Philly Restaurant Week 2018Beginning Sunday, September 23, and continuing through Friday, October 5, 2018, Center City Philadelphia will be celebrating Restaurant Week. Participating restaurants will be offering three-course dinners for only $35.00 per person and three-course lunches for $20.00 (plus beverages, tax & gratuity).

Menus are subject to change; and reservations subject to availability.

For more information (menus, participating restaurants, etc.), or to make reservations, please click on

Bon Appétit!



Amis Trattoria

138 West Lancaster Avenue

Devon, Pennsylvania

(610) 590-4782

Amis - ExteriorSequestered amid the pricey flora & fauna in Urban Outfitters’ newly opened Devon Yard, Amis Trattoria is companioned by Anthropologie, which includes BHLDN wedding brand, Terrain – a garden shop, outdoor living repository, house & home emporium, gift boutique, wedding venue, and the Terrain Café – as well as a private event space and  central courtyard.

Urban Outfitters prides itself on the construction of a distinctly pastoral setting at its Devon Yard project. The various structures incorporate local materials, field stone and reclaimed barnwood, etc., and feature vernacular and greenhouse (Terrain Café) styles.

Amis - Interior - BarThere is no question that the Yard’s exterior architectural design is striking in its simplicity. That being said, once across the threshold, you soon realize that Amis has its own unique design dilemma: The restaurant’s minimalistic industrial chic décor is an absolute acoustical nightmare. Just check out the bar area (pictured); the high ceiling… hard surfaces (including a hardwood floor)… the lack of tablecloths, window dressings and other sound retardant materials all conspire to turn the space into a decibel-driven tsunami, enveloping patrons in ebbs and flows that vary from annoying to downright unhealthy. Even when partially occupied, the sound reverberates like a broken chainsaw – and the regular dining room is no improvement… Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

… But on to the food. The menu is quite interesting, for a variety of reasons. First of all, there’s a bit of everything here… a tempting array of antipasti, salads, pizzette (individual pizzas), pastas, entrées, and several excellent side dishes, especially if you are of the vegetarian persuasion. On the other hand, the main course selections are extremely limited and, even though Amis made its debut on August 16th (2018), several of the offerings seem infinitely more suitable for dining in the bleak midwinter. I mean, when the heat index tops the 100-degree mark, as it did during several visits, heavy items such as Pork Chop Parmigiana, Porcini Rubbed Lamb Chops and New York Strip Steak tend to lose their appeal.

Even more importantly, however, is the fact that the food at Amis is somewhat unpredictable. A foolish consistency may very well be the hobgoblin of little minds, as Emerson so aptly put it… but it is the absolute sine qua non of a successful restaurant. To put it another way, ordering from a menu should not be like playing Russian roulette – Urban Outfitters, please take note.

Amis - Seared Scallops 2Not that the food is bad per se… problem is, you never quite know what to expect. Take the Seared Scallops, for example. The bivalves are served up on a seabed of charred corn salad and fregola, which is a type of pasta from Sardinia that closely resembles the shape and texture of couscous. An intriguing combo that works well with the meaty consistency of the scallops. On one occasion, the scallops were nicely seared (pictured), just a shade past golden brown, and firm & opaque at the sides… On another visit, however, they were barely singed and on the mushy side.

Amis - Roastee BranzinoConversely, the Whole Roasted Branzino (European sea bass) was perfectly prepared, moist, flaky and packed with flavor. Branzino has become something of a staple on Italian menus; it is usually roasted whole and then filleted tableside, which, in many cases, is nothing more than a needless bit of showbiz.  And the problem with this method of presentation, of course, is that by the time your server finishes separating fish from bone, your filets are lukewarm at best. Amis has ameliorated this difficulty by doing the dirty work in the kitchen and then presenting the complete package with olives and tomatoes. Kudos to the chef.

Amis - Crispy CauliflowerOther items were hit or miss. The Porcini Rubbed Lamb Chops could only be described as “tasteless,” and the Swordfish Meatballs as less than stellar. The starter of Eggplant Caponata Bruschetta was very good… but its kissin’ cousin, Bufala Ricotta Bruschetta, was the bland-leading-the-bland… ditto the Jersey Corn and Tomato Salad. The ratatouille-like Charred Seasonal Vegetables – eggplant, peppers and zucchini – were quite enjoyable but on the oily side. On the other hand, the Crispy Potatoes, Crispy Brussels Sprouts, and the especially flavorful Crispy Cauliflower sprinkled with pecorino and splashed with a zippy salsa rosa (pictured) were all excellent.

Other than the items noted favorably above, your surest chance of gastronomic satisfaction lies with the pasta dishes, which, in my opinion, are in a class by themselves; carefully prepared and attractively but simply presented. Possibilities include the Ricotta Ravioli with tomato and basil, Fettuccine with charred corn and scallions, Bucatini (a tubular dried pasta slightly thicker than spaghetti) with jalapeño and almond pesto, Paccheri (in the shape of a very large smooth tube, originating from Campania) with swordfish, eggplant and pine nuts, and Rigatoni Bolognese.

Amis -Tonarelli Cacio e PepeMy nod, however, goes to the Tonnarelli “Cacio e Pepe” (pictured). Cacio e Pepe is a pasta dish from Roman cuisine and literally means “cheese and pepper” in several central Italian dialects. As the name suggests, the ingredients are very simple and include only black pepper, Pecorino Romano cheese, and pasta (butter and olive oil may also be included, depending upon the recipe). When preparing the dish, some of the hot cooking liquid is left with the pasta, so that the heat melts the cheese, while the starches in the water help bind the pepper and cheese to the pasta. Tonnarelli is a spaghetti-like pasta originating in Lazio. The dish may not look like much, but it is sublime in its apparent simplicity and exceedingly flavorful.

Amis - TartufoFor dessert, be sure to try the Tartufo. The word means truffle in Italian, but it also refers to a special Roman dessert created at Tre Scalini restaurant on the Piazza Navona. It is a ball of dark chocolate ice cream encased in a chocolate shell with bits of chocolate and candied sour cherry in the middle. The representative proffered here is quite acceptable and certainly suitable for sharing … it just needed more time for the ice cream to thaw a bit.

At the present moment, Amis Trattoria is the place to be, so expect a youngish, decidedly boisterous crowd with a generous sprinkling of Main Line cougars added to the mix (If you’re a people-watcher, you’ll have a field day!)… which brings up another issue – parking. Right now, with just the restaurants and retail outlets operating, prime time parking can be difficult; when there are special events (weddings, etc.) scheduled, I have no doubt that the parking issue could very well become a parking “nightmare.” Just be prepared.

Given the hit or miss quality of the cuisine and service, the prices (not out-of-sight but significant), the elevated decibel level, the madding crowds, and the parking aggravations, is dining at Amis really worth the effort…? Well, maybe just once… On the other hand, it’s strictly your call.

Bon Appétit!



Restaurant Nicholas Hosts Classical French Dinner

by artfuldiner on September 15, 2018

in Uncategorized

Nicholas - Exterior 2On Thursday, September 27, 2018, 7:00 p.m., Restaurant Nicholas, 160 Route 35 South, Red Bank, New Jersey, will host a special dinner featuring the classics of French cuisine.

First Course – Tarte Flambé: Crispy Flatbread, Fromage Blanc, Smoked Bacon

Second Course – Coq Au Vin: Confit Chicken Thigh, Heirloom Vegetables, Herbs

Third Course – “Beef Bourguignon”: Beef, Red Wine, Braised Pearl Onions

Fourth Course – Pear Frangipane: Poached Pear, Almond Frangipane, Puff Pastry

The price of the Classical French Dinner is $85.00 per person (plus beverages, tax & gratuity).

For more information, or to make reservations, please call (732) 345-9977.

Bon Appétit!



Seasons 52 KOP - BarBeginning on Tuesday, September 18, and continuing through Friday, September 21, 2018, Seasons 52, 160 North Gulph Road, #101, King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, will be offering a special three-course “Harvest Menu” for just $29.95*.

Appetizers (Choice of) – Butternut Squash Soup… Porcini Mushroom Bisque… Spinach and Caramelized Bosc Pear Salad… Organic Field Greens

Entrées (Choice of) – Mediterranean-Style Australian Lamb Shank: Sautéed Green Beans, Yukon Mash… Cedar Plank-Roasted Salmon: Crushed Potatoes, Caulilini, Grilled Lemon, Dill-Mustard Sauce… Venison Chop: Venison Ragout, Caulilini, Sweet Potato Mash… Wood-Grilled Filet Mignon: Roasted Mushrooms, Caulilini, Yukon Mash, Red Wine Sauce… Short Rib Lasagna: Mozzarella, Grass-Fed Beef Bolognese

Mini Desserts (Choice of) – Pumpkin Pie… Pear Cheesecake

Recommended Wines by the Glass: Château Ste. Michelle Mimi Chardonnay… Spy Valley Sauvignon Blanc… Gascón Malbec… Loveblock Pinot Noir… Lake Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon

*As noted above, the cost of the Harvest Menu is $29.95 per person (plus beverages, tax & gratuity).

For more information, or to make reservations, please call Seasons 52, (610) 992-1152.

Bon Appétit!



DeAnna'sOn Thursday, September 20, 2018, 6:30 p.m., DeAnna’s Restaurant & Bar, 54 North Franklin Street, Lambertville, New Jersey, will celebrate the last of the local harvest season with a special dinner featuring three courses and six wine tastings. Curated pairings by Sommelier Karen Love; live jazz by the Hazelrigg Brothers.

Amuse Bouche: Grilled Black Mission Figs with Bobolink Soft Cheese and Jalapeño Truffle Honey… Roasted Shishedo Pepper with Lemon Infused EVO… Crispy Wonton with Fall Greens, Gruyère finished with Sweet Carrot Purée; Wine Pairing: Cavicchioli Vigna del Cristo Doc, 2017 (Lambrusco

Appetizer (Choice of): Savory Milk and Honey Factory Girl Bread Pudding with Roasted White Turnip, Baby Carrots, Caramelized Sweet Onion, Bobolink Cheddar finished with Béchamel… Mixed Spicy Greens and Green Head Lettuce Salad, Roasted Manoff Apples, Toasted Walnuts, Honey Mustard Dressing, Parmesan Cracker… Heirloom Tomato, Fresh Mozzarella, Pesto Gelato… Bobolink Cured Meat & Cheese, Crostini, Bourbon Blackberry Jam; Wine Pairings: Hecht & Bannier Languedoc Blanc, 2017… Mont Redon Cotes du Rhone Rosé, 2017

Entrée (Choice of): Goat Hill Farms Cornish Game Hens with a Manoff Peach Armagnac Glaze, Broccoli Rabe or Side Pasta… Slow Braised Beef Short Ribs with Garden Herbs, Vegetable or Pasta… New Jersey Caught Sea Scallops served with Roasted Garlic Saffron Cream Sauce, Roasted Rosemary Potato or Vegetables… Homemade Fettuccine with Three Mushroom Ragu; Wine Pairings: Dorigo Refosco, 2015… Stepane Aviron Fleurie Vieille Vignes, 2016

Dessert: Upside Down Manoff Apple Cake with Shot of Bourbon… Factory Girl “Pop Tart” with Vanilla Bean Gelato… Manoff Apple Sorbet with French Almond Cookie… Gluten Free French Sea Salt Brownie… Affagado: Vanilla Gelato with a Shot of Espresso; Wine Pairing: Quad Vya Sweet Vermouth

The price of the “Pick of the Harvest” wine pairing dinner is $75.00 per person (plus tax & gratuity). Space is limited. For more information, or to make reservations, please call (609) 397-8957. Ask for Lisa.

Bon Appétit!



Harvest Seasonal Grill & Wine Bar - Glen MillsOn Monday, September 24, 2018, Harvest Seasonal Grill & Wine Bar locations will be hosting a special four-course autumn farm-to-table Harvest Moon Dinner.

First Course (Choice of) – Small Fall Salad… Local Butternut Squash Soup… Three Bean Turkey Chili… Small Vegan Harvest Salad

Second Course (Choice of) – Crispy Brussels Sprouts… Seasonal Organic Hummus… Vegan Kung Pao Cauliflower Wings

Third Course (Choice of) – Harvest Moon Chicken… Seared Sea Scallops… Pumpkin Tortelloni… Vegan Eggplant “Parmesan”

Dessert Course – Choice of Autumn-Inspired Seasonal Desserts

The price of the Harvest Moon Dinner is $39.00 per person; $59.00 per person with wine pairings (plus tax & gratuity).

For more information, or to make reservations, please call your preferred local Harvest Gill & Wine Bar.

Bon Appétit!



Gladstone Tavern - San Gennaro 2018Beginning tomorrow, Thursday, September 13, and continuing through Tuesday, September 18, 2018, the Gladstone Tavern, 273 Main Street, Gladstone, New Jersey, will be celebrating the Feast of San Gennaro, the patron saint of Sicily, with a vintage Italian style menu of food and libations.

DALLA SHARRA – Sophia Loren: Tito’s Vodka, Aperol, Prosecco, Blood Orange, Basil… Uncle Junior: Whistle Pig 10-Year Rye, Punt e Mes, Campari, Orange Bitters… Red Wine: Fattoria di Lucignana Chianti, 2016, Tuscany… White Wine: Cavallotto Nebbiolo 2015, Piedmont

PRIMO CORSO – Warm Garlic Bread: Toasted Ciabatta, Four Cheeses, Garlic, Olive Oil, Fresh Herb… Ribollita: Tuscan Bread Soup, Cannellini Bean, Vegetable, Prosciutto Broth… Arancini: Crisp Saffron Risotto Veal Ragu Filling, Pomodoro Sauce… Big Caesar: Romaine Heart, Garlic Crouton, House Dressing, Tableside Cheese

PORTATA PRINCIPALE – Chicken Scarpariello: Hot Sausage, Mushroom, Potato, Cherry Pepper, Garlic, Red Wine Vinegar Sauce… Spaghetti & Meatballs: Pinioli, Parmesan, Pomodoro Sauce, Basil… Grilled Swordfish Puttanesca: Zesty Tomato-Caper-Green Olive Sauce, Creamy Gorgonzola Polenta… Eggplant Parmesan: Layered Eggplant, Rustic Tomato Sauce, Cheese, Side Broccoli Rabe

DOLCE – Tiramisu: Sponge Cake, Mascarpone Mousse, Espresso, Chocolate Sauce… Bomboloni: Italian Doughnut, Orange Custard Filling, Raspberry Coulis

For more information, or to make reservations, please call (908) 234-9055.

Bon Appétit!



Frog and Peach4On Saturday, September 29, 2018, 6:00 p.m., the Frog and the Peach in New Brunswick, New Jersey, will host a special “Sit Down Wine Tasting,” sampling twelve wines from across southern Italy. Included will be classic bottles from mature vintages and twelve food pairings from the restaurant’s chefs.

Some Tasting Highlights…

COS Cerasuolo di Vittoria, Sicilia, 2014

Molettieri Taurasi “Vigna Cinque Querce,” Campania, 2006

Galardi “Terra di Lavoro,” Roccamonfina, Campania, 2008

Mastroberardino “Radici” Taurasi, Campania, 2009

Benanti “Monovitigno” Etna, Sicilia, 2009

D’Angelo Aglianico del Vulture Riserva, “Vigna Caselle,” Basilicata, 2001

The cost of this special wine and food event is $115.00 per person (plus tax & gratuity). For more information, or to reserve your place, please call (732) 846-3216.

Bon Appétit!


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Pluckemin Inn - San GennaroOn Friday and Saturday, September 28 & 29, 2018, the Pluckemin Inn, Bedminster, New Jersey, will celebrate the Feast of San Gennaro – the patron saint of Naples – with a special Italian-themed menu…

ANTIPASTI (Choice of) – Bresaola: Cured Beef Loin, Arugula, Black Pepper, Pecorino… Insalata Panzanella: Heirloom Tomato Salad, Focaccia, Basil, Olives… Fritto Misto: Squash blossom, Shishito, Fennel, Shrimp, Squid… Polpette: Meatballs, Sourdough, Pecorino, San Marzano… Panelle: Chickpea Fritters, Ricotta Salata, Lemon Aioli

PRIMI (Choice of) – Mafaldine Puttanesca: Plum Tomato, Olives, Caper, Anchovy, Pecorino… Spaghetti con le Vongole: Clams, White Wine, Garlic, Chiles, Lemon, Parsley… Casareccia Calabrese: Nduja, Cherry Tomato, Oregano, Pine Nuts, Ricotta… Gnocchi alla Sorrentina: Tomato Sauce, Mozzarella, Chiles, Basil… Orecchiette Salsiccia: Fennel Sausage, Broccoli Rabe, Marjoram, Pecorino

SECONDI (Choice of) – Bistecca alla Pizzaiola: Angus Sirloin, Tomato DSauce, Mozzarella, Spinach… Zuppa di Pesce: Monkfish, Clams, Mussels, Calamari, Shrimp, Tomato Broth… Coniglio: Braised Rabbit, Roasted Peppers, Artichokes, Potatoes… Pesce Spada alla Ghiotta: Swordfish, Cherry Tomatoes, Capers, Olives, Chilies… Guancette di Maiale: Pork Cheek, Fried Potatoes, Ciopollini, Rosemary, Pecorino

DOLCI (Choice of) – Torta al Formaggio: Ricotta Cheesecake, Poached Pear, Pistachio Gelato… Babà al Rum: Citrus Rum Syrup, Vanilla Chantilly, Berry Compote… Tiramisu: Marcona Almonds, Brandied Cherries, Chocolate Gelato… Biscotti: Italian Cookie Sampler

The price of the San Gennaro dinner is three courses, $65.00 per person: choice of 1 antipasti or primi, secondi and dolci; four courses, $75.00 per person: choice of 1 antipasti, primi, secondi and dolci (plus beverages, tax & gratuity).

Please note that the regular à la carte menu will not be available on San Gennaro weekend.

For more information, or to make reservations, please call (908) 658-9292.

Bon Appétit!



At the Table - OwnersOn Wednesday, September 12, 2018, At the Table, 11 Louella Court, Wayne, Pennsylvania, will host a special dinner paired with the beers of the Levante Brewing Company of West Chester, PA. The 5:45 p.m. reception will be following by a six-course tasting menu.

Reception: Seared Coriander Encrusted Ahi Tuna on Fried Wonton, Wasabi Aioli… Mini Lamb Meatballs with Cucumber Raita… Stilton, Caramelized Onion & Apple Flatbread… Acadian Pearl Oyster on the ½ Shell; Brew Pairing: Birra Di Levante Pilsner & Hera’s Harvest Cider

First Course: Shrimp and Crab Ceviche, Pickled Jalapeño, Avocado, Red Onion, Fingerlime Caviar, Compressed Cucumber; Brew Pairing: Cloudy and Cumbersome New England IPA

Second Course: Pan-Seared Hudson Valley Foie Gras, Pickled Mustard Seeds, Gooseberry, Granola, Raspberry Coulis, Blackberry; Brew Pairing: Fruit Fetish Finesse, Cherry Vanilla Sour

Third Course: House-Pappardelle & Lobster, Uni Meyer Lemon Broth, Shitake; Brew Pairing: Lifestyle Blogger Brut IPA

Fourth Course: Pan-Seared Halibut, Sweet Corn & Clam Purée, Roast New Potatoes, Pearl Onions; Brew Pairing: Simple Living Hoppy Saison

Fifth Course: Pan-Seared Duck Breast, Potato Fennel Purée, Toasted Macadamia Nuts, Compressed Peach, Pickled Fennel, Red Wine Sea Salt; Brew Pairing: Green Horizon Double IPA

Sixth Course: Carrot Cake, Cream Cheese Frosting, Candied Walnuts; Brew Pairing: Le Marche Barrel Aged Belgian Quad

The price of the Levante Brewery Beer Pairing Dinner is $125.00 per person. Seating is limited. For more information, or to make a reservation, please call At the Table Restaurant at (610) 964-9700.

Bon Appétit!