Eat Like an Insider: Chef Jennifer Grosskruger

Chef Jennifer Grosskuger is the new executive chef at Ocean Prime. | Provided

Popular high-end steak and seafood restaurant, Ocean Prime, has a new executive chef: Jennifer Grosskruger. The 26-year-old hails from Heidelberg, Germany but spent much of her childhood traveling, due to her father being in the service. Cooking was always a passion, however.

“I would often make meals for my busy family while growing up. It started out with simple fare and then quickly advanced,” she says.

Grosskruger’s mom applied to schools on her behalf without her knowing but when she got accepted to Le Cordon Bleu in Orlando, she decided to give it a go and fell in love with the industry’s intensity, energy and opportunity to interact with all kinds of people.

Having lived in Philadelphia for the past four years, Grosskruger sat down with us to chat about her favorite places to eat here, which include serve up everything from pho to cheesesteaks to oysters.

Best late-night meal?
I’m still missing Little Pete’s! Especially their eggs benedict. They broiled the top. It was addictive. I knew the weekend bouncer so he would let me in ahead of the line because he knew I was coming from work and I wasn’t drunk. I also love Monks (264 S. 16th St.) for mussels. I go there quite often after I wrap up here and love all five varieties.

Best meal under $10?
My go-to is Pho Saigon (1100 S. Christopher Columbus Blvd.) in Pennsport. It’s filling, delicious and just perfect. I love the pho with brisket.

Best hidden foodie gem?
I love The Head Nut in the Reading Terminal Market (51 N. 12th St.). They do a lot of loose spices, teas, coffees, candies. I get inspiration there because there are so many flavors and aromas.

Best place to dine alone?
I like Oyster House (1516 Sansom St.), one of our neighbors here up the block from Ocean Prime. I get a glass of brut cava and a dish of oysters. I particularly like the Salt Pond Oysters from Rhodes Island. 

Place you always take or recommend for out-of-towners?
When I have family or friends visiting Philly for the first time Jim’s Steaks on South Street (400 South St.).  You get to kill two birds with one stone. You get the South Street experience and the cheesesteak.

Go-to date spot?
Hands down, Royal Izakya (780 S. 2nd St.). I like their pork buns which are absolutely delicious.

Best place to catch up with friends?
We often go to Giorgio on Pine (1328 Pine St.). It’s fun, delicious and a lively atmosphere. It’s also BYO.

Most Instagrammable restaurant?
I have to say both Ocean Prime (124 S. 15th St.) or Morimoto (723 Chestnut St.). Ocean Prime is so dramatic and so is Morimoto. Both are luxury-oriented. At Ocean Prime, my favorite dish is ora king salmon with lobster and Parisian gnocchi. At Morimoto, I go for their 10-hour pork every time.

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