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10 Amazing Steak Tartare Dishes in Philly

When you've got beef this good, dressed-up raw is the way to go
October 22, 2014
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by Danya Henninger

Formerly the exclusive domain of unaffordable steakhouses, ultrahigh-quality beef has become more and more common. When you have meat that good, it’s worth trying it raw, especially when dressed the right way. Had one beef tartare, had them all? Not even close. Check out these 10 amazing versions of steak tartare in Philly.

1. Townsend

Chef-owner Townsend Wentz would do fine just letting his tower of silky beef cubes dressed in egg and capers stand on its own, but he makes this appetizer a true powerhouse of flavor by pairing the tartare with bone marrow-glossed tartines and shavings of Idiazabal cheese ($13).

2. Le Chéri

If you didn’t know it, you’d hardly believe the hand-diced fillet in Pierre Calmels’ tartare was beef — it’s as light and smooth as fish — but this is the classic, the reason the dish became an archetype of haute cuisine. Scoop it up with house-fried potato gaufrette chips ($14).

3. Bar Volvér

Get hands on with the DIY tartare presentation in Jose Garces’ Kimmel Center lounge. A puck of bright-pink meat stands alone, ready to be dressed with your own hand-whipped combination of quail yolk, mayonnaise, shallot, caper and tomato confit ($12).

4. Barclay Prime

This Stephen Starr steakhouse serves some of the best cuts in the city, and the tartare benefits from that selection. Fillet of Wagyu is hand-cut and tossed with sharp Dijon mustard, smooth egg yolk and bits of capers and onion, which also come in a fried frisée above the pile of beef ($16).

5. Bistrot La Minette

Bone marrow-soaked croutons top the hand-cut cubes of grass-fed rib-eye in the “tartare de boeuf au couteau” at Peter Woolsey’s original Queen Village bistro, mixed with lemon, dijon, capers and cornichons, and served with a watercress salad ($12).

6. La Peg

At Peter Woolsey’s grand brasserie in the FringeArts building, chef de cuisine Nich Bazik took a few liberties with the French standard, tossing chewy chunks of spicy chorizo in with the soft bits of Australian, grass-fed beef. It’s all brought together in a mustard vinaigrette that’s thick with yolk ($11).

7. Petruce et al.

“A burger you don’t have to grill,” is how co-chefs and co-owners Justin and Jonathan Petruce describe their take on tartare, which tosses the beef with bits of bacon and chopped pickles, all covered with grated clothbound cheddar and served with iceberg lettuce ($14).

8. Vernick Food & Drink

One of the more popular version’s of chef-owner Greg Vernick’s famous “toasts” is the thick slab of bread topped with minced beef, tangled inextricably with shavings of zingy fresh horseradish ($15).

9. R2L

On the 37th floor of Liberty II, chef Daniel Stern dresses his diced filet mignon in a sauce made sharp with cherry peppers. It’s served below a crunchy radish salad next to wedges of roasted potato ($18).

10. The Dandelion

The dish’s origin may be French, but the English certainly know how to serve it. At this British tavern in Rittenhouse, chopped beef is mixed with a roasted shallot vinaigrette, then glossed with truffle dressing and served alongside a sharp watercress salad with sourdough toast ($15.50).

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