A few years ago, Mark Bucher and his partners at D.C.'s Medium Rare steakhouse were being lobbied hard by the developers of the Revel casino in Atlantic City.
But because Bucher grew up in Philly, he insisted to his partners that they swing through Philly on their way to Atlantic City.
"We never got there," Bucher told me about A.C.
Instead, the partners began location-hunting in Center City, which had the energy they sought. (Also helping matters was the dramatic turnaround that Center City has had since Bucher went off to American University in 1986.)
They're opening a 90-seat Medium Rare in The Sansom, the apartment building being erected in the 1600 block of Sansom Street. The restaurant entrance will be across from Federal Donuts. The deal was first reported by Foobooz.
Before you scream, "Another steakhouse!" keep in mind that Medium Rare - in D.C.'s Cleveland Park - is not one of those lush, brass-rail affairs with $60 steaks and a triple-digit wine list.
It's a neighborhood place with such whimsical touches as French lessons in the restrooms. Designer is Richard Stokes, who did Parc for Stephen Starr and also is designing Starr's Le Diplomate coming to D.C.
Medium Rare runs a simple menu: a steak frite dinner for $19.50, with bread, salad, and free seconds. (There's a grilled portabella mushrooms as the vegetarian option.) Four beers, four red wines, four whites, four sparkling - all paired with the steak, topped with a "secret sauce." There's a Sunday brunch with a regular, brunch-type menu, as well. Bucher says they're considering Saturday brunch and Friday lunch, as well here.
Bucher says he expects to get the keys in July and open by September.