The busy 13th Street corridor in the Gayborhood is known for hip food and visually interesting restaurants. But newbie Alpen Rose features the kind of menu usually found closer to Rittenhouse Square.
This latest creation by celebrity chef and restaurateur Michael Schulson is a classic high-end steakhouse, complete with library-like décor and a vibe that makes you feel as if you need a secret knock and code word to gain access.
Among its bookshelves and chandeliers, the cozy space hosts decadent fare executed and presented with exacting detail.
The tuna carpaccio ($16) is simple and effective, with lemon juice and capers giving the thinly sliced fish room to show off. The avocado salad ($13) is surprisingly complex, with the warm, roasted avocado providing a textural counterpoint to the cool, crisp frisee and spicy dressing that pulls everything together.
The deeper you get into the menu, the more decadent the offerings. The prawns ($17) are massive and come with a shot of strong sherry for dunking. The bone-marrow toast ($16) is piled deep with red-wine-marinated shredded beef cheeks, providing a tasty vessel for the steaming marrow straight off the bone.
The hearty and comforting stuffed lobster ($39) — a hollowed-out shell filled with an alluring mix of lobster meat, shrimp, breadcrumbs and herbs — feels like Thanksgiving in Maine.
Yet, at its heart, Alpen Rose is the quintessential steakhouse.
The dry-aged porterhouse ($92), still sizzling, arrives tableside via a mobile carving station, where it’s sliced before it hits the table — effectively intimidating everyone who was starting to feel full five minutes earlier. On our visit, the steak proved impeccable, grilled to perfection with just enough seasoning.
The a-la-carte sides of mashed potatoes ($9) — whipped to luxurious consistency — and the boldly flavorful creamed spinach ($9) are the ideal complements to the star of the plate.
The dessert options complete the menu’s classic charm. The strawberry rhubarb pie ($9) nails Southern sweetness, served warm with a healthy scoop of vanilla ice cream. The banana cream pie ($9) is just sweet enough to allow the fresh fruit’s flavor to shine beyond the layers of cream and crust.
Alpen Rose is sure to stand out in Midtown Village for its attention to detail and top-shelf offerings. Bring your most carnivorous appetite.