While Vernick Food & Drink is an upscale American eatery with a complex, innovative menu, the chef's standout mainstay is (drum roll, please)...toast. But this is not burnt wonder bread with I Can't Believe It's Not Butter -- this is toast 2.0. Vernick's chefs have created a number of spreads and mashes to dollop onto fresh baked sourdough, using everything from charred eggplant with chanterelles and broccoli-bacon jam to Bayonne ham with whipped brie and Maryland crab, all of which can be enjoyed at the bar alongside one of the numerous creative house cocktails. Beyond the sought-after collection of toasts, there are raw oysters, small plates, and plenty of meat and fish entrees, most of which are roasted in a wood-fired oven. The tables are built of thick, weathered wood, the waiters wear suspenders and bowties, and the whole place is engulfed in a warm yellow light.
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1. Vernick Food & Drink 2031 Walnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19103 (Rittenhouse)