The mimosas are perfect and so are the muffins and much, much more!
By Theodore N. Beitchman
The Philly restaurant scene is booming like the stock market.
Everywhere you look, some micro-pub or craft beer bar or fancy diner has sprouted, especially in trendy Fishtown or Northern Liberties or East Passyunk Avenue.
Philly has certainly come a long way since the days when you couldn’t get a decent Martini or steak after dark — and never on Sundays.
Which brings me to Marsha Brown, who took the leap six months ago and moved her esteemed Ruth’s Chris Steak House from Broad and Spruce to 18th and Market, a neighborhood where no high-end restaurant had dared to tread.
And now Brown has broken another barrier:
Fine dining spots that are open for Saturday and Sunday brunch.
There are lots of upscale restaurants in Center City that have sprung up in the past few years — and there does seem to be an overabundance of marquee steak joints — but it is still rare to find one that offers Saturday and Sunday brunch.
Which is to say, there were none.
Until now, that is.
And no one is happier than general manager Burnie Gaeta.
“We are only one of five Ruth’s Chris locations that are open for brunch,” he said proudly on Dec. 3 during the soft opening for brunch. “And like the others the menu was created by our corporate chefs.”
And this location is the only fine dining spot on the newest residentially booming area of west Market Street that has a Saturday and Sunday brunch.
The other brunch locations are in Boston, West Palm Beach, South Barrington, Mass., and St. Petersburg, Fla. Ruth’s Chris has approximately 130 stores nationwide, and Brown has been in Philly since 1989, making her one of the founding mothers of Philly food.
I did a taste test last Saturday and Sunday, and the Cajun Tenderloin Eggs Benedict were superb with the house-made buttermilk cheddar biscuits with creamed spinach and topped with poached eggs and cajun hollandaise. The Cajun of course comes from Brown’s New Orleans heritage, which she does to a fare thee well at Marsha Brown’s in New Hope.
On Sunday I opted for the petite rib eye that was topping a bed of mashed potatoes and a poached egg, which I supplemented with biscuits and jam. Oh, and the Cajun Bloody Mary, which was as spicy as it was perfect for a hangover.
Brown also owns the Ruth’s Chris in King of Prussia and in Garden City on Long Island.
But the weekend brunch is a specialty of 18th and Market location, on the ground floor of the spectacular Sonesta Hotel.
As GM Gaeta says, “It’s from Bourbon Street to Market Street — let the good times roll!”