It’s a new year and time for a new chef to reign over the kitchen. If you’re looking for some great modern American cuisine and a progressive cocktail menu, head on over to Square 1682 at the corner of 17th and Sansom. The new year brings a new menu filled with signature plates designed by their new Executive Chef Robert “Bobby” Surdam.  This bar and restaurant was voted USA’s Best Hotel Bar by and USA Today Travel. The progressive cocktail and bar program is directed by Lead Bartender Daniel Kulisek.

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Chef Bobby Surdam has worked in restaurant kitchens, in virtually every job, since the age of 17. He’s held every post from prep cook to butcher to executive chef. Originally from the Washington D.C. area (Fairfax County, Virginia), The L’Academie de Cuisinegraduate fell in love with cooking early on. What he loves about the cooking is that no matter how many times you create a dish, there’s always a new variable to consider. Each dish is unique.

“I’m excited to back in Philadelphia and in the heart of the city,” Surdam said. “I look forward to being a part of the city’s culinary fabric and getting involved in the community here.”

Square 1682 is Philadelphia’s first Leed-certified restaurant with a strong commitment to ecologically responsible culinary practices and dedication to independent farmers, local purveyors, boutique ranches and sustainable fisheries. Not to mention they’ve got their own wine bottled from vineyards in California. We sampled the Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. You also cannot forget about the cocktail menu crafted by Daniel Kulisek. featuring the Punch Drunk Love cocktail made with Tito’s Vodka, Aperol, lemon, grapefruit, grenadine, and Brut. We also loved the balance of the Write That Down rye cocktail made with High West Double Rye.

If you’re like classic cocktails why not try the Moscow Mule with Absolute Vodka or the Vesper with Bluecoat Gin, Grey Goose, and Lillet Blanc15. To begin your meal with a selection from the smaller plates we’d highly recommend the Bacon Wrapped Dates with local goat cheese, piquillo peppers, and mustard vinaigrette, a delectable staple at Square 1682. With the perfect balance of salt and sweet, its not hard to see why these are one of the most popular menu items here. We also enjoyed the new menu addition Burrata on the menu with marinated eggplant, pine nuts, and hearth baked bread. If you’re feeling like indulging Chef Bobby has also added an IPA Braised Pork Cheek to the smaller plates.

Chef Bobby’s southern roots inspired his award winning dish, the Pork Shank with anson mill girts and fried brussels sprouts. This tender pork melts in your mouth after being slow cooked for hours and sits ontop of some of the creamiest grits we’ve ever tasted. Of course Square 1682 has only the best Verlasso Salmon, sourced ethically and accented with squid escabeche, sautéed fingerling potatoes and melted leeks. The Dayboat Scallops with rapini and house made fennel sausage are a great option for those looking for a dish prepared gluten-free. In fact almost every dish on the menu at Square 1682 can be prepared gluten free including the Braised Beef Short Rib, Lancaster Duck Breast, Amish Chicken, and Wild Mushroom Risotto. And if you’re more the meat and potatoes type of diner there is a 16 oz. Ribeye offered with fries, watercress, and whole roasted garlic.

If you save just enough room for dessert we’d recommend the Carrot Cake and Cheesecake which were both paired with some delicious homemade ice cream and perfectly satisfied our sweet tooth. Square 1682 offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Reservations can be easily made via OpenTable. Stop by January 22 – February 3rd to enjoy Center City’s Restaurant week were the restaurant will offer a 3 course lunch for $20 and dinner for $35 per person.


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