First things first: Kudos to Keystone and Concord Hospitality for coming together to preserve and repurpose the 1874 Washington Fire Company station, original brass fireman’s pole and all. Attached to Hilton’s Hotel West & Main, Hook and Ladder Sky Bar & Kitchen is a high-end addition to Conshohocken’s evolving culinary scene. Located on the second floor, it offers a polished blend of vintage ceilings and moldings, lofty archways, exposed brick and dramatic lighting. Oversized windows flood the dining areas with natural light and provide enticing glimpses of the courtyard below. Mirroring its interior counterpart, the outdoor Sky Bar is a sleek warm-weather lounge with great views and live music.
Zack Wannawong, Hook and Ladder’s executive chef, is a former Garces Group chef at the Olde Bar in Center City’s Bookbinder’s Building. His menu features steak, seafood and sushi. The certified Angus beef is dry-aged 32 days to make it more tender. “There are only a handful of places locally that are offering this quality of meat,” says Wannawong. “We’re excited to bring that to Conshohocken.”
Standout starters include homemade chips and caviar, Wagyu beef carpaccio and pan-seared foie gras. Or snatch a lobster or king salmon filet from the grill. Béarnaise, au poivre vert and bordelaise sauces are complimentary. Enhancements like bacon and blue cheese, classic Oscar topping and truffle butter are an additional charge.
On our visit, the salmon with smoked Gouda cream was a solid enough selection. Though savory, the lobster bisque (with crispy leeks) had but a single chunk of the tender shellfish. With sea urchin, nori, ginger, wasabi, soy, sushi rice and fresh truffle, the Uni Sushi was a highlight (even if chopsticks were scarce), and an eight-ounce filet mignon was done to perfection at medium rare. Still, I can’t imagine spending $99 on the signature Fireman Burger, even if it is wrapped in gold leaf and topped with poached lobster tail. Extras like spinach, asparagus and truffle mashed potatoes were all well executed.
Cocktails lean toward the creative—especially the Downtown Heat, with Milagro Reposado blue agave tequila and Ancho Reyes Chile Liqueur. Served with a tiny scoop of vanilla ice cream, the pecan pie was more of a tart, but I guess it’s still a sharable dessert if you’re watching your waistline.
For many, Hook and Ladder’s overall price point makes it more of special-occasion place. For more casual dining, there’s 1874 Social, with a menu that includes poke bowls, soups, salads, sandwiches and brunch options. Artfully preserved and styled, the first-floor eatery should be serving guests on a more regular basis by press time.
HOOK AND LADDER SKY BAR & KITCHEN
46 Fayette St, 2nd Floor, Conshohocken, (484) 351-6133
ATMOSPHERE: Well-executed firehouse chic.
HOURS: 4–10 p.m. Wednesday–Friday, 5–10 p.m. Saturday-Sunday.
ATTIRE: Business casual.
EXTRAS: Killer rooftop views and live music in warmer months.
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