Crystal Springs - Mother's Day Dessert DisplayOn Saturday, May 13, and Sunday, May 14, 2017, Crystal Springs Resort in Hamburg, New Jersey, will celebrate Mother’s Day weekend with festive brunches, special events, and a free round of golf for Mom.

Restaurant Latour will serve an elegant Mother’s Day brunch from 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Guest can enjoy a two- or three-course meal with such enticing options as Cured Salmon on an everything bagel with cucumber, Sea Trout with milled grains, crème fraiche and trout roe, or Wagyu Flat Iron with blue cheese and lettuce soup. A luscious Graham Cracker Sponge Cake will be one of the tempting desserts. The two-course brunch is priced at $55.00 per person; the three-course brunch at $75.00 (plus beverages, tax & gratuity).

Crystal Tavern will serve a special three-course brunch menu from 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. with a choice of options for each course, including appetizers such as Smoked Cod with asparagus and radish or Duck Broth with couscous. Entrée choices include Cannelloni with braised rabbit and baby carrots and Duck leg with bacon and spring pea salad. Rhubarb Panna Cotta with shortbread and Citrus with coffee and hazelnuts head the dessert menu. The cost is $39.00 per person (plus beverages, tax & gratuity).

Families can choose from three buffet-style Mother’s Day brunches: Emerald Ballroom at Grand Cascades Lodge ($59 adults, $25 children, under 3 free); Owen’s Pub at Ballyowen Golf Course ($39.95 adults, $15.95 children, under 3 free); Diamond Ballroom at Minerals Resort & Spa ($45 adults, $21 children, under 3 free).

On Sunday, May 14th, Mom can hit the links for a free round of golf on the Black Bear, Crystal Springs, Cascades or Minerals courses.

Restaurant Latour, Crystal Tavern, and the Emerald Ballroom are located at the Crystal Springs Clubhouse, 1 Wild Turkey Way; Minerals Resort & Spa at 1 Stonehill Drive, Vernon; Owen’s Pub at 37 Wheatsworth Road, Hamburg; and Black Bear at 138 State Route 23, Franklin.

Reservations for all of the restaurants, activities and/or hotel stays may be made by calling (844) 205-1857.

Bon Appétit!

TAD

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stonehouse - Big Red Tomato DinnerOn Wednesday, April 26, 2017, 7:00 p.m., Stone House at Stirling Ridge, 50 Stirling Road, Warren, New Jersey, will host a special Big Red Tomato multi-course dinner.

First Course – Eggplant Rollatini: Sautéed Eggplant, Herbed Ricotta, Marinara, Mozzarella

Second Course – Meatball Platter: Whipped Ricotta, Garlic Bread, Marinara, Spaghetti

Third Course – Veal Parmigiana: Peas, Pearl Onions, Roast Potatoes

Fourth Course – Tartufo: Caramel & Chocolate Sauce

The cost of the Big Red Tomato dinner is $59.00 per guest (plus beverages, tax & gratuity).

For more information, or to make reservations, please call (908) 754-1222.

Bon Appétit!

TAD

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Dilworthtown Inn - Inn Keeper's KitchenOn Friday, May 12, 2017, 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m., the Inn Keeper’s Kitchen at the Dilworthtown Inn, West Chester, Pennsylvania, will host a special dinner featuring the wines of California’s Cakebread Cellars.

First Course: Seared Scallop: Citrus Salad, Lemongrass, Kaffir Lime, Crushed Marcona Almond, Mint Dust; Wine Pairing: Cakebread Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley, 2015

Second Course: Chilled Lobster: Spring English Peas, Crème Fraiche, Fresh Pea Sprouts, Watercress; Wine Pairing: Cakebread Chardonnay, Napa Valley, 2015

Third Course: Sautéed Soft Shell Crab: New Potatoes, Brown Butter Sauce; Wine Pairing: Cakebread Pinot Noir 2015

Fourth Course: Filet Mignon: Morels, Fiddleheads, Grilled Ramps; Wine Pairing: Cakebread Cabernet 2014

Dessert Course: Cabernet Sorbet: Mango, Ruby Grapefruit; Wine Pairing: Cakebread Zinfandel 2015

The cost of the Cakebread wine dinner is $125.00 per person. For more information, or to make reservations, please call the Inn Keeper’s Kitchen at (610) 399-1390.

Bon Appétit!

TAD

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Autograph Brasserie

503 West Lancaster Avenue

Wayne, Pennsylvania

(610) 964-2588

www.autographbrasserie.com

Autograph Brasserie - Sycamore RoomWhenever the subject of restaurants pops up in the course of conversation of late, the mention of Autograph Brasserie doesn’t seem to be far behind. There is absolutely no question that this latest entry in Marty Grims’ restaurant stable (which includes three White Dog Cafés, Philly’s Moshulu, and LBI’s Daddy O, Plantation Restaurant & Bar, and Tuckers Tavern) has made quite a splash among Main Line diners; as much for its over-the-top décor as for its cuisine. Indeed… Each area of the restaurant – foyer, the Lounge (bar), “the Boulevard” (corridor with semiprivate alcoves leading to rooms at the rear of the restaurant), Sycamore Room (pictured), and Club Room – offers its own unique take on celebrity veneration.

Autograph Brasserie - BarAnd the critics, it seems, have been as wowed as restaurant’s regular patrons. Main Line Today’s Ken “I never met a restaurant I didn’t like” Alan, for example, spent a lion’s share of his meager allotted space gushing over the plethoric variety of floor-to-ceiling embellishments – “A myriad of iconic celebrities’ unmistakable faces adorn the walls at Grims’ most stylishly adventuresome endeavor to date” – before finally getting around to the food. And even the Inquirer’s Craig LaBan couldn’t resist a good bit of decorative “name-dropping” along the way (Pictured: Bar/Lounge).

Though Autograph Brasserie is dressed to impress (some would say – this writer included – overdressed); occasionally, such ostentation can generate exactly the opposite effect. And once the oohs and ahhs wear off, sensory overload begins to set in and the “theme park” atmosphere quickly loses its appeal. Like OD’ing on the 181 Renoirs in the Barnes Collection and longing for an occasional Picasso just to break up the monotony, so one begs for a respite from this overblown celebrity saturation.

In many cases, less is more; but Autograph’s extravagantly splurgy décor is simply too much of a good thing… and the restaurant’s cuisine also appears to suffer from similar bouts of obtrusive overreach. Co-owner and power-behind-the-stove Ralph Fernandez is obviously an accomplished chef with the finest of ingredients at his disposal. But there are times when his offerings tend to go astray: some are so artsy-fartsy that form takes precedence over substance; others simply lack proper focus and finesse.

Autograph Brasserie - Wild Striped BassTake his Wild Striped Bass, for example ($34.00). The fish itself is beautifully prepared, moist, flaky and succulent, but its delicate natural flavor is totally eclipsed by a double whammy: a sea of parsley garlic clam chowder emulsion and overly generous tiara of Basque peppers. Finny fare is best served by those embellishments that intrude the least. More judiciously – and imaginatively – applied, the clam chowder emulsion would be a more than sufficient accompaniment.

Other near misses include a starter of Chilled Gulf Shrimp from the raw bar, which was good but not exceptional, and the steak frites ($29.00) – char grilled sliced filet mignon, baby arugula and garlic parsley fries. This latter item seemed like a fairly safe bet; but the two members of our party were unanimous in their underwhelming assessment: The steak was on the dry side and the frites significantly less than crispy.

Autograph Brasserie - Autograph BLTThen there’s the Autograph BLT ordered from the lunch menu. A prodigious offering, to say the least. But the double-cut bacon is inordinately fatty, the garlic aioli conspicuous by its near absence, and the house-made chips woefully under seasoned and slightly on the soggy side. Outrageously overpriced at $17.00 (by the way, the burger goes for a whopping $19.00).

Autograph Brasserie - Catalan Caesar SaladFatty bacon is also the culprit in the deconstructed Autograph Wedge ($12.00), which turned out to be more of a feast for the eye than the palate. The Catalan Caesar (pictured), adorned with chorizo sausage and shaved Manchego, is another eye-catcher. Unfortunately, although long on style, it is painfully short on dressing ($13.00).

On the other hand, the Pear Blue Cheese ($13.00), sublime in its apparent simplicity, proved to be the most satisfying among the restaurant’s leafy representatives – especially since it actually resembled a salad rather than a self-conscious work of art. Pristinely fresh autumn greens are adorned with diced poached Anjou pear, Calbrales blue cheese, candied pecans, and splashed with an enticing cider vinaigrette. Yes, less is definitely more.

Autograph Bistro - Garganelli NeroEntrée-wise, it would appear that the house-made pasta dishes are the most economically feasible and gastronomically fulfilling options. These include Rigatoni with veal ragù Bolognese ($14.00), Gemelli with grilled shrimp in a sherry lobster emulsion ($16.00), Parsley Pappardelle with arugula pesto ($13.00), and the recently sampled & highly recommended Garganelli Nero (pictured). Adorned with shrimp, lump crabmeat & Spanish octopus, the constituents swim to table in a subtle but assertive shellfish emulsion ($16.00).

Anomalously, while Autograph’s appetizers and entrées, as noted above, are something of a mixed bag, the four courses the kitchen served up at the Chateau Ste. Michelle wine dinner in January (2017) were excellent across the board – and, I would add, superior to anything I have thus far sampled on the restaurant’s regular menu. The presentations were infinitely better focused and more restrained in their approach. The ingredients were allowed to speak for themselves, without benefit of a heavy-handed saucier or stilted architectural hocus-pocus.

Autography Brasserie - Burrata MozzarellaThe Burrata Mozzarella (pictured) set the tone right out of the box. Burrata is a fresh Italian cheese made from mozzarella and cream. And this was a marvelous presentation; perfectly done… but not overdone. The saltiness of Serrano ham provided a luscious foil to the velvety texture of the mozzarella; while pepitas (pumpkin seeds) added a nice contrasting crunch, and the toasted pumpkin seed oil a rich, aromatic finish.

Autograph Brasserie - Lamb LoinThe Scottish Salmon was also quite memorable. A seabed of lentils that had been stewed in a savory ham hock broth added immensely to the flavor, as did a zippy mustard emulsion. This was followed a perfect-shade-of-pink Herb-Roasted Australian Lamb Loin (pictured). Prepared to melt-in-your-mouth tenderness and set on a pillow of potato leek cake & caramelized baby carrots, an addictively assertive lamb jus spiked with a hint of truffle oil provided the unforgettable finishing touch.

Dessert? Pastry Chef Colleen Winston’s White Chocolate Crème Brûlée replete with ginger snap crisp and cranberry orange compote proved irresistible. I should hasten to add that it was also perfectly complemented by Chateau Ste. Michelle’s 2012 “Eroica” Gold Riesling.

Autograph Brasserie - Apple StrudelThe outstanding quality of the Chateau Ste. Michelle wine dinner obviously raises a very important question in my mind. How is it possible for a kitchen that is capable of turning out such an extraordinary feast to be so hit or miss in the execution of its regular menu? Your guess is as good as mine. At the present moment, however, only Colleen Winston’s incomparable desserts can be counted on to invariably hit the mark. (Pictured: Colleen Winston’s Warm Apple Strudel)

“A foolish consistency,” as Ralph Waldo Emerson once noted, may very well be “the hobgoblin of little minds.” In the restaurant game, however – especially in this upscale setting at these upscale prices – inconsistency is simply not a viable option.

Autograph Brasserie - ExteriorThere is no question that Autograph Brasserie has a great deal going for it – both visually and gastronomically. And, right now at least, the restaurant appears to be enjoying an extended love affair with its Main Line patrons. However, dining here is not an inexpensive proposition… and a honeymoon doesn’t last forever. Given the restaurant’s Center City prices, as well as the obvious high quality of the ingredients at the kitchen’s disposal, one can only hope that a more consistent approach to the execution of its menu will be high on Autograph’s agenda.

Bon Appétit!

TAD

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Nicholas & MelissaOn Wednesday, April 26, 2017, 7:30 p.m., for one night only, Restaurant Nicholas in Red Bank, New Jersey, will host an all-American classic steak house dinner.

Amuse: Jumbo Shrimp “Cocktail”

Soup: “French Onion Soup” – No, not really

Salad: Classic Wedge Salad – Really

Main Course: 18-Ounce Dry-Aged Center-Cut New York Strip

Three Favorite Sides: Creamed Spinach… Potato Gratin… French Fries

Fifth Course: Baked Alaska

The cost of the special steak house menu is $135.00 per person (plus beverages, tax & gratuity).

Space is limited. For more information, or to make reservations, please call (732) 345-9977 (phone reservations only).

Bon Appétit!

TAD

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Teresa's Cafe - Wayne, PAOn Monday, April 24, 2017, Teresa’s Café, 124 North Wayne Avenue, Wayne, Pennsylvania, will host a special Spanish wine dinner from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Alvaro de la Vina will guide guests through a tasting of six Spanish wines paired with five courses of food.

The cost is $85.00 per person (plus tax & gratuity) and must be reserved in advance.

For more information, or to make reservations, please call Teresa’s Café at (610) 293-9909.

Bon Appétit!

TAD

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Easter5On Sunday, April 26, 2017, the Gladstone Tavern in Gladstone, New Jersey, will be open at 12:00 noon, serving an Easter Sunday dinner menu during the entire day.

LIBATION – “The Good Root”: Goose Citron, Juiced Carrot, Ginger Liqueur, Lemon… Pink Bunny: Fresh Squeezed Grapefruit, Prosecco, Pamplemousse Liqueur… Hitching Post Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir: California 2014… The Withers Rosé “El Dorado”: California 2016

FIRST COURSE – Grandma’s Chicken Soup: Natural Broth, Egg Noodle, Dill… Country Salad: Slab Bacon, Jasper Hill Farm Blue Cheese, Frisée, Baby Kale, Grape Tomato, House Crouton, Buttermilk Ranch… Lobster-Corn Fritters: Chopped Cherry Tomato, Corn, Micro Basil, Old Bay Emulsion

MAIN COURSE – Baked Lemon Sole: Meyer Lemon Hollandaise, Baby Carrot, Asparagus, Orzo Pilaf… Herb-Roasted Turkey Breast: Vermouth Gravy, Haricots Verts, Buttermilk Whipped Potato… Carved Country Ham: Cocoa-Chili Gravy, Bacon Braised Greens, Cheddar Grits… Pan-Roasted Leg of Lamb: Herbed Mustard Sauce, Asparagus, Rosti Potato

*Child portions (ages 10 & under) available for each special entrée.

DESSERT – Strawberry Shortcake: Sweet Biscuit, Vanilla Ice Cream, Fresh Strawberry, Strawberry Sauce… Easter Egg Profiteroles: Pastel Ice Cream, Royal Icing, Milk Chocolate Sauce

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

Bon Appétit!

TAD

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Tinto Philly - InteriorFrom Monday, April 17 – Friday, April 21, 2017, Tinto, the intimate wine bar and tapas restaurant located at 114 South 20th Street in Philadelphia, will be celebrating its tenth anniversary. A special weeklong tasting menu will highlights from the brand new menu, as well as old favorites.

COURSE ONE – Charcuterie: Saucisson Sec and Chorizo Pamplona… Chilled Bean Salad: Ventresca Tuna

COURSE TWO – Duck Montadito: Duck Confit, Serrano Ham, La Peral Spread, Black Cherry… Baby Artichokes: Pappardelle, Meyer Lemon, Black Truffle… Short Rib Bocadillo: Braised Short Rib, Bacon, Asparagus, Celery Root Aioli

COURSE THREE – Organic Chicken: Truffled Mahsed Potato, Brussels Sprouts, Bacon, Idiazabal Cream, Herb Chicken JusRodaballa a la Plantxa: Turbot, Sauce Pastis, Baby Fennel… Patatas Asturianas: Tomato Compote, La Peral Cream

COURSE FOUR – Pastel Vasco: Almond and Vanilla Tart, Cherries, Olive Oil Ice Cream

The cost of the special tasting menu is $55.00 per person (plus beverages, tax & gratuity).

In addition, on Tuesday, April 18, 2017, from 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Tinto will host a Tento Celebration, A porron and pintxos party with Jose Garces. Tickets are $60.00 per person and will include charcuterie and cheese stations, passed pintxos, suckling pig, and a paella station. Wine stations will be positioned throughout the restaurant. Guests can try their hand at traditional Basque activities like “throwing” cider or drinking from a porron, with prizes for the top participants. Tickets are available at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2911694.

 

After opening Amada in 2005 in Philadelphia’s Old City, Jose Garces opened Tinto, 114 South 20th Street, his second restaurant in 2007. Tinto is an intimate wine bar and tapas restaurant that was the first in Philadelphia to showcase the extraordinary tastes of the Basque country, the coastal and mountainous region that is located between France and Northeastern Spain.

Tinto features pintxos (the Basque equivalent of tapas), charcuterie, cheeses, mariscos (shellfish), brochettes (skewers) and bocadillos (sandwiches). Large plate entrees are available, and everything is designed for sharing. Tinto is Basque slang for red wine, and features 80 varieties of Spanish wine.

Bon Appétit!

TAD

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Chakra InteriorOn Sunday, April 16, 2017, Chakra Restaurant, W 144 Route 4, Paramus, New Jersey, will be serving a special three-course prix-fixe Easter brunch from 12:00 noon – 5:00 p.m.

FIRST COURSE (Choice of) – Caesar Salad: Romaine Hearts, Lemon Confit, White Anchovies… Mesclun Greens: Fines Herbes, White Balsamic Vinaigrette… Cantaloupe Melon: Prosciutto, Black Pepper, Honeycomb… Smoked Salmon: Spring Greens, Brioche, Orange Vinaigrette… Horseradish-Crusted Crab Cake: Snow Pea Shoots, Mustard Seed Vinaigrette ($6 Supplement)… Pike Quenelle: Lobster Velouté… Grilled Marinated Tofu: Bok Choy, Carrot-Coconut Broth

SECOND COURSE (Choice of) – Lobster Egg Benedict: Hollandaise, Roasted Fingerling Potatoes… Salmon Medallions: Coriander, Spring Carrots, Mushroom Ravioli… Chili-Cinnamon Glazed Chilean Sea Bass: Potato Wrapped Shrimp, Bok Choy, Lemongrass Nage ($9 Supplement)… Goffle Farm Chicken: Bracco Farms Vegetables, “Cous Cous,” Verjus Butter, Ramp Pesto… Pork Tenderloin & Braised Bacon: Young Rainbow Carrots, Sauerkraut Soubise, Cranberry JusFilet Mignon of Beef: White & Green Asparagus, Rossini Sauce ($12 Supplement)… Vegetarian Eggplant Tarte: Sacred Chow Tofu, Tomato-Bell Pepper Coulis

DESSERT (Choice of) – Warm Chocolate Brioche Bread Pudding: Macerated Berries, Vanilla Ice Cream… Peanut Dacquoise: Caramelized Bananas, Jivara Milk Chocolate Chantilly, Hawaiian Sea Salt… Goat’s Milk Cheesecake: Figs, Port Wine, Honey-Rosemary Ice Cream

The cost of the three-course prix-fixe Easter brunch is $42.00 per person (plus beverages, tax & gratuity). A children’s à la carte menu will also be available.

For more information, or to make reservations, please call (201) 556-1530.

Bon Appétit!

TAD

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Majolica Dining RoomOn Sunday, April 16, 2017, Majolica Restaurant, 258 Bridge Street, Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, will host a three-course Easter Brunch* from 10:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

FIRST COURSE (Choice of) – Roasted Beet: Birchrun Hills Cheese, Local Lettuces, Pistachio Butter… Smoked Tea-Cured Salmon: Cucumbers, Pumpernickel, Dill… Chilled English Pea Coup: Rosemary Cream, Bacon… Raw Oysters: Champagne Mignonette… Cured Pork Loin: Arugula, Parmesan Curls

SECOND COURSE (Choice of) – Blueberry Pancakes: Grilled Pork Sausages, Maple Syrup… Beef Short Rib Hash: Poached Egg, Hollandaise… Swordfish: Citrus and Endive, Oil-Cured Olive, Basil… Grilled Lamb Leg: Rosemary Potatoes, Roasted Garlic JusAtlantic Haddock: Sweet Corn Chowder, Thyme Butter… Papardelle Pasta: Local Mushrooms, Black Garlic, Shellbark Goat Cheese

THIRD COURSE (Choice of) – Flourless Chocolate Torte: Salted Caramel Ice Cream… Cheese Selection: Honeycomb, Almonds… Earl Grey Tea Ice Cream: Shortbread Cookies, Lemon Curd… Nutella Crepes: Banana, Tarragon… Pineapple Sorbet: Tropical Fruit, Coconut Tapioca, Macadamia Nut Praline

*Menu is subject to change.

The cost of the three-course Easter brunch is $35.00 per guest (plus beverages, tax & gratuity). BYOB.

For more information, or to make reservations, please call Majolica at (610) 917-0962.

Bon Appétit!

TAD

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