Exquisitely detailed dining spaces deserve similarly exquisite fare -- which is why it's baffling that McDonald's even offers standard hamburgers in franchises with Playlands, architectural marvels that clearly call for Anguses. Matching high-end interior aesthetics with a similarly sleek menu, Square 1682, opening tomorrow
Connected to Palomar, Rittenhouse's newest boutique hotel, Square's a LEED-registered, 90-seat bi-level resto-lounge in the vaunted 1929 Architects Building, with a granite-topped bar of staggered walnut and an exhibition-style kitchen downstairs, where the Trotter & Starr-trained Chef oversees the execution of Square's meticulously arranged "New American" dishes, which're also served in a second-floor dining room accessible via a square staircase -- also what the cool kids made you use in high school. Starters're divided between "cold" selections like turbot tiradito w/ hearts of palm & shaved fennel, yellowfin tuna tostados, and a shareable shellfish platter (stone crab claws, Alaskan king crab legs, oysters...), and "hot" plates including duck sausage cassoulet, poblano peppers stuffed w/ pork, beef & pomegranate in cold walnut emulsion, and lobster pot pie, aka, the Kobe Helper of the sea. Entrées run from roasted squab w/ port wine braised cabbage, crispy noodles & chanterelle 'shrooms, and lamb rack & loin w/ chorizo in a spicy tomato jam, to black cod in porchetta w/ leek confit & caramelized fennel, and oven-roasted Amish chicken, who was certain it was going to hell when it entered that futuristic electric oven
Along with stocking local craft brews like Yards Washington Porter and Jefferson Tavern Ale, Square's bar's mixing a full line of specialty cocktails including the Ketel One Citroen-/Canton Ginger-fueled Bell Pepper Smash, and a Sazerac w/ Woodford Reserve and just a touch of bitters -- because too much'd just make you Grimace.