La Fava Restaurant & Bar, Glen Mills, PA – A Review

by artfuldiner on August 20, 2019

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

La Fava Restaurant & Bar

1102 Baltimore Pike, #101

Glen Mills, Pennsylvania

(484) 840-8603

La Fava - InteriorHidden away in a small shopping center on Route 1 North, La Fava made its debut in February 2019. And, judging by the crowds I’ve witnessed recently at both lunch and dinner, its Italian Mediterranean fusion cuisine has made quite a splash on the local dining scene. The menu, which draws upon Italian, Greek, Spanish, and Provençal influences, is just broad enough to appeal to a wide range of palates, just focused enough to prevent its culinary reach from exceeding its grasp… And, as you quickly notice, this isn’t your typical bill-of-fare.

La Fava - Pollo RosmarinoThe closest you’ll come to the usual suspects is undoubtedly the Chicken Parmigiana; although, the beautifully fried chicken cutlet topped with melted mozzarella cheese and sided by spaghetti has its own unique charm. But of infinitely more interest, in my opinion, is the Pollo Rosmarino (pictured). The semi-boneless free-range chicken is perfectly roasted, irresistibly moist and succulent, and spruced up with rosemary, loads of Castelvetrano olives, and a splash of white wine. A word about the olives… They hail from Castelvetrano, Sicily, and are produced from the nocerella del belice olive variety. They have a Kermit-green hue, meaty, buttery flesh, and a decidedly mild flavor. They are tender and crisp, almost fruit-like, and their subtle taste and texture will add immeasurably to your enjoyment of this lovingly prepared dish.

La Fava - Salmone Salsa VerdeSeafood selections offer diners a number of impressive permutations. The Caciucco Toscano, for example, is an invigorating take on cioppino, a stew incorporating mussels, clams, calamari, shrimp, and fish fillet in a tasty tomato garlic broth. The Monkfish Ossobuco is presented with crawfish on a bed of sun-dried tomato risotto with a sprinkling of fresh dill and splash of anisette. Then there’s the deliciously photogenic Salmone Salsa Verde (pictured). A crispy skinned filet is set on an island of well-seasoned barley and surrounded by a sea of sweet pea purée.

La Fava - Angus Beef BurgerMeaty matters continue the kitchen’s stimulating take on menu staples. Filleto di Maiale embellishes pork tenderloin with cannellini bean purée, root vegetables, and a seductive sherry thyme jus… while Vitello e Gamberi teams sautéed veal scallopini with shrimp & crawfish in a heady brandy reduction. Even the Angus Beef Burger (pictured) gets the royal treatment with a winning combo of caramelized onion, spicy apple jam, smoked mozzarella, and a tiara of crispy pancetta. And for those with more straightforward appetites, there’s always the Butcher’s Market, the chef’s cut of the day.

La Fava - Tagliatelle w scallops, spinach, tomatoesThe pasta dishes divide their time between classic and innovative presentations. For those who prefer more traditional fare, choices include items such as the Fusilli al Forno with meatballs, San Marzano tomatoes, fontina, and Pecorino Romano and the ever-popular Rigatoni Norma with tender fried eggplant, basil, a rustic tomato sauce, and ricotta salata. For the more adventurous of palate, the Spaghetti Tirreno – a combo of mussels, clams, calamari, shrimp, cherry tomatoes, and white wine saffron broth – should fill the bill quite nicely… ditto Gnocchi Boscaiola, forest mushrooms, mild sausage, and lemon ricotta tinctured with thyme. The table favorite, however, proved to be the special Tagliatelle (pictured) awash with scallops, spinach, and tomatoes swimming in a white wine infused broth.

On the other hand, the Roasted Vegetable Lasagna offers diners a bit of both worlds. While it resembles your standard lasagna awash with San Marzano tomato sauce, the magic lies just below the surface in a winning combo of squash, spinach, and a host of root vegetables. But the pièce de résistance is a decadently rich béchamel sauce, which makes an extraordinarily delicious stand-in for the business-as-usual ricotta.

La Fava - Fritto MistoAntipasti run the gamut – from char-grilled Spanish octopus & salmon carpaccio to Tre Formaggi & Tre Salumi, the chef’s daily selection of three artisanal cheeses and three cured meats, respectively – and, like the entrées, add a few interesting twists and turns to more familiar starters.  The Garden Tempura teams up crisp vegetable chips with tzatziki and sweet pepper dipping sauces. And the not-to-be-missed Fritto Misto (pictured) presents a winning combo of delicately deep-fried calamari, shrimp, and zucchini sticks with a seductive pickled pepper aioli.

La Fava - Poached Pear SaladThe salads here make excellent starters as well. The House Caesar, for example, is accented with shaved Grana Padano, crunchy focaccia crostini, and a beguiling dressing that offers up just the subtlest hint of anchovy. For a more innovative take on greenery, the Dyno Kale Salad incorporates cucumber, sour apple, crispy chickpeas, golden raisins, goat cheese, and a dill-honey lime vinaigrette. But even better, in my opinion, is the Poached Pear Salad (pictured). Here you have an interesting gathering of field greens, strawberries, toasted almonds, and an absolutely irresistible limoncello dressing.

La Fava - Apple TartDesserts, which tend to be more straightforward than either the appetizers or entrées, are well worth considering. There are, of course, the ubiquitous Cannoli and Tiramisu, as well as more upscale choices like the Lemon & Chocolate Capri Cake and Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake. For something light and refreshing, the tangy Lemon Sorbetto can’t be beat… but if you’re prefer a bit more razzle-dazzle, Bananas Foster can be prepared tableside. If, however, the sublimely simple Apple Tarte (pictured) happens to put in a guest appearance as a daily special, don’t hesitate to snatch it up.

La Fava also sports an impressive list of signature cocktails, as well as a number of interesting wines by the glass, including a light & lively Mandrarossa Fiano from Sicily and a smooth and supple “Chronicon” Montepulciano d’Abruzzo courtesy of Zaccagnini. Upon request, there is also a select list of wines available by the bottle.

Note: Since the completion of this review, the restaurant has installed sound absorbing acoustic panels, which significantly cut down on the noise level in the bustling dining room.

 Bon Appétit!


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