster cakes, creole catfiss fillets, soft shell crabs, shrimp differt ways, seafood salads and the like. They will cook those to order for you to eat right away, or you can purchase to cook at home. I bought 2 soft shell crabs for my DH, and they were very accommodating in giving me cooking directions.

              I'm not a sushi person, so I did not really investigate the sushi place, but from a distance it looked good. Lots of pre-packaged combo's, as well as the ability to do made-to-order.

              DiBruno's is wonderful. More like a combination of the 2 old stores in size than the huge new place on Chestnut. Nice, but small selection of cut cheeses, all of their packaged cheese spreads, and a selection of the pre-made packeaged items they have in the big store -- antipasta, cheese/fruit packs, quiche. You can also get some of the dinner items to take homew. Today they had a chicken dish, another main dish that I can't remember, ratatuille that looked yummy, and roasted rtiny red potatoes. Also a selection of their salads, and their artisan bakery items. I bought the Abruzzi cheese spread & and antipasto for DH.

              My last stop out the door was Termini Bakery. Good selection of their standard cakes, and the ability to pre-order for pick up or delivery. A nice case full of individual portions of many of their treats, pre-packaged and ready for you to buy/eat. I have absolutely no will power, so I got 2 of their ricotta cannoli.

              I had a very nice conversation with a woman at DiBruno's. The entire Market is open at 8 AM, with the people at Termini in there even earlier. That's good if you need to pick up a last minute cake for your boss's birthday on the way in to the office. Most places are open until 8 PM, but the seafood place closes at 7:30.

              She told me that lunch time has been a absolute zoo, starting from abouit 11:30 until 2. She said that if I wanted to get something for lunch, it would be a good idea to come at 11, pick it up, then take it somewhere else.

              There are still a few places yet to open. She said that there will be a fairly comprehensive deli as well as something by Suzanna Foo.

              Be advised that it ain't cheap. I haven't been to DiBruno's on Chestnut in a long time, so I can't say if their prices in The Market are the same or higher. I paid $9.50 for the container of abruzzi cheese spread, and $9.99 for the very generous and very varied antipasta. Cannoli were $4 @, which I think is standard Termini price. Pre-made 10" cakes appear to start at $25/$35. The soft shells were $7.99 @, less the 10% after 4:30 discount. They came with tartar sauce & lemon.

              There you go. That's the scoop. If you are itching to check it out yourself, I'd do it in the afternoon or on the way home.

              1. re: PattiCakes

                Sorry, I forgot La Scala, my my typing was really bad. Mea Culpa.

                1. re: PattiCakes

                  Thank you for the wonderful description!
                  I haven't been there, but my husband and many friends have. Lots of raves. The fish market has the same owner as one of the ones in Reading Terminal Market - I forget the name.
                  Great to have something so good in that area.

          2. I think that the lobby of the Comcast Center has the potential to become the downtown meeting place that the Kimmel Center was intended to be but never became.

            1. I went to check out the seafood place. They actually had a slim selection of fish - I mean real fish fillets, whole or steaks. Lots of the premade salads, preseasoned stuff, crabcakes, etc. 4 kinds of salmon, none of which were Wild. Who cares if it's from Norway if it's farmed? They had no whole fish for grilling. I went to Dibruno's instead and got two beautiful whole dorade, scaled and cleaned to order, and they were fantastic. Thank you.

              5 Replies
              1. re: Bride of the Juggler

                DiBruno's in the Market or DiB's on Chestnut?

                Also, I wonder if they would get a different inventory if they knew there was a market for it? I'd have to think that they are probably assessing their customers as well

                1. re: Bride of the Juggler

                  I was under the impression that the purpose of the Market at Comcast was to be a high-end food court to provide customers with a number of food options for lunch and to give CC workers a few heat-up-at home options for a quick dinner, rather than to sell meats or fish and compete with the likes of Whole Foods or Reading Terminal. I just can't see that happening because there is not enough space down there...but if there's enough demand, I am sure it's not too hard for Under the C to get fresh fish from their sister store at Reading TerminaI but I get the impression that this is all very "new" for some of the merchants and they are entirely sure what to expect in terms of demand having spoken to a number of them.

                  1. re: bluehensfan

                    I've eaten at the food court twice: got a good softshell crab sandwich combo from Under the C (comes with tasty fries and coleslaw) about $9; also tried La Scala, pizza slice and small salad combo (this combo not on the menu but comes to $7.50) was very reasonable the salad was delicious also the pizza (I got the eggplant & ricotta chees) was just great and had a good crust; they also give you bread with the salad. No wonder people are waiting in line for this place. I agree with the above poster who said get your food to go. It is very noisy in the foodcourt.

                    1. re: rocknroll52

                      Friends from work went last Friday at about 1:30. They went in through the lobby of the building, however, so that they could see the "art". They said it was amazing. My daughter's naighbor was very involved in the installation of the panels for the "art show". He said that there are plans for longer shows later in the day and on weekends.

                2. Also Georges Perrier's Table 31. Heard it was good. Sister works in the Comcast Bldg. She's dined there a number of times with only good comments, no regrets.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: SpdRcr069

                    We explored the Market at the Comcast Center Monday night before dining at Table 31. DiBruno's was selling croissants from Le Bec Fin and at 5:30 they were 2 for $2 (2 for 1 after 5 PM). I felt able to carry a small bag of croissants into the restaurants so bought them (breakfast the next morning - delicious).

                    The 2nd floor dining room at Table 31 was luxurious and quiet, We had excellent traditional (almost) gin martinis with a twist, no olives and they were terrific for 10.50 each. Very very cold. My husband had shrimp and scallops for his first course - 3 very large shrimp, heads on, and 1 large scallop -- he said they were excellent and he's not really a shrimp lover (kosher yearnings). I had the crabcake which was excellent -- not Perrier's usual crabcake with shrimp mousse binding but just crab, which is what I like.

                    For the main course he had the king salmon and I had the mediterranean bass, I think (my memory is failing). I remember very well that it was a whole fish, skinned and boned but both sides put back together, with herbs and lemon in the middle. It was absolutely luscious. My husband said the salmon was good but not great.

                    We passed on dessert -- there was nothing that particularly appealed to us --and went down back to the market and got 2 cannoli at Termini's and a couple more pastries at DiBruno's, which we ate the next day. We love Termini's cannolis and enjoyed them ery much.

                    We're not really steak lovers so we can't assess Table 31 as a steak house, but we enjoyed the meal and the service. We also had a side dish of super large grilled asparagus, which were wonderful.

                    1. re: Beulah

                      NON FOOD-RELATED COMMENT

                      Do yourself a favor. If you are in the area of the Comcast Center, take a half-hour or so to stop in the lobby. You can access it from JFK, or by going in through the Market in Suburban Station, walking through & going up the stairs. The "wall" is amazing! A continuous show of all kinds of images, done in such high definition as to make you think you are inside the scene. The lobby is vast, but there are only a few bench seats -- be prepared to stand while you watch. It is a great treat, and a wonderful respit from the hideous Philly heat.