Limoncello Ristorante & Bar, Chester Springs, PA – A Review

by artfuldiner on October 13, 2018

in Artful Diner Review, Breaking News, Pennsylvania, Review, Wining and Dining

Limoncello Ristorante & Bar

499 East Uwchlan Avenue (Route 113)

Chester Springs, Pennsylvania

(610) 524-3112

Tucked away in a corner of the Lionsville Shopping Center, Limoncello is the younger sibling of the restaurant of the same name located in West Chester, PA. Both establishments are owned by the Mingrino family; and, it should be noted, members of that family – parents, sons and daughter – are very much in evidence, in the kitchen as well as at the front of the house, to make certain that things run smoothly.

Limoncello - BarI first reviewed the restaurant over five years ago and, as several recent visits clearly demonstrated, not a great deal has changed. To the right as you enter is the contemporary Tuscan-esque dining area, replete with nooks & crannies specifically designed for small gatherings; to the left, the bar/lounge awash with high-top tables and four flat screen TVs. This latter space is exceedingly comfortable and, to my way of thinking – especially should you be dining à deux – preferable to the main dining room, which can be overrun by extended families, large parties, and noisy, ill-behaved progeny.  The cuisine remains solidly southern Italian, based upon old family recipes – or updated variations thereof – comfortingly familiar, and, for the most part, very good, indeed.

The thing to keep in mind about Limoncello is that their entrée portions tend to run on the humongous side. So, unless you happen to have the peristaltic capacity of a starving yak, you would do well to consider doggie bags a sine qua non. Given not only the quantity, but also the superior quality of the cuisine, main courses remain a genuine bargain – and, as an added bonus, they will heat up just fine the following evening.

Limoncello - Eggplant Parm DinnerTake that traditional favorite, Eggplant Parmigiana… This may seem like a no brainer; it is, however, a dish that is easily mucked up. Which makes it an excellent test of a kitchen’s mettle… and Limoncello’s passes with flying colors. The eggplant is thinly sliced lengthwise (rather than crosswise), lightly breaded and sautéed until soft (but not mushy!), crowned with melted mozzarella, and companioned by al dente linguine. The smothering of tomato sauce is rich & flavorful and just a touch acidic. An excellent rendition of the Neapolitan classic. The chicken breast, veal cutlet and veal chop are similarly embellished – and equally recommendable.

Limoncello - Chicken MessinaThe Chicken Messina, another bounteous offering, has its own unique appeal. Parmesan-crusted chicken breast is stuffed with asparagus, prosciutto di Parma, and fresh mozzarella, finished with a first-rate caprese cream sauce, garnished with mixed mushrooms and pancetta, and served up with generous tangle of linguine. Needless to say, there’s a helluva lot going on here – and the dish isn’t exactly photogenic – but the sundry elements do work well together (rather than carrying on

Limoncello - Sauteed GrouperThe kitchen also usually cooks up a nightly seafood special, which is always worth checking out. Recently sampled, for instance, was an excellent presentation of Sautéed Grouper. Grouper is a lean, moist, firm-textured fish with a distinctive mild flavor that has often been described as a cross between bass and halibut. And the power-behind-the-stove was wise enough to let that unique flavor speak for itself rather than gussie it up. A splash of lemon butter sauce proved just the right touch… as did a simple seabed of luscious mashed potatoes and extraordinarily tender broccoli rabe. Kudos.

Among the starters, the Arancini, “little oranges,” are something of a must. A specialty of Sicily, these are seasoned risotto croquettes that are filled with beef Bolognese, green peas and mozzarella cheese and then breaded and deep fried to a golden brown. The two orbs sampled were slightly on the bland side but still quite addictive when doused with the accompanying marinara sauce.

On the other hand, since entrées are extremely generous, you may wish to go easy on the apps. A bit of greenery might be just the ticket. The Insalata di Salmon – mixed greens, asparagus, red onions, cherry tomato, cucumber, goat cheese tossed with a honey Dijon balsamic vinaigrette and topped with grilled salmon – which I thoroughly enjoyed, is an excellent choice… but more suited to a substantial lunch or light dinner entrée. My dining partner and I recently decided to share the Insalata Caesar – romaine hearts, herb croutons, shave Reggiano and a light Caesar dressing – which, given the size of the entrées to follow, proved to be just right for both of us.

Limoncello - Limoncello CakeAt this point, talk of dessert may seem totally superfluous…  That being said, however, Limoncello’s sweet endings are really quite good – in addition to being extraordinarily decadent – and are well worth saving room for. Of particular note, for example, is the luscious Bananas Foster Cheesecake, offering up sweet ripe bananas in a creamy New York-style concoction topped with caramel drizzle. But the real star of the show is the delightfully wicked Limoncello Cake (pictured), a rich buttery cake splashed with Limoncello liqueur, filled with chunks of white chocolate, finished off with a Limoncello glaze, and topped with a dollop of vanilla ice cream. Don’t even think about the calories!

Limoncello - Choc Peanut Butter GanacheOn the other hand, if you find the dynamic duo of peanut butter and chocolate impossible to resist, the Chocolate Peanut Butter Ganache will tempt you with homemade velvet chocolate cake filled with creamy peanut butter mousse and a rich icing of semi-sweet chocolate and whipped cream. So, Limoncello or chocolate & peanut butter… a difficult decision, granted… but someone has to make it.

Limoncello is a restaurant that grows on you, a restaurant with which you can easily strike up a long-term love affair, a restaurant that is capable of wooing you back again and again… Why? It’s family-owned; it offers up good food at reasonable prices in comfortable surroundings… and that’s a combo that is hard to beat.

Bon Appétit!


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