2021 Restaurant Redux – Part 2

by artfuldiner on December 15, 2021

in Uncategorized

For your dining pleasure, listed below in alphabetical order are synopses of five (5) of the eleven (11) restaurants reviewed during the year 2021.

Inn at Perry Cabin - ExteriorINN AT PERRY CABIN (September), 308 Watkins Lane, St. Michaels, Maryland, (410) 745-2200, https://innatperrycabin.com: During the latter part of June, my permanent dining partner and I were fortunate enough to escape pandemic blues for three wonderful nights at the Inn at Perry Cabin, which has long enjoyed the reputation of being the top hotel on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. The Inn basically offers guest three dining options: Stars, their gourmet restaurant serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner; Purser’s Pub, offering a menu of locally-inspired small plates, as well as a collection of rare whiskeys and bourbons; and the High Tide Pool Bar, which we did not visit. We found Purser’s to be the perfect spot for a late lunch, afternoon snack, or relaxing libation in the midst of a busy day. The couches and high-top tables are exceedingly comfortable, the service is attentive and personable, and the food quite good. Stars, on the other hand, is something of a mixed bag. Breakfasts served on the restaurant’s outdoor patio are excellent… But the cuisine at dinner has significant ups and downs. Given the picturesque setting – and the picturesque prices – it simply isn’t all that it could be… or should be. Interestingly enough, if you check out Stars’ reviews on Social-Media, Yelp and Tripadvisor, for example, even those people who soundly trashed the restaurant had nothing but praise for the Inn itself. And my dining partner and I feel much the same way. My criticisms of Stars’ cuisine notwithstanding, we would gladly return to the Inn at Perry Cabin at a moment’s notice.


JG Sky High Lounge - ViewJG SKY HIGH LOUNGE & RESTAURANT (November), 1 North 19th Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, (215) 419-5059, https://www.jean-georgesphiladelphia.com/jean-georges-sky-high/: To the extreme disappointment of the area’s culinary cognoscenti, Jean-Georges Philadelphia, located on the penultimate 59th floor of the Four Seasons Hotel in the Comcast Technology Center, remains closed due to the pandemic. The rumor that the restaurant would reopen this fall has, unfortunately, not come to fruition…. In the meantime, situated one floor above, adjacent to the hotel’s reception area, its more casual sibling, JG Sky High Lounge & Restaurant, continues to run at full throttle. The menu, as you would undoubtedly surmise since the restaurant is located within hotel precincts, runs the gamut – from Caviar to Pizza; Crusted Prime Beef Tenderloin to Cheddar Bacon Cheeseburger – and everything I’ve ordered has been attractively presented and incredibly delicious. Popular menu favorites include such items as Roasted Salmon caressed by a flavorful lime-corn broth and Parmesan Crusted Organic Chicken served with artichokes and an addictive lemon-basil sauce. Most recent samplings have offered up an exceptional Zucca Pasta bathed in a light tomato sauce with smoked bacon, slices of jalapeño, and peppery arugula and an exotic Artichoke Tagine, a slow-cooked savory stew adorned with kumquats and Persian cucumbers… The restaurant also features an intriguing collection of cocktails and a select list of wines by the glass… And the down-home desserts are worth saving room for.


Orangery - ExteriorORANGERY: TUSCAN CUISINE GLEN ISLE AT (December), 130 South Lloyd Avenue, Downingtown, Pennsylvania, (484) 401-5554, http://www.orangeryatglenisle.com: Tucked away in Glen Isle, a bit of bucolic bliss just off bustling Business Route 30 on the western fringe of Downingtown, the Orangery is very much a world apart… Drive down a narrow gravel lane and park your car in an unpaved lot next to the stone ruins of an old daily barn. The restaurant itself, a stately stucco mansion, is quite cozy. In a very real sense, the Orangery defies description; and your ultimate opinion of the restaurant will very much depend upon your expectations going in. If you’re anticipating a Michelin-starred experience, you’ve come to the wrong address. With a few exceptions, the homespun Tuscan cuisine, though generally quite good, is hardly memorable. If you have never dined at the Orangery, it is, in my opinion, worth a visit. Given its pastoral setting and homey, unpretentious food and service, it is a delightfully restful step back in time that will do infinitely more to soothe the soul than appease the appetite. Don’t expect too much and you won’t be disappointed.


Seasons 52 - Tomato FlatbreadSEASONS 52 FRESH GRILL & WINE BAR (June), 160 Norrth Gulph Road, Suite 101, King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, (610) 992-1152, www.seasons52.com: Part of the Darden Specialty Restaurant Group, there are currently 42 Seasons 52 locations in the United States. But don’t let corporate convolutions fool you… Good things are happening here. The menu changes four times per year, with the seasons, and the kitchen strives to feature healthy and flavorful ingredients at their seasonal peak. As I mentioned eight years ago in my initial review, if Seasons 52 has a signature dish, it is undoubtedly their irresistible flatbreads – and nothing that has transpired in the interim has changed my opinion. The kitchen also does a good job with soups and salads. But as the restaurant’s culinary strengths remain the same, so do its weaknesses… namely, its entrées. It’s not that the main courses aren’t good; for the most part, they are. They simply are not as good as a number of other presentations. Desserts – or Mini Indulgences, as they are called here – are right back on track. And the restaurant’s top drawer wine list – a recipient of the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence – remains another high point.


Vetri Cucina - Sweet Onion Crepe 2VETRI CUCINA (July), 1312 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, (215) 732-3478, https://vetricucina.com: Tucked away in a stately townhouse – the former home of Georges Perrier’s late, great Le Bec Fin before it moved to its Walnut Street location – Vetri Cucina, which opened its doors in 1988, remains the distinguished flagship of chef/restaurateur Marc Vetri’s restaurant empire. The interior is sedate and sophisticated; the service young, personable, and extremely knowledgeable with regard to both menu and wine list.

The food…? Unfortunately, something of a mixed bag. Appetizers – specifically my dining partner’s Squab en Croûte with rhubarb agrodolce and my Sweet Onion Crepe (pictured) surrounded by a pool of truffle-infused parmesan fondue – were absolutely superlative… ditto several pasta dishes and the positively decadent desserts. On the other hand, the Dover Sole for Two, the special entrée of the evening, was an absolute disaster. In addition to being drowned in a surprisingly viscous sauce overwhelmed with radish slices and a surfeit of capers, the filets were decidedly rubbery, a sure sign of overcooking. Not the kitchen’s finest hour.

Then there was the wine issue… Two white wines offered by the glass were particularly noteworthy… But the $35.00 price per glass was nothing short of outrageous. Couple this with the disappointing Dover sole, and the fact that the check for the evening, including tax & tip, came to over $400.00, and you can understand my mixed emotions.

 Bon Appétit!

Be Safe & Stay Well


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