Since June 2016, University of Pennsylvania campus has been buzzing about Chef José Andrés’ veggie-centric fast casual restaurant, Beefsteak. This month, Beefsteak unleashes their new seasonal menu items! Inside Houston Hall, Beefsteak is accessible to University students, faculty and staff, as well as the public. The mission of the restaurant is to celebrate the unsung power of vegetables and brings them to the center of the plate in an unconventional way.
Walking into the downstairs of the building, you can tell a lot of thought was put inot the design of the space and making it feel bright and welcoming for diners. The space was designed by Barcelona-based Garcia-Capella Arquitectura, and accommodates 64 seats. This Beefsteak location also features signature spruce-colored flooring and tables (like the original in Washington, D.C. ), accented by vibrant blue and white ceramic tiles, and hanging light fixtures made of white vegetable crates. The walls are covered with drawings of the “vegetable universe”, created by award-winning Spanish artists Juan and Alejandro Mingarro and their design studio, Brosmind. Beefsteak debuted in spring 2015 in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood of Washington, DC. Two additional DC locations followed in Dupont Circle and Tenleytown.
The menu, developed by chef José Andrés and his Beefsteak culinary team, led by Executive Chef Pat Peterson, features hearty vegetable bowls, with countless options for customization. Diners may combine their flash-blanched vegetables with other mix-ins such as hearty grains and then top with house-made sauces, as well as other toppings.
There is also the option to choose leafy greens as the base and turn any veggie bowl into a refreshing salad. With over 20 vegetables to choose from and a variety of grains, leafy greens, sauces and toppings, the custom possibilities are endless. If you don’t want to create-your-own there are also a selection of bowls on the menu featuring the highlights of the vegetables in season. Beefsteak will work with local producers in PA, MD, and VA to source special and seasonal vegetables when possible.
The restaurant’s signature item is the beloved Beefsteak Burger (vegan) made with a thick slice of beefsteak tomato, pickled red onions, sprouts, eggless caper herb mayo, olive oil and sea salt, served on an olive oil brioche bun from Philly Bread Co. Starting in the Winter and continuing through Spring, beets are being highlighted in the Beet Burger! This sandwich features a thick sliced beet patty instead of the traditional beefsteak tomato and customers have been truly eating it up.
Beefsteak is now also bottling Classic Gazpacho which is served in store or available to-go. We love this cool drink for warm Spring and Summer days. Tahini in a Bottle is also available as a grab and go item. This salad is made with romaine, radicchio, asparagus, arugula, mushrooms, and topped with a cooked egg, toasted Seaweed in house-made Tahini Dressing.
Other new menu items include the Curried Treasure bowl with rice, broccoli, sugar snap peas, carrots, crispy peas and pea shoots by Little Wild Things Urban Farm. The unique and creamy green curry sauce is mild but packed with flavor which absolutely compliments the fresh vegetables. The new salads on the menu include Green Lightnin’ with romaine, watercress, avocado, radish, strawberries, sugar snap peas tossed in Avocado Herb Dressing . As well as the heartier, Lime After Lime which includes cilantro lime quinoa, romaine, spinach, arugula, roasted edamame, corn, cherry tomato, scallions, and za’atar sunflowers seeds tossed in Chili Lime Vinaigrette.
Most guests enjoy the option of making a custom bowl. For creating your own Beefsteak bowls, diners start by selecting farm-fresh vegetables (that serve as the anchor) including year-round staples and seasonal offerings. These vegetables are then flash-blanched to order (with a robotic arm for 90 seconds) and range from asparagus and cauliflower to snap peas, chard and sweet potatoes. They go through 2,000 lbs of vegetables per week!
Diners love to add a bold, house-made sauce (which are all vegan and gluten-free) like cilantro, spicy tomato, or garlic yogurt. There is unlimited fresh and crunchy accents for your bowl such as radishes, romaine lettuce, crispy chickpeas, homemade cucumber salad, marinated mozzarella with za’tar, kimchi and cherry tomatoes. Avocado is an extra charge. Dressings for salads include lemon honey, soy ginger, sherry vinegar or simply extra virgin olive oil. For omnivores there is also the option of a meatier topping such as salt-cured salmon, roast chicken, poached egg, or local chicken sausage with wine and fennel (our favorite!)
Finish your meal with a fresh house-made juice or soda. Penn students are also be able to use their dining plans at this location! Beefsteak offers nourishing meals you can feel good about. To fuel busy lifestyles and the growing desire to eat well, the affordable and accessible concept executes good food, fast. It’s America’s bounty in a bowl – all cooked to perfection in front of you.