photo credit: Max Grudzinski
Butcher And Singer
When we say “power lunch,” what comes to mind? Probably a group of men in suits (with very pronounced shoulder pads), those credit cards made of metal instead of plastic, and a bunch of nonsensical phrases like “let’s square the circle” and “we’ve got it covered from soup to nuts.” When you imagine these kinds of events taking place, you probably envision them happening at a place like Butcher & Singer, where important people talk business over a very expensive meal.
Butcher & Singer is one of the many steakhouses near Rittenhouse Square, but unlike all the others within a five-block radius that look more like dining rooms at expensive retirement homes than anything else, Butcher & Singer feels like a clubhouse straight out of The Great Gatsby. Before the bone-in filets and seafood towers, there was a bank here, and it still feels like you could walk into Butcher & Singer and ask for $100 in pennies without anyone batting an eye. The servers wear tuxedos and use phrases like “excite your palate” to describe the tuna tartare. It’s all a bit over-the-top, but it’s what makes Butcher & Singer one of the more unique restaurants in the city.
The menu is about as classic as a steakhouse menu can get. There’s a raw bar with a $145 shellfish platter, appetizers like onion soup and steak tartare, and enough steak and side options to get you through a nuclear apocalypse. The steaks are all served simply with a salty dry rub at the perfect temperature, and although they’re all delicious, the porterhouse should be your top priority - it’s best when you “add Oscar” (a combination of asparagus, lump crab, and bearnaise sauce). They’re also open for lunch, and if you find yourself here for a midday meal with a few coworkers or a bunch of lawyers you want to keep on retainer for any future issues you may have, the only thing better than the steaks is the butcher burger. It’s always perfectly cooked, and topped simply with cheddar cheese and fried onions.
Some of the food is less impressive though, especially considering how expensive it all is. The supposedly exciting tuna tartare is bland, and the brussels sprouts taste like the ones you pushed around your plate until you were excused from the dinner table as a kid. In general, there’s nothing so good that you’ll be rushing to come back - besides maybe the bacon mac or the burger. But if you happen to get a metal card in the mail and are looking for somewhere to earn triple points on dining, Butcher & Singer is a good place to rack them up while pretending you’re the leader of the free world.
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There’s a small version for $75 and a large for $145, both of which come with a big heap of sea creatures. Get it if you want to impress someone or aren’t paying for it yourself. Otherwise, the king crab cocktail is the way to go.
The tuna tartare here is flavorless and kind of mushy. There are lots of better things you can get here, pass on this one.
Any of the steaks on the menu will be good, but the porterhouse is the most well-marbled and tasty one here. It has enough flavor with just the dry rub to enjoy it plain, but if you want to impress the lawyer you came here with (even though he was just trying to serve you divorce papers and leave), you should “add Oscar” to it.
It’s only served at lunch, but it’s thick, topped with fried onion and cheese, and easily one of the best burgers in the city.
This is basically a huge latke, fried perfectly and filled with stringed potatoes. It’s like having a taste of breakfast for dinner and that’s something we will never complain about.
Bacon Mac & Cheese
We’d come here just to eat five bowls of this, and then order five more to take home with us.
If you are a fan of pound cake covered in ice cream and meringue, this is the best (and maybe only) place in the city to get it.