Rittenhouse Tavern, the gastropub-y effort from Restaurant Associates that recently opened in the space that formerly housed Gardenia (and a host of other restaurants) inside the Art Alliance, is now serving lunch. Former Le Bec-Fin chef, Nick Elmi, and R.A.’s Senior Vice President of Food and Beverage, Ed Brown, have developed a menu of sandwiches, salads and small plates for daytime diners. There’s a LaFrieda burger (naturally) that’s served on a house-baked Yard’s ESA-spiked bun; a branzino dish prepared a la plancha with patty pan squash, and a lemon-mint vinaigrette; and a steak tartare with baby potato chips, bocarone, and herb oil. But what caught our eye was something that we suspect will be a little controversial in a city obsessed with its sandwiches. It’s something the restaurant is calling a “softfshell crab grinder.”
While it seems perfectly palatable with its layers of softshell crab, remoulade, cabbage and pickled pole beans, and we have no doubt that Rittenhouse Tavern’s culinary crew is capable of delivering it and the other newly launched lunch items without any faults, it breaks a cardinal rule for serving sandwiches here. Like subs and heroes, here in Hoagietown things dubbed grinders get very little love. It's kind of like trying to scare up support for the Dallas Cowboys in the parking lot at an Eagles game.
Check out the rest of Rittenhouse Tavern’s lunch menu here.