Best of the Main Line & Western Suburbs 2009

Our readers and critics pick their favorites.




(page 6 of 21)

Food & Drink (Critics)


Raw Bar: Creed’s Seafood & Steaks

Creed’s clubby atmosphere and reputation for great steaks make it a stalwart in King of Prussia—but don’t miss the salty delights of the raw bar, which boasts fresh oysters and clams shipped in from esteemed hot spots like Rhode Island, British Columbia and Washington State. The briny delights are served without the typical heavy, red cocktail sauce, replaced with light-but-spicy red pepper and lemon mignonette. 499 N. Gulph Road, King of Prussia, (610) 265-2550, creedskop.com

Reason to Go to Limerick: Craft Ale House
Another great place to foster your lust for hops and barley, Craft Ale House serves an eclectic mix of macro- and microbrews on tap. The list includes Old Rasputin Impy Stout, Twin Lakes Pale Ale, Stoudt’s Double IPA and Founders Centennial IPA, and several local Belgian and darker brews, along with rarities like Pliny the Elder. The tap puts out about 16 different beers, and regulars rave about the melt-in-your-mouth burgers and homemade seasoned fries. 708 W. Ridge Pike, Limerick, (484) 943-8180, craftalehouse.com

Reason to Go to Royersford: Sly Fox Brewery
There’s not much to complain about at Sly Fox Brewing, other than the fact that both locations are just far enough from the Main Line to make sampling more than a couple of their signature brews not such a good idea. We’re a long way from December, but the Christmas Ale is yummy, as is the bold and spicy Route 113 Pale Ale and the smoky Rauchbier (which took home a gold medal at the 2008 Great American Beer Festival in Denver). 312 N. Lewis Road, Royersford, (610) 948-8088, slyfoxbeer.com

Reason to Go to Wilmington: Domaine Hudson
Grazing means casually sampling—and that’s just what Tom Hudson wants customers to do at Domaine Hudson Wine Bar & Eatery. Hudson’s creative small plates and seemingly endless variety of small wine pours allow diners to cover an awful lot of ground in one sitting. 1314 N. Washington St., Wilmington, Del., (302) 655-9463

Reason to Love Summer: Capri Homemade Italian Water Ice

Nothing says summer better than convening with fellow Main Liners outside this petite water ice shop—a tradition that starts as soon as we turn back the clocks and reclaim an extra hour of daylight. Served up in simple, clear plastic cups, with big scoops, Capri’s tantalizing flavors refresh and reenergize. 238 E. Lancaster Ave., Wayne, (610) 386-1999

Restaurant: Talula’s Table
You still have to wait a year for a chance to try chef Bryan Sikora’s swoon-worthy creations, but stop in early enough on a Sunday afternoon and you might just be rewarded with a delectable cheese board. The tantalizing prepared-foods menu changes daily, but count on a variety of handmade pastas, locally grown and inspired cold veggie soups, and naturally raised meats—perfect for grilling—along with a growing selection of artisan cheeses. 102 W. State St., Kennett Square, (610) 444-8255, talulastable.com

The New Bar at Limoncello Ristorante (Photo by Carlos Alejandro)Restaurant Addition: The New Bar at Limoncello Ristorante
Limoncello’s tasty Southern Italian cuisine, generous $9.95 lunch buffet, and gracious service are enough to draw a steady stream of hungry customers day and night. That said, the new bar area has provided additional energy, space and convenience—not to mention killer martinis—to this already-bustling eatery. 9 N. Walnut St., West Chester, (610) 436-6230, limoncellowc.com

Restaurant Re-Concept: Cooper’s Brick Oven Wine Bar
At Cooper’s, you can steal menu items from the more formal Jake’s right next door, which makes for a well-rounded, casual yet sophisticated dining experience. Be sure to try one of their sizable martinis or a glass of wine (most priced under $10). And the brown-bag potato chips—thin, crispy, light on oil, and seasoned with malt vinegar powder—are so worth the calories. 4367 Main St., Philadelphia, (215) 483-2750, jakesrestaurant.com

Revival of Main Line Nightlife: The Paddock at Devon
Finally, a new place to go on the Main Line for an over-30 crowd looking for sophisticated—but far from stodgy—fun after 10 p.m. Granted, weekends can get a little crazy at this Lancaster Avenue restaurant and nightclub, with a packed dancefloor grooving to the sounds of a DJ Friday night and live bands Saturday. Weekdays feature happy hour specials until 7 p.m.—and the food’s pretty darn good, too. 629 W. Lancaster Ave., Wayne, (610) 687-3533, devonpaddock.com

Salads to Go: DiFabio’s 9th Street Catering

No skimpy greens here. The portions are generous and just begging to be topped with pieces of DiFabio’s famed pistachio chicken tenders or grilled chicken. A highlight is the Caprese—a mix of spring greens, fresh mozzarella, plum tomatoes, basil, roasted peppers and red onions drizzled with housemade balsamic dressing. 700 W. Haverford Road, Bryn Mawr, (610) 520-7300; 1032 N. Providence Road, Media, (484) 444-0850; d9catering.com

Scones: Special Teas Tea Room
This Chadds Ford treasure’s buttery handmade scones are heavy enough to stand alone, yet still light enough to be enjoyed with other afternoon-tea fare. The tasty raisin or plain pastry version sings when spread with lip-smacking lemon curd, whipped butter or Devonshire cream. Or for dessert, savor the chocolate chip toffee, cranberry white chip or wild blueberry-raspberry scones. Olde Ridge Village Shoppes, Suite 37, 100 Ridge Road, Chadds Ford, (610) 358-2320, specialteastearoom.com

Seasonal Fruits and Veggies: Oakmont Farmers Market

You won’t be able to resist Oakmont’s glorious assault on the senses—purple, green, yellow and orange cauliflower; lush strawberries, peaches and tomatoes; farm-fresh flowers; and unusual specialties like hormone- and antibiotic-free pastured bison. And you never know when one of the area’s hottest chefs will be shopping right alongside you. Oakmont Municipal Parking Lot, 2419 W. Darby Road, Havertown, oakmontfarmersmarket.org

Server: Beth Wexler at Teresa’s Next Door
You might recognize the affable Ms. Wexler from John Harvard’s, where she first made her foray into the world of brewpubs. Since joining the team at Teresa’s Next Door, her enthusiasm and knowledge for all things hops and barley has taken off. Even if you don’t know what you’re in the mood for, she does. Her method of study is simple: Take the beers home, pair them with food, and figure out how to drink them. 126 N. Wayne Ave., Wayne, (610) 293-0119, teresas-cafe.com

Short Ribs: Blue Pear Bistro

Chester County hasn’t been the same since Blue Pear chef David Fogelman started dishing out Southern comfort in the form of smoky, tender beef short ribs, grilled for intense caramelization and braised in a thinned-down barbecue sauce—a covert-ops concoction of poblano and jalapeno peppers, garlic, ketchup, chili powder, mustard, and onions. 275 Brintons Bridge Road, West Chester, (610) 399-9812, bluepearbistro.com

Sliders: Newtown Grill

Chef Mike Rigney re-imagines the bite-size burger, endowing its natural juiciness with a touch of class by laying on bacon, cheese, salsa rosa and pickles. Down the hatch! 191 S. Newtown Street Road, Newtown Square, (610) 356-9700, italiansteakhouse.com

Small-Plate Menu: Riverstone Café
With its emphasis on pizzas, flatbreads, sandwiches and the raw bar, Riverstone Café doesn’t seem like your typical tapas eatery. But it’s with the small-plate menu that the kitchen shines. Selections jump from south of the border to Italy to Japan, and from land to sea and back again. Whiteland Town Center, 143 W. Lincoln Highway, Exton, (610) 594-2233, riverstonecafe.com

Savona's Melissa Monasoff (Photo by Heidi Reuter)Soft Pretzel: Philly Pretzel Factory
This is the pretzel that Philly is known for—soft, chewy and (if you time it right) hot from the oven. Once you’ve had one of these babies from the Philly Pretzel Factory, you’ll never be tempted by the street variety again. Various locations, phillysoftpretzelfactory.com

Sommelier: Melissa Monasoff at Savona
Since joining the team last fall after a brief stint at Maia, Monosoff has enhanced Savona’s highly lauded wine list with expanded by-the-glass offerings and an interesting array of 100 wines for under $100. On Friday evenings, you can pick Monosoff’s brain while exploring a selection of three whites and three reds from around the world (5:30 p.m., $25). 100 Old Gulph Road, Gulph Mills, (610) 520-1200, savonarestaurant.com
 


Soups: Zoup!

The rotating Zoup! menu has zest and zip, but it’s also hearty and heart-healthy. Low-fat, dairy-free and vegetarian “zoups” include French onion, beef barley, chicken potpie, Jamaican bay gumbo, tomato basil, split pea, spicy black bean chili, and more. A fresh French, multigrain or ciabatta roll is automatic, but soup-sippers can also opt for a sourdough boule. 235 Lancaster Ave., Suite E-3, Frazer, (610) 408-0303; 509 Wilmington Pike, Glen Mills, (610) 459-4568; zoup.com

Sticky Buns: Jacquette’s Bakery

Nuts or raisins? We went with both from Jacquette’s—and we weren’t disappointed. Firm and chewy, not too sweet, and dripping of gooey goodness, these sticky buns had at least one Main Line Today skeptic reconsidering his loyalty to the Jersey Shore’s famed Mallon’s enterprise. But does he dare bring along a box to Avalon this weekend? In a word: yum. 2076 Sproul Road, Broomall, (610) 353-2550

Strombolis: Berwyn Pizza

Any ’boli connoisseur will tell you that it’s all about the shell—and there’s nothing worse than a mouthful of dough. Berwyn Pizza’s is thin, flaky and baked to perfection, with just enough elasticity to hold the ample fillings. We love the Italian, with ham, salami, capicola, sauce and three cheeses. Or go even heartier with the Berwyn Special’s ample layers of ham, salami, capicola, pepperoni, mushrooms, onions, sweet peppers, sauce and cheese. 1026 Lancaster Ave., Berwyn, (610) 647-6339, berwynpizza.net
 

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