bells (Excellent)Jose Garces has transformed the lobby restaurant of the Cira Centre into his ode to great American ingredients, using wood accents and greenery to warm the contemporary chill of the former Rae, and unleashing talented chef-de-cuisine David Conn on a menu that ranges from Oregon truffles to Lancaster pumpkins, with whole heirloom animals in between. The space is still oddly situated, and portion freaks may gripe, but the kitchen's command of great American flavors (without falling into cliches) is already impressive and bound to grow. Train station dining is rarely so good.
The all-American theme applies here, too. The small craft-brew selection trends regional (Victory, Sly Fox, Brooklyn's Sixpoint). The list of 70 wines hits great names (Unti, Shafer, Orin Swift) without too many cliches, though the bottle list (almost entirely over $60 for reds) is priced for the lawyers upstairs. A solid by-the-glass list (Girard sauvignon blanc, Gruet sparkling, Banshee pinot noir) offers affordable options. The house cocktails - especially the coffee-d bourbon Empire Builder - are worthwhile.
A reasonable 78 decibels in the wide-open front rooms. (Ideal is 75 decibels or less.)
Lunch Monday through Friday, 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Dinner Monday through Saturday, 5-10 p.m. Bar menu Monday through Friday, 3-7 p.m.