My friends often think me crazy when I get excited by a new restaurant or shop (Primark) that comes to Philly that I’ve experienced whilst traveling. When I heard that Urban Farmer Philadelphia was making its steakhouse debut inside the new hotel, The Logan, I was pretty happy. Both are Sage Hospitality properties with the hotel part of the Curio by Hilton Collection. I first came upon Urban Farmer in Portland as the on-site restaurant at The Nines Hotel. It was local, farm to table freshness and so good I forgot to leave the hotel to explore other Portland offerings (the many food carts, wine bars, etc.).
For the past month, I’ve been on a strict “get healthy elimination diet” and at one point might actually hurt you for a dinner roll as I weened myself off of my bread addiction. For my visit to Urban Farmer Philadelphia which just opened earlier this month (January 2016), I decided I was going to cheat on my food journal and let my inner fat girl free to indulge (everyone needs a cheat day to stay somewhat sane in my opinion).
Open Table Is Your Friend in Philadelphia
The Friday night reservations were full at normal dining times but thankfully my friend agreed to the early 5:30 p.m. slot (one of the only available times). While waiting for my friend on the hotel side of the restaurant (you can enter via the hotel or from the Parkway), the hostess more than once checked on me and asked if I wanted a drink or snack while waiting (two servers did the same). My friend would arrive late but entered from the street side and found me easily after walking through the crowded restaurant and bar area.
The Casual Elegance
With a hip, modern luxury design, the restaurant has plush chairs, nicely arranged shared tables in the bar, a few booths and many different seating options around the bar and lounge. The tables are very warm and inviting. We were seated in a cold zone when the door first opened but once the restaurant was full, I didn’t notice a chill at all (ok, it might also have been the wine).
Our server, Anthony, quickly greeted us and walked us through the menu and had patience with our many questions. Another server was quick with the water refills and neither of us could even get to the bottom of our glass. Throughout our meal, everyone was attentive and helpful as we had one or two minor issues to resolve.
The Food Fest Dinner
This is where my inner fat girl decided gluttony was on tap for the night. She shunned any thought of a vegetable (there were many to choose from). A bread plate was served with fresh homemade rolls along then Anthony motioned a soup can and out popped homemade corn bread (hello bread, I’ve missed you). My friend and I split the cornbread and then ventured into a roll each.
My friend started with the Caesar salad without anchovies and I took a photo. The server asked me about this and I said “I like Instagram worthy photos” and steak isn’t so pretty in pictures.
I had seen the tableside old school rolling cheese cart circulating and serving happy tables with cheese. The cheese was served at $6 per selection. I asked if I could get a photo while sadly saying “I’m lactose intolerant and miss cheese”, my friend exclaimed “I’m not”. As the server explained the cheese choices, two were goat’s milk cheeses which I can eat. He served up a gorgeous tray of cheese, homemade wheat cracker, local honey, fruit and sea salt. Knowing that my steak was arriving soon, I tried my two options and my friend enjoyed the local beer infused cheese before asking to put in a takeaway box.
And then my lovely 8 oz. grass fed tenderloin arrived cooked perfectly (photos of steak are never good) with a side order of fresh cut farm fries. My friend ordered creamed spinach with the au gratin topping and despite the outside temperature of the dish, the inside spinach was barely warm so she sent this back and it returned not much hotter for her (the server and manager apologized and didn’t charge us for this). Her steak wasn’t as medium well as she wanted (I think she got my medium steak) so she sent it back to cook a bit more.
Oh right, since I’m allowed two slices of bacon a week (yes, a week!), I took advantage of this and ordered the candied bacon with a tomato bacon jam on top (probably a month’s worth on my diet). Bacon on bacon is just divine! The bacon was absolutely worth every calorie, push up, jumping jack and whatever else I need to do at the gym.
Surely, that’s it, gluttony over? One would think but we were having too much fun catching up over wine (the wine list has a great varied selection – I started with a Willamette Pinot Noir and moved to a Malbec for the steak and bacon pairing. Since I was in full cheat mode, I was going all in…..as “an explorer of food”.
Dessert at Urban Farmer Philadelphia
My friend was super thrilled after she checked out the menu earlier in the day spotting her favorite Butterscotch Sundae – a warm brown butter blondie with toffee chip ice cream.
I was going to pass on dessert (the gluttony and diet deviation was already bad) but she didn’t want to dessert alone and who am I to pass up chocolate? I had two interesting choices – the chocolate bon bons (six truffle like chocolates in flavors like lemon, raspberry, mint, hazelnut and two other flavors) or the chocolate sea salted whiskey ganache cake with hazelnuts (go ahead read that again to let it sink in).
Chocolate, Salt, Whiskey, Chocolate and Hazelnuts was the clear winner for me (I had to skip the caramel ice cream) if only for a few bites (I brought the rest home). Since I had inquired about the bon bons, our server was all too happy to oblige (dear doctor, I’ve gain weight this month due to Anthony deciding we must enjoy all of the indulgences at Urban Farmer Philadelphia). I could only manage the raspberry on site as I had a bit of wine left to finish. I put the rest in the takeaway box and gave them to the hotel staff at the Hyatt at the Bellevue where I was staying for the night to use expiring points. They were quite happy.
Social Media Posts
When I posted on social media, my friends all came out saying “Why didn’t you invite me” and “When can we go there” and “OMG, share that dessert” (If you know me, I don’t share dessert, you’ll need to get your own!). I had such a fantastic dinner experience at Urban Farmer on Friday, I returned on Monday for lunch with a friend!
Lunch on Monday
My former colleague met me for a late lunch on Monday and the manager came over to apologize for the “spinach incident”, they must have it noted in my file now! He sent over a cheese tray (I notified the server that I’m lactose intolerant, so the manager returned with a charcuterie tray – who am I to say no?).
Photos from lunch – my friend ordered the deviled eggs, a turkey panini with a side of fruit and the chocolate whiskey cake. I ordered a grilled chicken sandwich with bacon and fresh avocado side of fries. Sadly, there is no cornbread at lunch.
The Urban Farmer Philadelphia is my new happy place in the city (no easy feat given all the amazing food options I have to tempt me but my inner fat girl was blissful). While Urban Farmer is the new kid on the Parkway, I can already see a long successful relationship in our future and more cheating on my food journal as I still need to hit up breakfast and the happy hour menu……..