Aug. 13th, 2009

The Fountain Restaurant, Philadelphia's Finest

Fine Dining: Located in the luxurious Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia, Fountain Restaurant has the distinction of being named the number one restaurant in the City of Brotherly Love by the Zagat Survey.

Diners can enjoy American cuisine with a subtle French influence as they gaze upon the stunning bronzes of the Alexander Stirling Calder's Swann Memorial Fountain, the restaurant's namesake.

As one of the few remaining formal restaurants in the country, where dinner jackets are still a requirement for dinner, Fountain Restaurant has long history of serving up elegant cuisine in an intimate setting, with well-spaced tables.

The Fountain Restaurant's attention to detail has earned it critical acclaim, as not only one of the best restaurants in Philadelphia, but in the country. It has been recognized by Gourmet, Bon Appétit and AAA for its outstanding food.

In the restaurant's 25-year old history, it has had only two executive chefs, so when long-time culinary maestro Martin Hamann departed to work at the Union League, there was some trepidation in the community. The fears proved to be unfounded as the 4-star hotel quickly replaced him with Rafael Gonzalez, previously executive chef of the Four Seasons Vancouver.

In the past, Gonzalez has worked at New York's famed restaurants Le Bernardin and Jean-Georges as well as Boulet Bakery. His new position in the elegant wood-paneled restaurants has met with much success, earning him rave reviews for staying true to the heritage of the restaurant's top tier food and service.

The chef has changed, but the Fountain Restaurant maintains much of its skilled staff, including night chef David Jansen, chef tournant William DiStefano, day chef Ralph Costobile, banquet chef Joe Drago, and pastry chef Eddy Hales as well as long-time servers Jim Miller and Vincent Russo.

While the menu is on the pricey side, it has dropped since the introduction of Gonzalez, including selections from the restaurant's well-stocked wine room, which has a reputation for being one of the finest collections in the city.

To bring together the delicate cuisine and fine wines, Fountain Restaurant offers a tasting menu with wine pairings, as well as the three-course "Meet the Chef at The Fountain."

New favorites on the menu include Gonzalez's riff on the classic Steak and Eggs. Under Gonzalez, the dish is reinvented as an elegant appetizer "Carpaccio of Aged Sirloin Beef with Tempura of Egg, Pont Neuf Potatoes and Frisée Lettuce." Gonzalez has also brought the new trend of luxury burgers to the appetizer menu with a venison and foie gras "burger." For dinner, there is a selection of both fish and meat dishes that are sure to please any foodie's palate.

The chef may be new, but the Fountain Restaurant seems to be functioning and moving forward in the best of taste, true to its lineage.

For JustLuxe Carly Zinderman
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