To mark the 20th anniversary of Stephen Starr’s famous Philadelphia eatery, Continental Restaurant + Martini Bar, the eatery is pulling into a perfect mid-century spot on Collins Avenue adjacent to the Aloft Hotel. Designed by Shawn Hausman, the venue takes full advantage of the space, with ’50s-chic decor softened by lots of greenery and good lighting. The patio is every bit as perfect a place to perch as the inside — it’s up to you (and mother nature).
With a name like Continental, you’d think the cuisine of Stephen Starr’s famous restaurant from Philadelphia would be American. Some of it is, but a lot of the best dishes have an Asian under (or over)tone to them. Even a simple Philly cheese steak becomes the Cheesesteak Eggroll with chef Matthew Oetting’s treatment. Wide noodle dish Rad Na, is served on a bed of romaine lettuce topped with bean sprouts, and the fried rice boasts lots of lobster. Dishes like Spicy Beef Chop Suey and trendy stuff like Softshell Crab Bao Buns and Foie Gras & Pancakes make the menu fun and almost totally without pretense.
There is a “Build Your Own Sushi” dish that comes with instructions and rolling materials (giving rolling your own a whole new meaning). It sounds fun, but we can envision more tourists than spoiled Miamians giving this a go. While the menu isn’t as American as the restaurant’s name would let on, there are a few strictly stateside-type dishes like the Lobster Shells & Cheese, Backyard Burger, and 45-day Dry Aged 22oz Bone-in ribeye.
(Interior shots via Alex Markow)