At the Study hotel, 20 S. 33rd St.; 215-398-1874; thestudyatuniversitycity.com
With sleek glass walls folded up for al fresco dining and an airy dining room outfitted in woody Nordic chic, this ambitious corner restaurant-bar in West Philly's new Study boutique hotel gives University City a handsome all-purpose destination for a stylish New American meal. A talented young chef has been hired to guide the menu. Unfortunately, execution of both food and service has gotten off to a rough start. But the positive trajectory of my meals had enough improvement to give real hope that CO-OP could step up to a more recommendable rating by year's end.
MENU HIGHLIGHTS Fried shishito peppers; Birchrun Hill cheeses and 1732 meats; warm potato bread; popcorn; heirloom tomatoes with vinegar sorbet; shrimp toast; mac-'n'-cheese with BBQ short ribs; stinging nettle gnocchi; duck roulade with dirty rice; burger; mahimahi (or skate) with couscous and soubise; house ice cream.
DRINKS A well-rounded program features a long list of craft cocktails, though few impressed with craftsmanship. The wine list, however, has a sizable international selection of intriguing choices, including many by the glass, including an Austrian Gmork grüner-veltliner, a white blend from South Africa's Secateur, several rosés, and a solid tempranillo from Rioja's Siglo Saco. Markups, though, are not great.
WEEKEND NOISE The spacious room was rarely busy, and so, at 82 decibels, made for easy conversation. (Ideal is 75 decibels or less.)
IF YOU GO Breakfast daily, 7-11 a.m. Lunch Monday through Friday, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Brunch Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Dinner nightly 5:30-10 p.m. Limited menu available nightly until midnight.
Dinner entrees, $16-$28.
All major cards.
Valet parking for restaurant at hotel costs $10.