By Cassie Hepler
Unlike almost every other chef, Luke Palladino has a sort of calm, zen-like quality to his presence and the way he speaks. It seems he could easily put out the most chaotic kitchen fires with one hand while managing two restaurants with the other. And that he does on a daily basis – plus a catering company.
The new addition to Philadelphia is his namesake Palladino’s on Passyunk and is all heart, complete with a wood fire oven, a slightly modern version of what you would see in Italy. Located on one of the newest booming spots, East Passyunk Avenue, it’s hard to miss the tall sign pointing toward the sky.
It’s the small details such as the ever-rotating blocks of artisan cheeses, the “LP” logo on the wine glasses (which if you hit the bottom of the “L” is the perfect pour), the soon-to-be newly crafted wrought iron skewers for the fish and friendly, engaging staff that makes a restaurant great.
It seems Luke has nailed these down after his Linwood, N.J. location and his catering company by offering fresh ingredients, handmade breads, pasta and food from his frequent trips to Italy.
But what really impresses is the food, which is not your typical Italian fare. Making the interesting out of the ordinary is his forte and he does it well. And much like other chefs and restaurants in the Passyunk area support each other, chefs from Paradiso were there enjoying some cocktails at the bar.
Luke mentioned having guest chefs occasionally as well to continue this camaraderie. He seems to understand that you certainly collect more flies with honey than vinegar.
And don’t worry if your wallet is still feeling a little light from the holiday season. Palladino’s is participating in restaurant week, Feb. 22-28 with a three course dinner for $35. To learn more, visit http://www.lukepalladino.com/Palladinos/home.html
Enjoy the photo story below and feel free to comment on your experiences at Palladino’s!