Brandywine Prime, Chadds Ford, PA – A Review

by artfuldiner on July 17, 2017

in Artful Diner Review, Opinion, Pennsylvania, Review, Wining and Dining

Brandywine Prime Seafood & Chops at Chadds Ford Inn

1617 Baltimore Pike (Route 1)

Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania

(610) 388-8088

Brandywine Prime - Dining Room 2Tucked away in a beautifully restored 1703 stone cottage, just around the corner from the Brandywine River Museum, Brandywine Prime is an extremely popular eatery that majors in traditional American cuisine with an emphasis on grilled steakhouse fare. In addition to the sumptuous menu of steaks, chops and seafood, Chef Jason Barrowcliff also serves patrons a healthful array of organic produce from his own garden. And for all you oenophiles out there, the restaurant also boasts an impressive, reasonably-priced wine list that has been the recipient of the Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence since 2008.

Brandywine Prime - BarYou will find Prime’s dining room (pictured above) tastefully appointed, quiet and sedate… But the bustling bar and tavern (the tavern is the smaller dining room adjoining the bar area) are definitely the places to be during the Monday – Thursday, 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m., happy hour. The restaurant’s $5.00 happy hour menu includes munchies like Spicy Shrimp Salsa Chips, Shrimp Spring Rolls, Salt Roasted/Fried Loaded Potato Skins, and House-Made Mozzarella. The drinks menu highlights $3.00 select draft beers, $3.00 Italian pear martinis, and $5.00 select house red and white wine.

Should you dine in the restaurant’s Bar/Tavern on “Prime Thursday,” the sandwiches (except Best of Philly and Cheddar Burgers) are ½ price all evening; on “Burger Friday,” the Best of Philly Burger, Blue Cheese, or Double Cheese Burger are served all night at ½ price. But the really big deal is Prime’s “Wine Wednesday,” when select bottles of wine and Nachos may both be had at ½ price. My dining partner and I recently enjoyed a first-rate 2013 Ridge Vineyards “3 Valleys” Zinfandel Blend – which will normally set you back $49.00 – for a mere $24.50… And that’s less than retail, folks!

Brandywine Prime - Tuna TartareTo start things off (if you haven’t already pigged out on the aforementioned nachos), the raw bar presents a number of interesting possibilities. The Jumbo Lump Crab Cocktail, for example, comes complemented by the subtly sweet flavor of wakame, a seaweed salad. Shrimp Cocktail and Freshly Shucked Oysters on the Half Shell are also available. And, should you be so inclined, there’s even Local Buffalo Carpaccio from Buffalo Run Ranch in Coatesville, PA… But the clear winner here is the utterly enticing Tuna Tartare (pictured). Pristinely fresh tuna is combined with slices of avocado, soy marinated onions, crunchy tortillas, and a zippy wasabi aioli. Turn up the “wow” factor several notches.

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LEAD Technologies Inc. V1.01

Other preludes include Grilled Pacific Octopus, House-Made Mozzarella with fire roasted tomato sauce and basil pesto, a variety of salads – Mixed Greens, Chopped Iceberg, Baby Spinach, Grilled Romaine – and French Onion Soup. Among the non-seafood starters, however, nothing even comes close to the extraordinarily delicious Kennett Square Mushroom Tart (pictured). Sautéed local mushrooms are splashed with truffle oil, caressed by triple cream Brie, and crowned with a tiara of micro greens. This is one appetizer that is worth the price of admission. Not to be missed!

As you move on to the entrées, beef clearly takes center stage… There are, for instance, several variations on the rib eye theme – 14oz. Delmonico, 10oz. Barrel Cut, and 18oz. Choice Short Bone-In. Then there’s the 8oz. Choice Angus Club Eye New York Strip, 12oz. Prime Center Cut New York Strip, 6oz. New York Strip Black Angus Steak Salad, and Chianti Braised Short Ribs.

Brandywine Prime - 8 oz Center Cut Filet MignonIf happen to be incurably carnivorous but are uncertain of what to choose, I would highly recommend the yet-to-be-mentioned 8oz. Center Cut Filet Mignon. I know this sounds like a major cop-out; but, trust me, it’s not. Yes, I know the argument all too well: Filet may be tender, but other cuts have infinitely more flavor. Under normal circumstances, I would tend to agree with that assessment. However, I must tell you that Prime’s filet was absolutely the best cut of beef I have tasted in a very long time. Not only did it “cut like butter,” if you’ll pardon a vastly overused phrase, but it was also incredibly flavorful. And when you teamed this filet up with a ramekin of the restaurant’s own steak sauce, the result was completely irresistible. I’m not one to ooh and aah over steak… but this was something else again.

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LEAD Technologies Inc. V1.01

In addition to beef, Prime’s kitchen also whips up some excellent finny fare as well. The Grilled Faroe Island Wild Salmon, for example, was teamed with asparagus, salt roasted beets, and finished with an enticing pesto vinaigrette and touches of Meyer lemon aioli. An excellent presentation… But even better, in my opinion, was the Line Caught Swordfish (pictured). The swordfish steak was quite thick, yet it was perfectly grilled: cooked through, but still incredibly moist. Its traveling companions included buttered haricots verts and artful slathering of lemon caper aioli.

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LEAD Technologies Inc. V1.01

Also highly enjoyable was the Blue Cobia, a daily special. Cobia is a firm textured, mild to moderately flavored fish. The flesh is pinkish tan when raw; but it cooks up pristinely white. It’s a touch less fatty than swordfish and sports a slightly more assertive flavor than mahi mahi. Most of the cobia available in the United States is farm raised. The offering here was beautifully grilled, moist and flaky. Set on a bed of seafood rice replete with mussels & clams, the finishing touch was a lovely bouillabaisse sauce.

If you decide to dine in the bar/tavern, various sandwiches/burgers, at half price on Thursdays & Fridays (see above), will also be available. Most recently sampled was the French Dip Panini, shaved rib eye, melted gruyère, horseradish aioli and pan jus all stuffed between slices of freshly baked Le Bus bread. My dining partner wasn’t terribly happy with her choice, but I thought it was excellent. One thing we agreed upon, however, was the fabulously crisp house-cut fries.

… And speaking of fabulous, the Creamy Potato Purée, one of the restaurant’s side dishes (noted above with the swordfish), was totally addictive. The 3-Cheese Truffle Potato Gratin, on the other hand, was slightly on the dry side and lacked significant flavor. Other recommended sides include the Truffle Parmesan Fries, Mushrooms with Bacon/Duck Fat, and Sauté of Local Baby Carrots.

LEAD Technologies Inc. V1.01

LEAD Technologies Inc. V1.01

The restaurant also offers a number of house-made desserts, including Chocolate Cheesecake with cranberry-strawberry preserve & Bailey’s Whipped Cream, and Carrot Cupcake with raisins, nuts, cream cheese icing, and candied carrots. My nod, though, goes to the Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding companied by vanilla caramel swirl ice cream and crème anglaise (pictured). For a somewhat more civilized conclusion to your evening at table, you might consider sharing the Chef’s Market Selection of Cheeses.

If you happen to be taking in an exhibition at the nearby Brandywine River Museum, or simply visiting in the Chadds Ford area, Brandywine Prime makes a deliciously convenient stopover. Just be advised… while the restaurant serves dinner seven days a week and Sunday brunch from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., lunch is served on Saturdays only beginning at 12:00 noon.

Bon Appétit!


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