2014 Holiday Dining on Philadelphia’s Main Line

by artfuldiner on December 8, 2014

in Breaking News, Pennsylvania, Restaurant Event, Romantic, Special Celebrations, Wining and Dining

The holiday season is a particularly warm and wonderful time of the year. It is also traditionally a time to gather together with family and friends – both at home and within restaurant precincts. If you are contemplating dining out sometime during the upcoming holiday season, and are in search of a suitable restaurant setting, perhaps the suggestions noted below may be helpful. I believe that you will find the ambiance of these establishments as appetizing as the cuisine.

Birchrunville - Interior2BIRCHRUNVILLE STORE CAFE, 1403 Hollow Road, Birchrunville, Pennsylvania, (610) 827-9002 – Twelve wooden tables, lace trimmings, and a host of melting candles set the cozy stage (restrooms are located in the attached tiny post office next door)… but it is chef/proprietor Francis Trzeciak’s impeccable cuisine that continues to draw patrons over the meadow and through the woods into the wilds of rural Chester County.

Mr. Trzeciak’s credentials – including Philly’s Monte Carlo Living Room and Wayne’s Taquet – are impressive. His culinary offerings are innovative blends of French and Italian traditions; but not so over-the-top as to be intimidating. And the menu, which changes daily, is certain to appeal to a wide spectrum of appetites. As an added plus, all meat served in the restaurant is free-range and free of growth hormones, steroids, and antibiotics. Highlights include veal tenderloin involtini – veal pounded thin and stuffed with pancetta & fontina cheese, then rolled in panko breadcrumbs and pan sautéed – and a benchmark branzino (Mediterranean sea bass) finished with an extraordinarily subtle lemon beurre blanc.

Just be advised… dinner is served Wednesday through Saturday with only two seatings: 6:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Friday and Saturdays evening bookings must be made months in advance; Wednesday & Thursday reservations are somewhat easier to snare. The Birchrunville Store Café accepts cash or check only. NO CREDIT CARDS. The restaurant is also BYOB… and a superior vintage is certainly called for.


Creed's - InteriorCREED’S SEAFOOD & STEAKS, 499 North Gulph Road, King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, (610) 265-2550 – Creed’s, a perennial personal favorite, has remained remarkably consistent over the years – and the perfect venue for culinary and libationary holiday celebration. The festivities, of course, begin at the convivial bar/lounge with excellent designer martinis, as well as first-rate wine selections by the glass.

Preludes include plump & succulent mussels steamed in a flavorful dirty blonde ale broth embellished with house-smoked Andouille sausage, caramelized sweet onions, fresh tomatoes, and tri-colored peppers. And the tomato carpaccio is another appetizer that presses all the right buttons… ditto the extraordinary crabmeat cocktail.

Entrées present a plethoric variety of possibilities; and, as the restaurant’s name suggests, they are evenly divided between piscatorial and carnivorous pursuits, which, in turn, may be matched up with a number of first-rate sauces. In addition, there are also several chef’s specialties that change with the seasons. Among these latter, nothing quite tops the San Francisco-style cioppino, an incomparable combo of fresh fish, mussels, shrimp, calamari, scallops, clams, and Dungeness crab swimming in a tomato-white wine broth companioned by sourdough crostini.

Dinner at Creed’s can be (and usually is) an expensive proposition – and seems to get more expensive with each visit. Be that as it may, this is one restaurant that should remain at the very top of your dining agenda… as it delivers not only your money’s worth, but infinitely more.


Kimberton Inn - Interior ChristmasKIMBERTON INN, 2105 Kimberton Road, Kimberton, Pennsylvania, (610) 933-8148 – The stately building, originally constructed in 1796, charms patrons with its impeccably maintained rustic ambiance, cozy crackling fireplaces, and comfortably intimate bar/lounge.

The lovingly prepared and beautifully presented cuisine, however, that remains the center of attention. The international offerings, which occasionally exhibit retro overtones (I mean, when was the last time you saw calf’s liver on a menu?) are artistically innovative without being anachronistic; they beguile the palate without bewildering the eye.

The coconut shrimp with pineapple-mango salad, spiced rum syrup, and orange horseradish mustard makes a superb starter. Entrées include: seared five spice salmon filet; the aforementioned calf’s liver with caramelized onions, apple wood smoked bacon, mashed potatoes, and port wine reduction; grilled naturally raised hazelnut crusted chicken breast; pappardelle pasta in herb and parmesan cream; and seven-ounce center cut filet mignon with balsamic steak sauce.

Not only does this Colonial enclave acquit itself admirably with regard to weddings, banquets, and other large gatherings, it also provides the perfect romantic venue for couples wishing to celebrate the holiday season or other special occasions.


Majolica - Exterior NightMAJOLICA, 258 Bridge Street, Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, (610) 917-0962 – Once settled in comfortably at Majolica, it is difficult to remind yourself that you are dining in downtown Phoenixville, PA. This stylish BYOB – replete with exposed brick walls, gleaming hardwood floor, locally made copper-top tables, striking black & white photographs and original artwork, chic track lighting, and semi-open kitchen – feels more like SoHo, Greenwich Village, or Philly’s swinging South Street.

Just as the front of the house is imbued with an understated elegance, chef/proprietor Andrew Deery, a veteran of Savona and the Kimberton Inn, and recently voted “Best Chef in Chester County,” sends forth an equally elegant array of French-accented seasonal American offerings. The cuisine, an innovative amalgam of colors, tastes, and textures, isn’t likely to appeal to the grab ‘n’ growl, meat ‘n’ potatoes crowd. No, this is a restaurant for the adventurous of palate; for those who enjoy quality as much as (or more than) quantity.

Main courses often include such appetizing possibilities as spiced lamb with cucumber tzatziki and sun-dried tomato jam, Arctic char teamed with endive and oil-cured black olive, and spiced Moulard duck with turnip & rutabaga, honey & thyme. Chef Deery also offers six and eight course tasting menus on Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday evenings.

Given the impeccable character of the cuisine, prices are quite reasonable… In addition, you may also tote along a vintage of your own choosing.


Washington House - BarWASHINGTON HOUSE, 136 North Main Street, Sellersville, Pennsylvania, (215) 257-3000 – Constructed circa 1742 as a small frame farmhouse, the property was later purchased by Samuel Sellers who enlarged the building and transformed it into a tavern/hotel. In 1856, “Sellers Tavern” was purchased by the North Pennsylvania Railroad, which added the ornate Victorian bar and distinctive cupola. Today patrons can check out the history of the building and the town by taking a nine station self-guided tour through the restaurant.

Atmosphere aplenty… but the food is every bit its equal. The menu is decidedly eclectic with a pronounced Pennsylvania Dutch/German accent. The Wiener schnitzel, for example, is one of the best representatives I’ve sampled this side of the Atlantic. Then, of course, there is always the utterly delicious Prussian pork & noodles incorporating three generously proportioned pork and caraway meatballs, wide pasta noodles, and sautéed cabbage strips, all swimming in a seductive brown sauce. Comfort food taken to the max… and the sauce itself is worth the price of admission.

An absolute must, however, is a side of the fried dill pickles. Lengthwise slices are rolled in lightly seasoned breadcrumbs, deep fried, and paired with a fabulously flavorful lemon-tarragon aïoli dipping sauce. Outstanding.

Lunch without prior arrangement is no problem. However, bear in mind that the proprietors of Washington House also own the adjacent Sellersville Theater, which books in a variety of name musical acts. And since many folks dine at Washington House on their way to the Theater, be advised that dinner reservations the night of a performance should be considered de rigueur.


Yellow Springs Inn - ExteriorYELLOW SPRINGS INN, 1657 Art School Road, Chester Springs, Pennsylvania, (610) 827-7477 – The first Yellow Springs Inn (the owners’ previous establishment for 20 years) dated from the 1760s and served as General Washington’s headquarters during the Battle of Brandywine. The new location, the charming Jenny Lind House, is named after the nineteenth century opera star, “The Swedish Nightingale,” who stayed in the house during her concert tour in 1850. Lovingly restored by owners Charles & Barbara Orlando, the new Yellow Springs Inn – the beautiful dining rooms replete with antiques and original bar circa 1881 – made its debut in 2011.

But dining here is infinitely more than just an enchanting step back in time. The Inn serves up a creative contemporary American menu that offers diners hormone-free, antibiotic-free, and steroid-free meats from animals that have been humanely raised, using sustainable farming techniques. The seafood, all wild caught and sushi quality, arrives in Yellow Springs the same day it was brought aboard by day boat fishermen.

Menu highlights include wild-caught King salmon poached in mussel broth, free-range boneless breast of pheasant in a foie gras Marsala wine sauce, free-range veal medallions in Madeira wine cream sauce, and pecan-encrusted Berkshire pork tenderloin with Granny Smith apple chutney. The gourmet desserts, courtesy of Executive Chef, Barbara Orlando, are equally superb.

A marvelous culinary experience awaits… Just don’t forget to BYOB.

Bon Appétit & Happy Holidays!


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Loreta Colan August 23, 2017 at 1:11 am

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