Located at 12th and Market, in the first floor of the historic PSFS building, Philadelphia’s first skyscraper is one of the best restaurants in the city, Bank & Bourbon. The restaurant recently released a beautiful Summer menu of modern American fare highlighting all the best flavors of fresh and local produce (some from Reading Terminal Market right around the corner) that you’ll need to taste to believe. Bank & Bourbon opened in April 2014 and its name comes from the unique barrel aging program for Bourbon, Whiskey and Rye spirits, offered under the direction of a Bourbon Master. They even feature a locker program where bourbon, whiskey and rye enthusiasts can keep their favorites on-site or age their own spirit.
We tip our hats to Executive Chef, Thomas Harkins, who uses traditional American fare and techniques as the base for this spectacular seasonal menu.
Harkins is a 1989 graduate of the prestigious Culinary Institute of America. Upon graduation, he went on to work in some of the country’s finest kitchens including Bonaventure Resort and Spa, Hotel Atop the Bellevue, Rittenhouse Hotel, Moshulu, Circa and Plate. Building a prominent reputation in the Philadelphia restaurant industry, he’s become known for both his unique and innovative dish and his expert management style. He has received national culinary recognition, including invitations to cook at the James Beard House on four separate occasions.
Entering the restaurant you’ll notice the atmosphere blends classic mid-century architecture with a comfortable, relaxed décor. Exposed pipes and wooden beams on the ceiling, tufted leather banquettes, rugs and wooden floors offer a casual, rustic, modern, approachable setting. We passed the barrels of bourbon, whiskey, and rye to stepped into a private dining room for a sample of the new menu.
One our favorite cocktails for summer – Pimm’s Cup – is served at Bank & Bourbon. Created in the mid-18th century by English oyster bar owner James Pimm, this gin-based beverage is made with the Pimm’s No. 1 English liquor, ginger beer, and accented with fresh berries, cucumber, and mint. Besides looking beautiful, this cocktail is the perfect refresher for a hot summer day in the city.
Whether you stop by for lunch of dinner we’d highly recommend the Taste of Ham and Warm Corn Salad. The ham plate is accompanied by crusty bread and goat butter, which is more rich and creamy than any butter you’ve ever had before. Three hams are offered on the plate, Hamery from TN, Benton’s Ham from TN (our absolute favorite!) and Creminelli Proscuitto from UT. The Warm Corn Salad is also one of the biggest selling seasonal menu items. This sweet salad is made with local roasted corn, snow peas, candied walnuts, lime and Parmesan for the perfect light crisp flavor to start your meal.
At lunch the Dry Aged Burger with poblano pepper, pickles, sharp cheddar, and green herb sauce is a surefire win. No matter what time of year, this burger will always be a favorite of restaurant patrons. The Fried Green Tomato Sandwich is very popular with vegetarians. The Salmon Salad is a nice option for the more health conscious. If you’re looking for something a bit more indulgent try the Crispy Chicken Sandwich or Crispy Pork Belly Sandwich that are served with a side of delicious handcut Parmesan Rosemary Fries.
If you stop by, we’d highly recommend some of the specials being offered for the summer dinner menu. Bank & Bourbon has some beautiful seafood starters. One of our favorites is the Lobster Salad with baby spinach, blister tomatoes, and lemon crème fraiche. This buttery, sweet, and light dish is just the perfect taste if you don’t want to ruin you appetite for dinner. The Grilled Octopus with yukon potatoes, charred green tomato, and shishito peppers is perfection. And the Hamachi with pickled plum, jalapeno, avocado,and ginger oil is served at both lunch and dinner.
If seafood isn’t your thing, don’t worry they’ve got some beautiful vegetarian plates like Cucumber Carpaccio with lime, buttermilk, wasabi, and dill or Heirloom Tomatoes with burrata cheese, and anchovy toast with classic flavors you can’t beat when made with farm fresh tomatoes. For a surprising mix of salt and sweet, try the Crisp Pork Belly with apricots, kale, and onion soubise.
Be sure to save your appetite for the main course. This summer there are some amazing entrees being offered. Carnivores will enjoy the 32 oz. Dry-Aged Cowboy Steak (for 2) with crispy fingerling potatoes, and the 18 oz. Bone-In NY Strip with watercress salad. The Honey Brined Duroc Pork Chop with pickled red onion, mustard greens, and parsnips and Seared Duck Breast with nectarines, pea shoots, cipollini onions, and corn mousse are not to be missed as well.
Seafood lovers will enjoy the Halibut with artichoke barigoule, snap peas, and fine herbs, Whole Fish daily special, or Ahi Tuna with coriander crust, stew peppers, Benton’s hams, and shaved zucchini.
Last but certainly not least is dessert! Even if you don’t think you need it, we highly recommend you make some time to treat yourself to something sweet. Besides being plated like works of art, these treats are insanely delicious. The Freshly Made Vanilla Doughnut is our #1 pick. You’ll be drooling over the plate as they bring this giant doughnut tableside so you can watch the whiskey caramel reduction pour over the vanilla ice cream and doughnut. Finished with brown butter caramels, this might be the best doughnut we’ve ever had. We also couldn’t resist the Peanut Butter Sundae with chocolate ice cream, salted caramel popcorn, and pretzel brittle. Or how about fresh Ice Cream Sandwiches made with strawberry-rhubarb ice cream, lemon shortbread cookie, and toasted marshmallows.
Pair your meal with or end the night with a wonderful selection from the bar. The Bourbon Master even hosts special tastings, classes and events throughout the year. The restaurant even offers a full breakfast menu 7 days a week with highlights such as an Egg White Frittata with zucchini, tomato, spinach and goat cheese or Blueberry Sour Cream Pancakes.
Whether breakfast, lunch, dinner, or drinks- don’t hesitate, make your reservations for Bank & Bourbon now on Opentable to try this incredible menu!
We would like to thank Jaimi and Chef Harkins for inviting to Bank & Bourbon to experience their incredible Summer menu.