By Katie Kohler
J. Alexander’s first Pennsylvania location is in a prime spot. It is on the boulevard across the street from the King of Prussia Mall, which is the largest shopping mall on the East Coast and welcomes 25 million visitors annually. It is also in front of the shuttered Joe’s Crab Shack and next to the highly regarded Capital Grille, which shows that success by proximity isn’t guaranteed and competition is fierce.
The restaurant opened in April, and its owners believe it will be a welcome addition to the area’s dining scene as it focuses on providing high-quality food, outstanding professional service and an attractive ambiance.
“Guests in King of Prussia will dine in a restaurant characterized by a distinctive architecture and ambiance,” said President and Chief Executive Officer Lonnie J. Stout II. “In creating this ambiance, we are using European stemware for all of our wine service, high-quality plate ware, roomy seating packages, furniture-grade tabletops, commissioned artwork, and a high level of detail finishes in all areas of the restaurant.”
Seated on a comfortable bar stool, guests will notice that the restaurant minds every detail, including the ice cubes, which are large and clear. There are two separate ice machines, one of which produces larger cubes that are used for cocktails and bar guests.
“They last longer and they melt differently,” pointed out general manager Steve Borriello, a Penn State University graduate and King of Prussia resident.
Borriello might hail from Doylestown, but it is evident he has been schooled in the southern-charm of J. Alexander’s Nashville’s roots. He answers with “yes or no ma’am” while maintaining the hospitable, never stuffy air that permeates J. Alexander’s.
The menu features a wide selection of made-from-scratch American classics – hand-cut steaks, prime rib of beef, fresh seafood and sushi, along with a large assortment of interesting salads, sandwiches and homemade desserts. There is also a rotating selection of unique features, examples of which include Seafood Czarina, Tuscan Steak, Fresh Grilled Fish with Mango Papaya Salsa and Chicken Milanese. There is also a full-service bar with cocktails and a wide selection of award-winning wines by the glass and bottle.
The menu begins with deviled eggs, spinach con queso, and calamari, which shows J. Alexander’s desire, as Borriello says, to cater to everyone and touch every flavor palette.
Borriello’s menu favorite’s include baby back ribs, which are slow roasted in an Alto-Shaam oven, finished on a hardwood grill, then covered in Plum Creek BBQ sauce.
“The meat falls off the bone,” Borriello said
He also touted the prime rib, carrot cake, and the avocado bomb (ahi tuna and crab in a cappuccino cup lined with avocado served with warm tortilla chips), which is one of his best sellers.
“People will be interested when they come try us,” he said. “Being located near three hotels is great for us. We’ve developed relationships with them and are getting our name out in community. We are going to offer something that isn’t as necessarily as fine dining as the Capital Grille, but the food quality will be as good as Capital Grille and they won’t have to pay top dollar. The quality of the service, food and price point is something that is unique to us.”