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Oct 16, 2009 07:58 AM

Square 1682 in Philly

Anyone been there yet (granted it just opened this week)? It's in the Hotel Palomar across the street from te Sofitel.

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    1. re: barryg

      I dunno...heard decent enough things about it in print but have not been there myself.

      1. re: bluehensfan

        So we finally made it over...The martini at the bar before dinner was fabulous, although the bar was packed and claustrophobic, despite being int he middle of the room. Nothing else was impressive. It's not that food was bad, but for the amount of money we spent, it was not a good value. Overall, it was boring. Service was spotty, and dishes were delivered to the wrong people. The seating upsatirs was cramped and the room loud - and although the build-out was obviously expensive, it is not being well maintained. Only a few months into its opening, the wood stair treads are scratched and the dust bunnies along the spindles were large enough to see even in the dim lighting. Maybe it was an off night, but with so many fabulous offerings in the same area, nothing but the martini would entice me to go back. All in all - I'd reccomend a happy hour stop at the bar before crossing the street to Chez Collette.

    2. Went last night with some friends, had sort of a mixed reaction.

      We liked the space - it was cozy and inviting to hang out for a slow meal, though I can imagine that not being the case when the room was more packed and busy. Cocktails were nicely made, seemed to feature some good quality ingredients for the mostly $8-11 price tag. Bread basket was awesome - nice assortment of types of bread and they were quick to refill on request. Came in handy for soaking up the tasty dressing from the charred octopus I ordered to start.

      I was less happy with my "large plate", Yellow Fin Tuna and Ginger Braised Short Ribs, with
      root vegetables and korean barbeque sauce. First, the portion seemed really no bigger than most of the small plates we orderd - at $26 it seemed a downright stingy amount of tuna. Also, the bbq sauce tasted like supermarket hoisin out of the bottle, very salty and really overpowering the fish. The root vegetables were just some little decorative, flavorless-cubes spotted around the plate. Short ribs were good, though again I mostly avoided getting it in the sauce to enjoy the actual flavor of it.

      One friend seemed to do better with the NY Strip. Didn't taste it myself but she said it was good and it was an ok, though still modest looking portion. Other friend just ordered three small plates, and if I go back that's probably the route I would take. I only tasted the Serrano Ham but it was good, and the Ginger Marinated Yellow Fin Tuna looked gorgeous. So did the Poblano Pepper en Nogada.

      We also each ordered dessert. Best pick was definitely the Apple Fritters.

      So overall, I'm not totally sure what to say. Nothing blew my mind, but I did like the cocktails and would love an excuse to go back for a drink, some more of that bread, and to try a couple more small plates. But it does seem a bit hit or miss.

      2 Replies
      1. re: sockii

        Thanks for the review! Ya kind of hate to go to a place and find that the strip steak is the best thing on the menu when it's not a steak house and the chef is into new and interesting combinations of food. Some people seem to like the place (as in South Philly Review) but others not. (I still haven't been's hard with Argan almost across the street luring me in for their slow roasted lamb).

        Laban will be reviewing Square 1682 tomorrow in the Inky so we will see what he thinks assuming the paper makes it here without getting swamped by all of the rain.

        1. re: bluehensfan

          I'll be curious to see what Laban has to say.

          I did want to like the place and did on many levels, so I will go back to try more small plates and drinks. If my main hadn't been so disappointing my review would probably be a lot more positive, as some of the dishes I saw go to other tables looked very good (again, mostly off the small plates and soup/salad menus). I tasted the sides with the strip steak and they were again "just ok" - nothing to rave about. I really want to try the tuna small plate my friend had and the Korean "hot pot" that went to a neighboring table, which looked excellent.

          And I did appreciate that they totally let us linger for about 2 hours without pressuring us for more drinks/food/etc. While the bar was hopping and busy, the upstairs was much more chill and relaxing.