The word “keen” is defined as “finely sharpened” and “characterized by distinctness of perception” – as well as “intense, as feeling or desire.”
So it’s probably no accident that Philadelphia’s most captivating new restaurant is named, well, Keen. It’s initial buzz goes all the way back to spring 2016, when it was announced that yet another eatery would be taking over the space – just off Rittenhouse Square – once occupied by the storied Astral Plane, which closed in 2007 after three decades of its beloved bohemian chic.
The bi-level space is now replete with art curiosities, mystically glowing chandeliers, a glass bar, rustic-but-surreal mirrors and handrails (echoing the shapes of nature, certainly), exposed industrial piping, and – our favorite – a vintage condom machine in the loo…which dispenses the restaurant’s own namesake brand.
Chef Antonella Biundo (how could she not be cool with that name?) serves up wonderfully clever takes on comfort food: riceballs with root vegetables and celery & sage pesto; “Pig Candy” bacon with maple syrup and a shot of Old Grandad; a spicy chicken sandwich with kale and pickled zucchini; an apple-cider brined pork chop; and (yum) pumpkin trifle with gingersnaps. Pair with seasonal tipples like the Autumn Margarita w/ pear and cinnamon, or the Winter Whirl w/ rye, applejack and maple syrup.
Plan to book a table at Keen and make a weekend of Philly this time of year, as the city has one of the most exquisite holiday markets / skating rinks in the Northeast, all situated around the majestic, 19th Century City Hall. Book into the nearby and distinctly stylish Le Meridien Philadelphia, one of our fave hotels in town.