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Which Steven Starr restaurant has the best food?

I want to give a gift of $150 to spend at one Steven Starr restaurant. (I know that there are other wonderful restaurants in Philadelphia, but I have a particular reason for supporting the SS empire.) What do my fellow Chowhounds think offers the most well prepared meals of his restaurants? Notice that I didn't say the best dining experience. Thanks for your help!

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  1. I really think the best food is at Square Burger. I just don't know how long it would take you to spend $150 dollars on hot dogs and hamburgers.

    1. Any gift card you buy will be good at all Starr restaurants, so it doesn't really matter, the recipient can decide where to spend it.

      1 Reply
      1. re: barryg

        Ironically the only SS property that doesn't accept gift cards is Square Burger. http://starr-restaurant.com/restauran... lists all the properties including AC, NY and FL.

      2. If I had $150 to spend at a Starr restaurant, I would use it towards an omakase at Morimoto.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Philly Ray

          Parc is not bad either. I actually have a similar card and tried Continental Midtown once and found it to be decent.

          1. re: Philly Ray

            1) Of the Starr restaurants I've been to, Morimoto is head and shoulders, and probably most of the torso, above the rest. I've like the others (Parc, AdC, Jones, the North African place that closed, I think there's 1-2 more) but not at all at the same level. That said, it's probably the place where $150 goes the least far.
            2) I've received Starr gift cards as gifts before. They're not restaurant-specific.

          2. I really like the food at Dandelion, and I've heard good things about Il Pittore. The nice thing about the Starr cards is that the diner can choose, or use them at more than one place. My hubby got a very large card for his birthday and wants to use it at Barclay Prime. Wouldn't be my choice, but he loves it.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Hungryin theBurbs

              I forgot about Il Pittore. I heard it's very good.

            2. Aren't his gift cards applicable to all of his restaurants (except Square Burger)? Why restrict the lucky recipient to a single restaurant?

              1. I am a huge Stephen Starr fan. Yes, I also love all the other foodie greats in the city, but I have to tell you years after it has opened we really still love Buddakan. I love Continental for drinks and apps with my friends. They do some amazing sharing dishes. My husband took me to Il Pittore for my birthday last year and we really loved it too. And Parc is another fave- love brunch there and also dinner and martinis.

                1. Picking up on your last sentence about "best dining experience", I'd say Jones for comfort foods.

                  1. MHOs... I have had very bad food at Parc, Jones, Continental Midtown and El Vez, I will not go back to any for dinners. Parc does have fantastic bread and location, and breakfast was ok but expensive. Continental Midtown has been ok for lunch and Continental Old City for brunch. I like the drinks at El Vez. I could see trying Jones again for brunch.

                    Barclay Prime was good but not good enough at that price tier. I like El Rey given the price and location but not a destination Mexican restaurant for me. Good lunch specials and happy hour there.

                    If I got $150 for Starr at this point, I would try Il Pittore, Talula's Garden or Fette Sau--I haven't been to those--or use it over time for drinks at Ranstead Room, which I prefer to the Franklin, and Frankford Hall, which is a great hangout in the warmer months.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: barryg

                      Barry I agree you have identified the best restaurants in the Philadelphia Starr area. I personally like the Buddahkan in NY (though I was underwhelmed with the one in AC). and have yet to go to the Morimotos in NYC, I would probably go to NYC , Talulah's Garden really is doing one of the best cheese services in the city (would love to hear Delucacheesemongers view on this btw) and Il Pittore is doing good northern italian food. I have yet to try Fette Sau and while I love the Frankford Hall Space, the food there is dreadful. Interestingly the newest and probably best Philadelphia restaurants are two chef driven independent restaurants that are supported by the StephenStarr organization rather than his contrived concept restaurants.

                      1. re: cwdonald

                        I've only eaten at Frankford Hall a couple times, the food wasn't great but the sausages and fries hit the spot after a few beers for sure, and the prices are very reasonable (food especially, but some of the beers are priced very well too).

                      2. re: barryg

                        Barry, I'm glad I'm not the only one who's been let down by Parc; the food I've had has ranged from OK to downright bad.

                        Alma de Cuba would be my vote, actually. I went there again recently and had a terrific meal.

                        1. re: lowereastrittenhouse

                          Forgot about Alma, haven't been there recently but I have always liked it. If I got the gift card I would probably go there now that you mention it.