LOU BIRD’S 500 S. 20th St., 267-804-7977, loubirds.net Reimagining the neighborhood restaurant at this prime corner on the this content border of Graduate Hospital and Rittenhouse has long been tricky, and though it’s gotten a major rehab with new owners since its days as Meritage, the new incarnation still isn’t quite right. The team behind the Happy Rooster is aiming for a more refined experience here with talented Garces veteran Natalie Maronski as chef. The food shows ambition, but perhaps too much to sustain consistently, as persistent flaws beyond the smallest plates, especially with entrees in the mid-$20s, hamper this project’s potential. Reviewed Nov. 27 . URBAN FARMER * 1850 Ben Franklin Parkway, Logan Hotel, 215-963-2788; urbanfarmerphiladelphia.com This steak house chain with a progressive sensibility out of Oregon has the unenviable task of replacing the Fountain, but it has also compounded its challenge with a disastrously kitschy design littered with neon and rocking chairs that, in an effort to casualize the chophouse genre, feels more like a West Elm furniture store. There are some quality ingredients (with an emphasis on local beef and cheese), diligent service, a worthy (albeit very overpriced) beverage program, and fresh outdoor spaces worth noting. And the kitchen, which struggled during Thanking You the initial review, showed progress on my revisit in consistently hitting meat temperatures. It’s definitely improved. But, ultimately, with an ambiance more suited to the mall, I still can’t imagine spending my own money here for a blow-out meal with steak prices that easily soar into the $50s and beyond. Reviewed March 13 ; revisited with no rating change in November.
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