Things come in threes, including new hotel restaurants.
Ruth's Chris Steak House opened two weeks ago in the Sonesta at 18th and Market Streets, and the New York Italian import Scarpetta is up for this summer in the old Smith & Wollensky space at the Rittenhouse Hotel.
June 23 is the official opening of Aqimero, a "coastal Latin" from globetrotting chef Richard Sandoval, in the Ritz-Carlton at 10 S. Broad St. (215-523-8200). It's been open for more than a week to iron out any issues.
Aqimero - which Sandoval describes as an idiom for "right here, right now" - rings out the era of 10 Arts, which opened under the grand dome in 2008, backed by chef Eric Ripert and Philly-raised chef Jennifer Carroll (who is doing very well for herself these days in the D.C. suburbs).
Aqimero's menu focuses on sustainable seafood, steaks, ribs, and poultry. Many dishes are prepared on a wood-fired grill behind a glass wall at the end of the dining room. There also is a sushi and ceviche bar, and raw-bar dishes.
As it's located in a hotel, Aqimero serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as during late night. And befitting the genre, it's not for the faint of wallet; most dinner entrees are in the $30s and $40s.
Menus and drink lists are here.
LW Design of Dubai, which brought in Center City's Coscia Moos Architecture as the local architect of record, let the grand lobby speak for itself. It remains the lounge.
Gone are the garish, colorful light blocks and red drapery. Most important, designers eliminated a hideous wine tower from the middle of the lounge. The tower effectively hid an oculus on the floor, 142 feet beneath the main oculus at the top of the dome. Girard tellers used to pull money from the old vault below through this floor. (The ballroom is downstairs nowadays.) Now, there's bar seating around the oculus.
The bar has been pulled out from the rear wall, providing a semiprivate seating area. The dining room is where it was before, along the Chestnut Street windows.
Why Philadelphia? "We have a big presence in New York and D.C. and I'm familiar with Stephen Starr and Jose Garces," said Sandoval, who replied "United Airlines" to a query about his home base (which is the Denver area). "Philadelphia is an evolving food city with tremendous growth, like Denver."