Restaurant Review: Del Frisco’s

The twice yearly Center City District Restaurant Week, in which restaurants offer three course meals for $35 per person, is probably the best known restaurant deal in Philly. But, various restaurants in the city also run promotions throughout the year. Keeping an eye out for these is a good way to discover a new place or to try out places that might otherwise be out of your price range on the average day. Summer is a good time to take advantage of these promotions because restaurants are looking to keep their tables filled, as locals spend more time on vacation and less time in the city.

For example, it’s no secret that Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse (1426 Chestnut Street ) is one of the fanciest steakhouses in the city, with a price tags to match. But, Chester and I recently discovered that summer is a great time to visit, since it is celebrating the season with a variety of special menu offerings.

Through September 3, Del Frisco’s is offering the “Power Couple” a three-course menu, including a salad, dual-entrée and side, and a choice of dessert. Priced at $99 for two people, this represents a savings of nearly $40 per person than if these menu items were ordered a la carte.

The meal begins with a choice of Caesar or Del’s salad. The latter features iceberg lettuce with tomato, onion, carrots, and croutons and is topped with two large slices of crispy bacon and an avocado vinaigrette dressing. For me, the dressing servings were a bit heavy-handed, so be sure to request it on the side if you prefer it a bit lighter.

The entrée plate, from which the “Power Couple” derives its name, features a crab cake and a tender, eight-ounce filet Mignon, seasoned with salt, pepper and clarified butter. Although these are simple ingredients, the mixture was applied so generously that the peppery flavor was just a tad bit overwhelming, in my opinion. Since Del Frisco’s wet-ages its steaks for 28-days, a lighter application of the seasoning would have let the flavor of the meat itself come through a bit more. The crab cake was a standout, when compared to similar offerings at other steakhouses in the city, because it is comprised of a generous helping of jumbo lump crab meat, with minimal bread crumbs or other fillers. A spicy Cajun-style lobster sauce was a nice complement.

Side dishes are served family style for easy sharing. I had the broccoli, which was simply prepared with salt, pepper, garlic and butter. On the opposite end of the spectrum, were Chester’s rich chateau potatoes, smashed with butter and cream. Other side options include from included sautéed mushrooms, baked potato, creamed spinach.

Dessert choices include cheesecake, bread pudding or chocolate mousse. The mousse, made with a high-quality dark chocolate, was rich and smooth. It was topped with sweet whipped cream and strawberries and was a light finish to the substantial meal. The banana and nut laden bread pudding has an incredibly fluffy texture. It is served warm so the accompanying butterscotch sauce and vanilla ice cream melts right in.

In addition to the “Power Couple” feature, Del Frisco’s is also offering several Father’s Day specials through the end of June. These include a 16-ounce bone-in filet Mignon ($65) and a 20-ounce boneless prime ribeye ($52). Bourbon peppercorn sauce or lobster butter can be added to these dishes for $6 and $8, respectively. During Father’s Day Weekend itself (June 15 through the 17), the two featured sauces will be complimentary when you order one of the featured steaks and the restaurant will also offer an eight ounce filet and eight ounce lobster tail ($79).

If you are up for more of a spluge, Del Frisco’s is still offering its regular menu throughout the summer, including its specialty cut—the Wagyu “Longbone”, a domestic version of kobe beef ($89). Seafood fans will enjoy the Shellfish Plateau, featuring chilled Alaskan king crab legs, iced jumbo shrimp, fresh oysters on the half shell, chilled crab claws and assorted garnishes ($77 for two people/$148 for four guests).

Del Frisco’s impressive décor and attentive customer service alone make it worth a visit. The restaurant is located in an old bank and many of its features, including iron gates by renowned blacksmith Samuel Yellin, high ceilings, marble columns and the bank vault (which has been converted into private dining space on the ground floor), were all preserved in the renovation of the space. The large bar area on the main level of the two-story dining area boasts a wine tower housing the offerings from Del Frisco’s impressive wine list. At the very least, a stop at Del Frisco’s for a glass of wine or a cocktail on a hot day would be a wonderful summer time treat.

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