Chef Luke Palladino, who has a solid following and critical acclaim for his joints at the Jersey shore, has set a Dec. 18 debut for the premiere of his East Passyunk Italian steak/seafooder. (Update: It soft-opened Dec. 15.)

And a handsome one it is, at 1934 E. Passyunk Ave. (267-928-4339): sexy banquette seating (beneath padded walls) and intimate black lacquer table seating as well as a roomy, 12-seat bar (with 18 seated at high-tops) that looks into an open kitchen. Designer Scott Eccard opted for a muted color palate, exposed ductwork, and a warm orange ceiling. Palladino's collection of original Fornasetti plates hangs vertically on one wall. He stocked the kitchen not only with a wood-fired grill but a focaccia oven from Recco, Italy.

You can pretty much tailor a dining experience to your budget. Pastas are mainly $19 to $24, while meats start in the mid-$20s and head north.

Palladino's takes over the long-vacant Columbo's where East Passyunk makes that sharp turn at Juniper Street. Parking? Valet is $12. Palladino has cut a deal wth Uber, too.

The Avenue has its share of Italian restaurants (the posh Le Virtu across the street, Paradiso and Brigantessa  farther up the street), and the red-gravy Marra's. Despite all the other destinations, such as Fond, Townsend, Noord, Will, and Laurel, the strip lacks a steak house. Passyunk Avenue Revitalization Corp. and its head Sam Sherman knew Palladino was looking; in fact, Palladino had a deal for a restaurant on the table five years ago on 12th Street in Midtown Village, where Pennsylvania 6 is now.

At opening, Palladino's will serve dinner and late night (kitchen serving till 1 a.m.). Lunch and brunch are planned, as is outdoor seating in season beneath a stained mahogany veranda and surround-sound system.

The bar's 50-ish-bottle wine list is mostly Italian (he visited Venice recently and brought back a number of selections). It and is supplemented by four beers on drafts (Peroni, Miller Lite and, for now, Italiano Birrificio Amber Shock and Nora Italian Ale), plus cocktails, spirits and cordials.

Palladino, who made the scene 2003 with two restaurants at the Borgata in Atlantic City, now owns Luke Palladino Seasonal Italian in Linwood, LP STEAK in Northfield, and a catering arm in Linwood.

Menu follows:

PALLADINO'S DINNER MENU

ANTIPASTI

Salumi One ~ 9 Three ~ 13 Five ~ 19

finocchiona, prosciutto rotondo, mortadella, soppressata, gnoccho fritto, Tuscan Butter,

Formaggi One ~ 7 Three ~ 13 Five ~ 18

chef's artisan cheese selection

Truffled Grissini Four Piece ~12 Six Piece ~18

house made bread sticks brushed with white truffle butter, grated parmigiano & wrapped in prosciutto

COLD

Assorted Olives ~ 7

marinated with citrus & fennel

Peppers with Bagna cauda ~9

caciocavallo

HOT

Caciocavallo Scaloppine ~11

Sicilian cow's milk cheese sautéed with toasted garlic, mint & Sambuca

Mushroom Crespelle ~13

baked Taleggio cheese & wild mushroom crepe, local arugula,15 year aged balsamico

Black Truffle-Foie Gras Sformato ~12

roasted mushrooms, balsamico zabaglione

Roasted Duck Sausage & Grapes ~ 12

rosemary, sage, balsamic vinegar, goat cheese polenta

FRITTI

Calamari ~12

cherry pepper aioli

Stecchini Genovese – ~12

crisp skewer of sweetbreads, mushrooms, creste di gallo, veal & truffle polpette, mortadella, trugole cheese, mostarda aioli

Cauliflower & Zucca ~10

lemon tempura batter, pecorino cheese parsley & red pepper flakes

Truffle Arancini ~11

crisp risotto fritters filled with truffled sottocenere cheese & scallions

FOCACCIA

Focaccia Di Recco ~14

stracchino cheese, extra virgin olive oil

ZUPPA & INSALATA

Zuppa di Ceci ~9

chick peas, smoked pancetta, chilies, Tuscan oil

Grilled Radicchio Tardivo & Escarole ~10

mostarda vinaigrette, candied pecans, verde capra crostone

Tuscan Kale ~10

warm goat cheese, pistachio, shaved red cabbage, saba vinaigrette

HAND CRAFTED PASTAS

Tortelli Di Zucca ~24

butternut squash ravioli, sage brown butter & parmigiano reggiano

Casonsei ~21

candy wrapper pasta filled with roasted beets, smoked ricotta, crushed poppy seed burro fuso

Porcini Pappardelle ~25

oxtail ragu, horseradish, sunchoke & pine nut gremolata

Gnocchi ~21

Chef's Daily Preparation

Creste di Gallo, ~19

sugo di creste di gallo, chicken liver, sweetbread & mushroom ragu, shaved Parmigiano

Spaghetti alle vongole ~20

sautéed clams with garlic parsley, basil & tomatoes

Conchiglie con Pate di Polpo, ~19

octopus, garlic, capers, parsley

FROM THE WOOD GRILL

Bistecca alla Fiorentina (for two)(32oz.)~75

8oz. Kobe Rib Cap ~48

Daily Butcher's Cut MP

Signature Sauces (choose 1)

salsa verde antica

cabernet mustard

gorgonzola soubise

black garlic-porcini butter

Pollo Affinocchiato ~24

Cornish hen stuffed with pancetta and sage, garlic crostone, salsa peverada

16oz. Veal Chop ~38

all natural Dunedin veal, wild mushroom - prosciutto & sage crema

Daily Fish ~28

dried heirloom tomatoes, pickled sunchokes, basil, walnuts, peperoncino, taggiasca olives

Grilled Fish Spiedino ~26

skewered with, bay leaves, cipollini onions, salmoriglio sauce, grilled lemon

BRAISES AND ROASTS

Pork Osso Bucco ~28

rosemary citrus glaze, pickled mustard seeds, kale, walnut & farro risotto

Beef Cheeks ~26

red wine-saba glaze, horseradish gremolata, mashed root vegetables

Whole Roasted Fish ~ 34

in "crazy water" with Ligurian olives, grape tomatoes, fingerling potatoes, Calabrese chilies, garlic, parsley, marjoram

SIDES ~7

crisp crushed fingerling potatoes with rosemary

potato gateau, prosciutto, mortadella & cheese gratinato

parmigiana polenta

fagioli alla cacciatore, white beans with garlic, sage & tomato

Tuscan kale alla parmigiana

crisp brussels sprouts, sage, aged balsamico

roasted cauliflower, garlic, chilies & parsley

Consuming raw or undercooked eggs, beef, lamb, milk products, pork, poultry, seafood or shellfish may increase your chances of foodborne illness

PALLADINO's DOLCE

Gelato al Gorgonzola ~10

passitio wine, sage-walnut cracker

Zuccotto ~ 10

orange-scented vanilla sponge cake filled with ricotta-pastry cream, candied orange-mascarpone-chocolate

Tartufo ~10

vanilla and Nutella gelato filled with maraschino cherries and hazelnuts, Valrhona chocolate ganache

Affogato ~ 10

vanilla gelato smothered in frozen limoncello, hot espresso, crumbled amaretti cookies, whipped cream

Italian Cookies ~8

Hazenut torrone, chocolate biscotti "doppio", pistachio, chocolate salami, moscato zabaglione

Luke's Cannoli ~ 9

ricotta, cinnamon, candied orange, pistachios, chocolate

Apple Strudel ~ 9

brown sugar-apple-walnut strudel with caramel sauce & vanilla gelato