The restaurant's name is Beefsteak - and the only "beef" on the menu is a beefsteak tomato.
The vegetable-focused, quick-serve eatery - open Tuesday, June 7 inside Houston Hall at the University of Pennsylvania (3417 Spruce St.) - is the idea of José Andrés, the Spanish-born, D.C.-based chef behind such trendsetting spots as minibar, Zaytinya, and Jaleo (and the guy credited with spreading the small-plates concept to American menus).
This is the second celeb-chef eatery to open on campus in two years, following the arrival of Tortas Frontera, the Mexican fast-casual fronted by chef Rick Bayless. Though located in Penn-owned buildings, both restaurants are open to the public.
Beefsteak, which opened its first location in spring 2015 at George Washington University in Washington, specializes in create-your-own bowls focused on vegetables.
The combinations are based on flash-prepared vegetables, grains (quinoa, rice, or bulgur), sauces (cilantro, spicy tomato or garlic yogurt), and toppings (such as radishes, romaine lettuce, crispy chickpeas, mozzarella, kimchi, and cherry tomatoes). Salt-cured salmon (obtained locally from Samuels & Son), roast chicken, and poached egg are also offered.
Sample bowl: the Kimchi-wa, made with rice, corn, carrot, cabbage, edamame, bok choy, roasted garlic yogurt sauce, and topped with scallions, toasted sesame seeds, corn nuts, kimchi, and soy ginger dressing
The Beefsteak Burger is 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.
Vegetable bowls range from $7.49 to $8.49, the specialty sandwich is priced at $4.99, and house-made juices range from $1.99 to $3.50.
The menu also includes seasonal items such as sandwiches and salads and house-made juices and sodas. Andres' D.C.-based ThinkFoodGroup is working with university food-services provider Bon Appétit Management Company.