Philly’s gold standard of posh hotel dining room may now be our last bastion of classic dining luxury, but it’s still shining under the watch of recently promoted chef William DiStefano to lead the Fountain’s kitchen. DiStefano has lightened-up some of the sauces, with a knack for exotic spices and contemporary ideas that lend international intrigue to the elaborate and inventive plates, now served only in three- or six-course tastings. Paired with some of the smoothest, most seasoned service in town, the Four Seasons still delivers a taste of special-occasion opulence that is increasingly rare.
Veal brisket ravioli; oat-crusted arctic char; duck with duck “scrapple”; rabbit tenderloin; frog legs fricassee; steamed halibut; lobster “paella”; Moroccan-spiced grouper; venison with chestnut bread pudding; Meyer lemon basil tart; apple sticky toffee pudding; cheese trolley. Tasting menus: $80 for three courses; $120 for six courses. No a la carte.
One of the city's major cellars features 400 labels, with a focus on prestige French regions, but also a wide international range, with slightly lower markups than in the past and a 60-bottle list under $60. Superb sommelier advice led us to interesting, esoteric bottles at accessible prices, including an Alquezar Moristel Somontano from Spain ($38) and a fabulous Rhone-style white from Stolpman in California, L'Avion ($70).
Lunch Monday through Saturday, 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Dinner Tuesday through Saturday, 6-10 p.m. Breakfast Monday through Friday, 6-11 a.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 7-11 a.m.