Walnut Street Café, the stylish, bright all-day dining venue at the base of the FMC Tower at 2929 Walnut St., is a welcome addition to the Philly Phood scene.
Whether you are stopping in for a breakfast pastry, a full-course dinner or something in between, Walnut Street Café is an excellent option.
The space is tucked into the ground floor of the FMC Tower; the décor is sleek and rather spare with large windows, brushed metal furnishings and an open kitchen. The front patio — it is too wide to call a sidewalk — offers ample table seating and sufficient distance from traffic to afford comfort.
We visited one recent Tuesday for dinner, and the place was hopping.
The menu offers shared appetizers, salads, pastas, small plates, mains, sides, cheeses and desserts. We opted for a selection of starters to share prior to moving to the main course.
The shishito peppers with Maldon salt were delightfully charred, and ranged from mild to quite spicy — which made the dish a bit of an adventure; fortunately, our quartet enjoyed the kick. We also tried the ravioli — a lovely plate of perfectly cooked dumplings filled with simple ricotta, tossed in brown butter with a hint of mint. We shared the chicken sausage, surrounded by mushrooms and finished with a poached egg.
We were tempted by the porterhouse steak for two, a 32-ounce monster that comes with two sides. Sensibly, we split that among three diners, and our fourth ordered the chicken.
But first the steak: Cooked medium-rare, it came sliced, with grilled shallots and was dramatically doused at table with bordelaise sauce. It was divine. We chose grilled carrots and salt roasted beets as accompaniments; both were well prepared. The chicken was tender, flavorful and perfectly sauced.
We were rather full to consider desserts, but in the end went for the apple custard slab pie. It was good, but not as euphoria-inducing as some of the other items.
The wine list is comprehensive but pricey, and the sommelier is helpful and knowledgeable. She managed our requests for a buttery chardonnay and a full-bodied, dry red well, and both bottles met our tastes.
The wines by the glass selection is quite large, and we were told that half bottles are available in most, if not all, of the bottles offered.
There was also an extensive beer list, as well as an interesting array of cocktails. For non-drinkers, the Walnut Street Café offers house-made soft drinks; we tried the turmeric ginger soda, and it was refreshing.
Service was pleasant and accommodating. When our main course was delayed due to a kitchen error, we were comped several intermezzo dishes by way of apology.
I am eager to return for another meal; the breakfast pastries are said to be addictive.
If you go:
2929 Walnut St. Philadelphia