Wine 3I tasted quite a number of excellent wines in 2018. And of the more than forty (40) vintages noted throughout the year, the eleven (11) listed below – five (5) white; five (5) red; one (1) Rosé – are particularly recommended.

Please note that prices quoted are approximate, depending upon where the wines are purchased; and, of course, all are subject to change. The prices in states other than Pennsylvania can vary significantly from retailer to retailer. So, it would certainly be to your advantage to spend some time surfing online for the best deals.

FAVORITE WHITE WINES:

2017 Adegas Gran Vinum Nessa Albariño (Spain): Over the past 15 years, Albariño has blossomed into Spain’s most notable white wine and has become exceedingly popular with American wine lovers. One of the consequences of Albariño’s increased popularity is the fact that it is becoming more and more difficult to lay your hands on an acceptable moderately priced bottle. Fortunately, the 2017 Nessa Albariño is a marvelous exception to the general rule. This lovely wine is rife with subtle floral aromas that lead to ripe peach flavors and an incredibly satisfying citrus acidity. The best part, of course, is the reasonable price tag. The 2017 Nessa Albariño is available through Pennsylvania State Stores for a modest $16.99.

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2014 DeMorgenzon “Maestro” (South Africa): “Maestro” is an interesting blend of 26% Roussanne, 25% Chardonnay, 19% Grenache Blanc, 17% Chenin Blanc, and 13% Viognier. Some might call it a “kitchen sink” blend… but the varietals work marvelously well together. This is a delightfully complex and layered wine that offers both weight and elegance with a smooth texture and ripe fruit flavors that are kept in balance via a heady dose of acidity. A soft, flinty character and sweet-spice accents at the finish add to the pleasing texture. 92 points and an “Editors’ Choice” designation from the Wine Enthusiast. $24.99 through PA State Stores.

2014 Joseph Drouhin Chassagne-Montrachet Les Embazées (France): The 2014 Les Embazées, which received 92-94 points from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, is simply a fabulous vintage. The eleven (11) months spent in oak before bottling account for its delightful complexity. And, in contrast to many ponderous California Chardonnays, it possesses body… but seemingly without weight. It is fresh and vibrant on the palate with a wonderful depth of citrus & spice and a long, lingering finish. Even at its current price point – approximately $100.00 – given its incredible quality, it is still something of a bargain. If you are a lover of fine white Burgundies, this wine is something of a must.

2017 Ken Forrester “Petite” Chenin Blanc (South Africa): The spiritual home of the Chenin Blanc grape is the Loire Valley, France. Today, however, 50% of the world’s Chenin Blanc is produced in South Africa. It is a versatile varietal and produces everything from fresh and fruity wines and sparkling tipples to serious rich and luscious desert wines with several decades of aging potential. Wine producer Ken Forrester is affectionately known as “Mr. Chenin Blanc.” His most accessible wine would undoubtedly be his Chenin Blanc Western Cape Petit. And the 2017 vintage is certainly one of the best – and reasonably priced – examples of what Chenin Blanc is capable of. The wine is absolutely exhilarating, rife with refreshing hints of melon & grapefruit that continue to tantalize through to the lively finish. And don’t fret if you can’t find the 2017, as the 2016 Petit is every bit its equal.

Walch, Elena Kristallberg Pinot Bianco2016 Elena Walch “Kristallberg” Pinot Bianco (Italy): A leading wine estate in the Alto Adige region, Elena Walch is also considered one of the finest in Italy. The philosophy of her wine estate is dedicated to terroir – the idea that wines must be the individual expression of their soil, climate, and cultivation in the vineyard – and her wines continue to demonstrate great character, elegance and personality. Her 2016 Pinot Bianco is a special wine, as the grapes are sourced from the estate’s most recent purchase the “Kristallberg” vineyard. This is a lovely, irresistibly quaffable vintage that is especially attractive during the summer months. It has a soft, slightly creamy texture that is beautifully balanced with a crisp acidity and long finish. A delightful wine at a great price point. Available through PA State Stores at $21.99.

 

FAVORITE ROSÉ WINE

2017 Mulderbosch Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé (South Africa): This distinctive Rosé is made from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, which gives it a good deal more body and flavor than most Rosés. Even people who aren’t particularly fond of Rosé wines – like this writer – will find this vintage thoroughly enjoyable. Ninety-five percent of the grapes are picked early and only spend time on the skins as they go through the press. The other five percent are picked when the grapes are riper, which adds additional sweetness to the wine. The color is a vibrant cotton candy pink; the nose rife with berry and cherry aromas; and the palate is delightfully crisp and refreshing with a lively acidity. The 2017 Mulderbosch Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé is a wine well worth seeking out, as it is priced at a mere $13.99 in Pennsylvania State Stores (a few dollars less online).

 

FAVORITE RED WINES:

2013 Allegrini Palazzo della Torre (Italy): Through the years, Palazzo della Torre has always been one of my favorite Italian red wines. A food-friendly blend of 70% Corvina, 25% Rondinella, and 5% Sangiovese, the 2013 is dark and thick in appearance, and the nose exhibits a good deal of power. On the palate, there are waves of ripe fruit and hints of cedar. The wine is medium to full bodied and beautifully balanced. It garnered 92 points (100-point scale) from wine writer James Suckling, who called it “gorgeous.” The best part, of course, is the price… $19.99 when purchased through Pennsylvania State Stores.

BV Tapestry Reserve 20142014 Beaulieu Vineyard BV Reserve Tapestry (California): The Reserve Tapestry is a Bordeaux-like blend of 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Merlot, and an 11% combo of Petit Verdot, Malbec, and Cabernet Franc. There are whiffs of crème de cassis and chocolate on the nose. The palate, on the other hand, is rich and velvety with a long spicy finish. This is an incredibly enjoyable medium-bodied wine that goes down as smooth silk. James Suckling bestowed a whopping 95 points on this hedonistically bewitching beauty; and just one sip and you’ll understand why. It normally retails in the $50.00 to $60.00 range; however, it is $39.99 per bottle when purchased online from www.garyswine.com.

2015 Domaine Lafage “Bastide Miraflors” Vieilles Vignes (France): This wine, as they say, is almost too good to be true. A provocative blend of 70% Syrah and 30% Grenache, the 2015 is rich, ripe, and downright sexy. The color is deep purple with aromas of black fruit and chocolate. This is a deep and luscious wine, seamless and silky, that continues to evolve in the glass. I’ve also tasted the 2013 and 2014 Bastide Miraflors and both are excellent… but the 2015 beats them all. It received 94 points from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, which deemed it a “sensational value that needs to be tasted to be believed.” The price…? A mere $12.99 when purchased online from www.garyswine.com.

L'Ecole - Cabernet2014 L’Ecole No 41 Walla Walla Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (Washington State): A third-generation family-owned artisan winery located in the historic Frenchtown School depicted on their label, L’Ecole No 41 was founded in 1983 in Walla Walla Valley. Their 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon clearly demonstrates why the estate continues to be one of the most respected and honored wineries in Washington State. This is a heady yet elegant Old World-style Cabernet that is blended from multiple sources. There’s a great deal of sweet ripe fruit here, along with a healthy dose of oak aromas and flavors in the background. On all accounts, an excellent wine. Normally retailing around the $40.00 mark, PA State Stores currently have it on sale for $24.99.

2014 Ridge Vineyards “Three Valleys” Sonoma County (California): One of my favorite wines year after year, the 2014 Three Valleys is Ridge’s entry-level Zinfandel-based red wine. A blend of 65% Zinfandel, 17% Petite Sirah, 14% Carignane, and 4% Grenache, this is a value-priced red wine that should be enjoyed while it is young and vibrant. There are very nice floral notes here, as well as a splash of spiciness at the finish. 89 points from the Wine Advocate; $24.99 when purchased through Pennsylvania State Stores.

Cheers!

TAD

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New Year’s Eve Dining at the Kimberton Inn

by artfuldiner on December 28, 2018

in Uncategorized

Kimberton Inn - Interior ChristmasOn Monday, December 31, 2018, the Kimberton Inn, Kimberton, Pennsylvania, will be serving a special four-course prix-fixe New Year’s Eve menu from 5:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.

First Course (Choice of) – Tea Smoked Duck Breast: Fennel & Watercress Salad, Plum Honey Coulis… Beef Tenderloin Medallions: Mushroom Risotto, Truffle Butter… Whole Roasted Heirloom Carrots: Green Pea Purée, Marinated Asparagus, Shaved Radish… Scallop Ceviche: Lime & Grapefruit Dressing, Mango, Sweet Pepper, Red Onion, Avocado, Celeriac… Shrimp & Lobster Bisque: Sherry Poached Lobster, Fines HerbesYellowfin Tuna Tartare: Pears, Ginger, Scallions, Yuzu Vinaigrette… Seared Foie Gras: Toasted Brioche, Pickled Shallot, Banyuls Pan Sauce ($10.00 Supplement)… Shrimp & Crab Cocktail: Cocktail Sauce, Lemon

 Second Course (Choice of) – Roasted Beets & Butternut Squash: Roasted Hazelnut Chevre, Frisée, Baby Arugula… “The Best Salad”: Red Leaf Lettuce, Baby Spinach, Sweet Sesame Walnut Dressing, Tart Apples, Toasted Sunflower Seeds, Aged Gouda Cheese… Bibb Caesar Salad: Focaccia Croutons, Parmesan Cheese… Chopped Salad: Baby Iceberg, Lacinato Kale, Shropshire Blue Cheese, Hard Cooked Egg, Tomato, Kalamata Olives, Baby Green Beans, Dill-Buttermilk Dressing… Rice Noodles: Shredded Carrots, Shaved Radish, Cucumber, Sweet & Spicy Vietnamese Lime Dressing, Basil, Mint, Cilantro, Scallion

 Main Course (Choice of) – Frenched Chicken Breast: Creamed Spinach, Roasted Pearl Onions, Black Trumpet Mushrooms, Marsala Pan Sauce… Cherry Glazed Lamb Chops: Root Vegetable Hash, Roasted Pine Nuts, Rosemary Pesto… Organic Salmon Filet: Parsnip Purée, Roasted Chili Beurre Blanc, Snow Pea Salad… Twin Four Ounce Crab Cakes: Half Pound Maryland Style, French Green Beans, Herb Remoulade… Sautéed Maine Lobster Tails: Brandied Lobster Cream, Peas, Carrots ($10.00 Supplement)… Grilled Eight Ounce Filet Mignon: French Green Beans, Red Potato Au Gratin, Roasted Shall Demi-Glace… Fresh Pasta Ribbons: Asparagus, Caramelized Fennel, Oven-Roasted Tomatoes, Black Garlic Jus

Dessert to Follow…

 The price of the special New Year’s Eve menu is $95.00 per person (plus beverages, tax & gratuity). For more information, or to make reservations, please call the Kimberton Inn at (610) 933-8148.

Bon Appétit!

TAD

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For your dining pleasure, listed below in alphabetical order are synopses of the nineteen (19) restaurants reviewed during the year 2018.

Agave - Cheesecake w Creme Brulee ToppingAGAVE MEXICAN CUISINE, 1620 Baltimore Pike (Route 1), Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, (484) 770-8345, www.agavebyo.com: Located just a stone’s throw from the Brandywine River Museum, this bustling BYOB makes a fabulous stopover for either lunch or dinner. The kitchen knows what it’s about and carries it off with flair and panache. Starters include a benchmark Guacamole; a delightful party dish, Queso Fundido, often compared to a cheese fondue; and the suitable-for-sharing Quinoa Salad, an incomparable combo of pumpkin seeds, avocado, raisins, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, and queso fresco (semi-soft Mexican cheese), all kissed by a seductive lemon vinaigrette. Entrée-wise, seafood – whether the grilled salmon topped with mango pico de gallo or the Bronzino à la Veracruzana – is always an excellent choice, ditto the Taco Tasting Platter. For dessert… when the Cheesecake with Crème Brûlée Topping (pictured) is available, it is not to be missed.

Amani - Grilled Swordfish AMANI’S BYOB, 105 East Lancaster Avenue, Downingtown, Pennsylvania, (484) 237-8179, www.amanisbyob.com : Owned and operated by husband & wife Jonathan and Jeanine Amann, Amani’s is noted for its unique rustic farmhouse charm and its commitment to the farm-to-table movement, utilizing only local farm-fresh, seasonal ingredients in the preparation of Chef Amann’s New American cuisine. Unfortunately, the food is something of a hit or miss proposition. During one visit, my dining partner’s pristinely crunchy Gulf Shrimp and my Grilled Swordfish (pictured) were right on target; on another, the Veal Strip Steak was acceptable but hardly transcendent, and the Long Island Duck Breast was offputtingly chewy and lacked flavor. Starters tend to fare better than the uneven entrées & salads; while, in my opinion, desserts – particularly the rich & creamy Cheesecake and zesty Key Lime Pie – tend to steal the show. I very much enjoy dining at Amani’s; my only regret is that the food isn’t more consistent.

 Amis - Interior - BarAMIS TRATTORIA, 138 West Lancaster Avenue, Devon, Pennsylvania, (610) 590-4782, www.amistrattoria.com/locations/devon: Sequestered amid the pricey flora & fauna of the newly opened Devon Yard, Amis is the victim of its own minimalistic industrial chic décor. High ceilings, hard surfaces (including a hardwood floor), and the lack of tablecloths and window dressings all conspire to turn its dining space into an acoustical nightmare. Even when only partially occupied, the sound reverberates like a broken chainsaw. The menu is quite interesting, denoting a tempting array of antipasti, salads, pizzette, pastas, entrées, and several excellent side dishes… but the food suffers from the most common of restaurant maladies: inconsistency. As of this writing, the pastas, carefully prepared and attractively but simply presented, offer your surest chance of gastronomic satisfaction. At the present moment, Amis Trattoria is the place to be, so expect a youngish, decidedly boisterous crowd with a generous sprinkling of Main Line cougars thrown into the mix. If you’re a people watcher, though, you’ll have a field day.

 At the Table - Foie GrasAT THE TABLE, 11 Louella Court, Wayne, Pennsylvania, (610) 964-9700, www.atthetablebyob.com: Tucked away in a former creperie just off Lancaster Avenue, the rather generic two-toned slate-gray walls of the restaurant’s diminutive dining room – a mere 24 seats – belie the avant-garde artistry of Chef Alex Hardy’s striking Thomas Keller-esque presentations. Despite somewhat mixed reviews, for the most part, I found Mr. Hardy’s au courant approach refreshingly appealing and upbeat. He has a particular gift for bringing out the very best in seafood. Highly enjoyable were his Seared Scallops teamed with wild mushrooms, celery root purée, and a tantalizingly spicy chorizo dust. Even better was his incomparable Red Snapper companioned by avocado salsa, mango purée, and splash of red chili oil. Starters sampled included a simple but sublime Burrata and Tomato Salad and positively exquisite Hudson Valley Foie Gras (pictured). Dessert-wise, his Chocolate and Key Lime Tarts were both superb. BYOB.

Beaver Creek Tavern - Dark Choc Cake w Peanut Butter IcingBEAVER CREEK TAVERN, 1350 Bondsville Road, Downingtown, Pennsylvania, (484) 593-0481, www.beavercreek-tavern.com: The Beaver Creek Tavern – formerly Bacon’s Tavern and the Kings Highway Inn – may seem like just another run-of-the-mill “happy-tappy,” but if you happen to be cruising anywhere in the area, it’s a great stopover for lunch, dinner, or a midafternoon snack. The “Pub Grub” rounds up all the usual suspects – nachos, quesadillas, burgers, sandwiches, wraps, etc. – although they’re a good deal better than most representatives of the genre. At dinner, however, the kitchen does become a bit more adventurous, offering up a variety of beef, chicken, seafood, and pasta dishes. As an added bonus, you will find the desserts here surprisingly good. The Carrot Cake is a real winner. On the other hand, if you’re a bit of a peanut butter freak – as I am – the Dark Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Icing (pictured) is something of a must. Forget the calories… just go for it!

Bunha Faun - Snow PeasBUNHA FAUN, 152 Lancaster Avenue, Malvern, Pennsylvania, (610) 651-2836, www.bunhafaun.net: The quality of the food at Bunha Faun has never been an issue. For the most part, I consider the Asian-influenced French cuisine top-of-the-line. The Snow Pea Salad (pictured), sublime in its simplicity, is a marvelous starter, as are the Oriental Noodles, Green Angel Hair, and Crab Ravioli. Highly recommended entrées include Escalop of Veal, Sweet Red Pepper Shrimp, and Barramundi, a recent fish of the day selection… Unfortunately, the service, in many cases due to lack of adequate personnel, has often been a recurring problem. This criticism also extends to the kitchen staff, which means the speed at which your orders arrive at table can be somewhat slower than a herd of turtles. Given the restaurant’s eccentricities, is it worth a visit…? Yes, in my opinion… But just be prepared for disappointment.

 Chow Bistro - Braised Beef Short RibsCHOW BISTRO, 454 Main Street, Collegeville, Pennsylvania, (484) 902-8495, www.chowbistro.com: My initial review of Chow Bistro was posted in August 2014. In the interim, the restaurant’s interior has changed not at all. Well-spaced tables are complemented by a decorative potpourri of paintings, wall screens and assorted objects d’art… And the cuisine remains similarly eclectic, ranging from Thai red curry to fish tacos to hand-cut pappardelle to Moroccan lamb meatballs to center-cut filet mignon. A recent return visit proved something of a mixed bag, with a marvelous presentation of Braised Beef Short Ribs (pictured) and an absolutely terrible Adobo Rubbed Grilled Swordfish that was dry, chewy, and totally lacking in flavor. Desserts, however, are always worthy of consideration, especially the decadent Chocolate Terrine Napoleon, which features peanut butter mousse sandwiched between two slices of dense dark chocolate cake. Just be aware of the noise factor… The ceiling is low, the surfaces hard; and, when the joint is jumpin’, the decibel level is, indeed, formidable. BYOB.

Cotoletta - Interior COTOLETTA, 201 Jefferson Street, Belmont Hills, Pennsylvania, (610) 660-5224, www.cotoletta.net: Tucked away in the Belmont Hills, the 90-seat BYOB made its debut in January 2016 and has been packing them in ever since. The restaurant’s homey interior – replete with an interesting array of unmatched tables and chairs, geometric light fixtures, splashes of deep blue & scintillating white, and oodles of fresh sunflowers – is as rustic and unpretentious as chef/proprietor Beth Amadio’s cuisine. Ms. Amadio, a self-taught chef, presents a menu that is filled with great tasting quality-driven Italian/American comfort food taken to the max…. And the cotolette – cutlets (veal or chicken) sliced thin, pounded thinner, and served up with a side of pasta marinara – are clearly the center of attention… But Cotoletta is more than just a one-hit wonder; so, be sure to check out some of the other entrées, particularly the special fish of the day. Desserts take somewhat of a backseat here, but the House-Made Cannoli, filled with light & decadent ricotta-based sweet cream, is always highly recommended.

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Davio's KOP - Spring RollsDAVIO’S NORTHERN ITALIAN STEAKHOUSE, 200 Main Street, King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, (610) 337-4810, https//davios.com/kop: Contemplating a visit to Davio’s? There are several things to keep in mind… First of all, the restaurant is cavernous and extremely noisy…. Secondly, there is absolutely no question that dining here is an expensive proposition. These caveats notwithstanding, Davio’s does serve up some excellent cuisine; and their portion allotments, given the elevated price points, are quite generous. Must-try starters include the fabulous Philly Cheese Steak Spring Rolls (pictured) and the even-more-fabulous Crispy Chicken Livers tossed with roasted pine nuts, splashed with an addictive port wine balsamic glaze, and crowned with deep fried spinach leaves. As you move on to the entrées, all the usual meaty suspects are present and accounted for, with the Sautéed Veal Tenderloin especially recommended. Among the Pesce offerings, be sure to give the Georges Bank Sea Scallops a try. Feel free to skip dessert, but be sure to check out the superlative Italian wine list.

Fattoush - Lebanese MezzaFATTOUSH MEDITERRANEAN CUISINE, 182 Lancaster Avenue, Malvern, Pennsylvania, (484) 568-4465, https://fattoushhealthydining.com: Fattoush is one of those hidden gems that operates under most people’s radar. You could probably pass by the restaurant a dozen times without giving it a second thought. Stuck in the middle of a series of nondescript strip malls, its exterior isn’t particularly prepossessing… neither is the utilitarian interior, awash with unadorned tables and minimalist décor…. But looks are definitely deceiving. The magic here is clearly in the fresh, vibrant, made-from-scratch Mediterranean cuisine (with particular emphasis on Lebanese). Modest prices will add significantly to your enjoyment, as well as the fact that you may tote along your own wine. To start things off, the Lebanese Mezza (shared platter, pictured) is something of a must. As you move on to the entrées, the Shawarma dishes – thin slices of spiced and marinated meats and poultry served as a sandwich, wrap, or on a platter with various accompaniments – are clearly the way to go here. Dessert-wise, stick with the traditional Baklava and you won’t be disappointed.

 Il Granaio - Fritto Misto di VedureIL GRANAIO ITALIAN RESTAURANT & BAR, 184 Bridge Street, Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, (484) 924-8423, www.ilgranaiopa2.com: Tucked away in the basement level of the Mainstay Hotel, the space formerly occupied by Pepperoncini Sotto, Il Granaio, owned by chefs Josh Friedberg & Gent Mema, is the younger sibling of the Il Granaio in Glen Mills and Antica in Chadds Ford. The menu and presentations are basically the same as the Glen Mills establishment with a few minor tweaks here and there. The Fritto Misto di Vedure (pictured), for example, is always a favorite starter. Freshly cut zucchini, yellow squash, bell peppers, carrots, Brussels sprouts, and onions are deep fried and served with a tantalizingly zippy caramelized shallot and sage aioli. The pasta dishes here are outstanding. The Rigatoni alla Norma, for example, combines homemade pasta and sumptuously seasoned morsels of sautéed eggplant in an enticing garlic & onion Pomodoro sauce with a creamy dollop of herbed ricotta cheese providing the perfect crowning touch. Even the most pedestrian of presentations – the humble Chicken Parmigiana – hits all the right notes… And to finish things off, nothing quite tops the light and luscious Lemon Cream Cake.

Il Melograno - Tuna CarpaccioRISTORANTE IL MELOGRANO, 73 Old Dublin Pike, Doylestown, Pennsylvania, (215) 348-7707, www.ilmelogranodoylestown.com: Tucked away in the Mercer Square Shopping Center, this charming BYOB is conveniently located just a little over a mile from the James Michener Art Museum… And don’t let that utilitarian strip mall façade fool you. Once across the threshold, you’ll find the interior, warm, welcoming and comfortingly romantic. The printed menu contains many of the usual Italian suspects… all carefully prepared and presented. But always keep your eyes peeled for the chef’s more innovative daily specials, as they are clearly where the action is. Like the Tuna Carpaccio (pictured), a fabulous appetizer… ditto the Calamari Fritti, incomparably tender rings served with a zesty marinara for dipping. Entrée-wise, the Vitello alla Siciliana is not to be missed. Tender segments of veal are gently sautéed and then topped with thin slices of eggplant, mozzarella, garlic, and finished with fresh diced tomatoes. As comfortingly homey as it is delicious. In the pasta department, the Pappardelle al Cinghiale, pappardelle with wild boar ragù, is rich and abundantly flavorful. For dessert, be sure to try the incredible, over-the-top, more-than-suitable-for-sharing Napoleon.

Kimberton Inn - Main Dining RoomKIMBERTON INN, 2015 Kimberton Road, Kimberton, Pennsylvania, (610) 933-8148, www.kimbertoninn.com:  My initial review of the Kimberton Inn was posted in January 2015, followed by a retrospective of their wine dinner in December of the same year. And I have always been extremely impressed by the quality of the cuisine served up by Executive Chef Jim Trainer, the restaurant’s power-behind-the-stove since 1990. But the Inn’s loyal patrons – this writer included – are still buzzing over Mr. Trainer’s astoundingly abrupt departure and the promotion of Tom Wolter, Mr. Trainer’s second-in-command for over five years, to the position of executive chef. If owner Jeff Effgen is counting on Mr. Wolter to add a bit more razzle-dazzle to the Inn’s American-style menu, then he is, unfortunately, attempting to fix what isn’t broken. Indeed, having sampled Mr. Wolter’s cuisine on several occasions recently, I can state unequivocally that, at this point in time, his offerings simply haven’t demonstrated the same level of subtle sophisticated flair as those of his predecessor.

Limoncello - Choc Peanut Butter GanacheLIMONCELLO RISTORANTE & BAR, 499 Uwchlan Avenue, Chester Springs, Pennsylvania, (610) 524-3112, https://limoncellorestaurant.com: 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. I first reviewed the restaurant over five years ago and, as several recent visits clearly demonstrated, not a great deal has changed. 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. Entrées like Eggplant Parmigiana and Chicken Messina, parmesan-crusted chicken breast stuffed with asparagus, prosciutto di Parma and fresh mozzarella and finished with a first-rate caprese cream sauce, are traditional favorites here… ditto the daily seafood specials. Desserts, including a decadent Chocolate Peanut Butter Ganache (pictured above) are always worth saving room for.

Louette's - Chef Steve HowellsLOUETTE’S BYO, 106 Bridge Street, Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, (484) 924-9906, www.louettesbyo.com: Louette’s BYO, which made its debut on January 18, 2018, inhabits the Bridge Street space formerly occupied by the long-running Marly’s. Chef Steve Howells, whose culinary training is classic French, serves up a variety of imaginative eclectic fare in his cozy bistro, his small plates menu awash with Asian, Middle Eastern, Italian and American influences. His tasting menu categories – Simple; Noodles; Conversation Starters; and More like Mains – invite diners to put aside the conventional appetizer-entrée scenario for an evening and do a bit of spirited gastronomic grazing… And the best (and most economical) way to experience the chef’s handiwork is to build your own four-course tasting menu with one selection from each category, priced at $45.00 per person (you also have the option of substituting a dessert as one of your selections). The menu is continually changing, so be sure to consult the restaurant’s website for the most up-to-date information.

Main & Vine - Pizza BarMAIN & VINE CALIFORNIA BISTRO, 789 East Lancaster Avenue, Villanova, Pennsylvania, (484) 380-3688, www.mainandvinebistro.com: The sleek, modern, open-floor restaurant interior, which, among its other decorative embellishments, boasts a 26-seat curvaceous bar, adjoining lounge, main & side dining rooms, and 12-seat pizza bar (pictured), still somehow manages to exude a certain bistro-esque char… But the atmosphere here is also decidedly “bustling” and the noise level can be somewhat “daunting.” A great place to chow down with a group; however, Main & Vine’s seating arrangements are not particularly conducive to the intimacy of dining à deux. Although billed as a “California Bistro,” the cuisine proper would best be described as eclectic with a variety of intriguing – French, Italian, Latin, Asian, American – subtitles. And while Executive Chef John Vogt’s contemporary dishes are obviously carefully prepared and artfully presented, there are times when they could do with a touch less innovation. Desserts are a high point… the wine list passable.

Russet - Cape May FlukeRUSSET, 1521 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, (215) 546-1521, www.russetphilly.com: Domiciled in a stately 1877 townhouse just a few steps from the Kimmel Center, Russet is a farm-to-table restaurant, its daily-changing menu shaped by the best produce, dairy products, grains, and whole animals local farmers have to offer. Chef-proprietors Andrew & Kristin Wood are totally dedicated to the approximately 250 individual small farms with which they deal directly. In turn, their patrons are served the freshest high-quality ingredients available. Among the appetizers, variations on the pasta theme are always a big draw. Entrée-wise, matters piscatorial are well represented, including local sourced items like Barnegat Light Scallops and Cape May Fluke (pictured above). Desserts, like the other offerings at Russet, change daily based upon the availability of local and seasonal ingredients. The service here is extremely pleasant & knowledgeable, the prices – especially considering the fact that you are dining in Center City – quite reasonable and, as an added bonus, you may BYOB.

Twelves - Portobello FriesTWELVES GRILL & CAFE, 10 Exchange Place, West Grove, Pennsylvania, (610) 869-4020, www.twelvesgrill.com: Making its debut in the tiny hamlet of West Grove in 2008, Twelves is housed in the venerable old Sovereign Bank building, which was originally constructed in 1883. Chef/co-owner Tim Smith, a graduate of the Art Institute of Philadelphia, whose credentials include the Dilworthtown Inn, Farmhouse Restaurant and Back Burner Restaurant, brings a great deal of creativity to the kitchen, though is approach is decidedly casual. His Crispy Parmesan Crusted Chicken, for example, is sublime in its simplicity… ditto his Pasta du Jour, fettuccine tossed with shrimp, tomatoes and baby spinach. Starters are consistently first-rate, particularly the Portobello Fries. Thick slices of portobello mushroom are rolled in seasoned breading, deep fried, and served up with a zippy sriracha aioli. Desserts alternate between in-house creations and items from Wilmington’s Sweet Somethings gourmet bakery. BYOB.

Volver - Deviled EggVOLVÉR, 300 South Broad Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, (215) 670-2302, www.philadelphia.volverrestaurant.com: Tucked into Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center, Jose Garces’ Volvér made its debut in April 2014 to mixed reviews. Trey Popp of Philadelphia magazine loved it; Craig LaBan of the Inquirer was somewhat less than complimentary. What else is new? I found Volvér’s exquisitely-plated innovative seasonally-driven cuisine to be the perfect prelude to an evening with the Philadelphia Orchestra. The portion sizes are on the diminutive side, subtle in their preparation and as artistic and attractive to the eye as they are pleasing to the palate. The à la carte menu is just right for some spirted mix ‘n match grazing; and the three-course pre-theater menu is a bargain, indeed. While perusing the menu and sipping an Amoxicillin – a classy cocktail constructed with gin, lemon, ginger, honey, and 10-year-old Laphroaig – be sure to sample the dreamily decadent Deviled Egg (pictured above). Filled with silky duck liver mousse spiked with Pedro Ximénez Sherry, one bite of this irresistible treat will have you placing another order at the speed of light.

Bon Appétit!

TAD

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Nicholas - New Year's EveOn Monday, December 31, 2018, Restaurant Nicholas in Red Bank, New Jersey, will be serving a special three-course New Year’s Eve menu with a Champagne toast at midnight.

First Course (Choice of) – Pan Seared Scallops: “Carolina Hoppin’ Joh,” Crispy Pork Belly, Smoked Paprika… House-Made Cavatelli: Pickled Enoki Mushrooms, Fontina Cheese… Filet Mignon Tartare: Caramelized Onion Brodo, Crispy Shallot… Seared Foie Gras: Winter Squash Mole, Dark Chocolate, Masa Tuile… Gin-Cured Salmon Gravlax: Everything Bagel Spice, Hackleback Caviar… Baby Field Greens: Caramelized Hazelnuts, Beaufort Cheese

Second Course (Choice of) – Pan Roasted Filet Mignon: Piquillo Pepper Romesco, Bone Marrow Crumbs… Butter Poached Nova Scotia Lobster: Smoked Potato Mousseline, Crispy Leek… Braised Buffalo Short Rib: Heirloom Broccoli, Burnt Onion Purée… Bourbon Braised Suckling Pig: Parisienne Apples, Toasted Pecans, Maple JusPan Roasted Monkfish: Butternut Squash Tikka Masala, Honey Roasted Peanuts… Pan Seared Black Bass: Sunchoke Purée, Bacon, Grilled Radicchio

Dessert Course – Special New Year’s Eve Dessert Tasting

The cost of the New Year’s Eve menu is $135.00 per person (plus beverages, tax & gratuity). For more information, or to make reservations, please call (732) 345-9977.

Bon Appétit!

TAD

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Crystal Springs - New Year's Eve BiosphereOn Monday, December 31, 2018, Crystal Springs Resort in Hamburg, New Jersey, will be offering a variety of New Year’s options, from family friendly events to parties for those 21 and over.

CELEBRATING WITH FAMILIES: Crystal Tavern and Emerald Ballroom at Grand cascades Lodge and Diamond Ballroom, Copper Room and Kites Restaurant at Minerals Hotel will host dinners and parties for all ages.

At Crystal Tavern and the Rotunda, there will be a cocktail reception with a premium open bar and passed hors d’oeuvres from 8:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. This will be followed by a sit-down dinner and dancing at 9:00 p.m. ($155.00 for ages 12 and over; $55.00 for children 4-11)

Diamond Ballroom will offer two seatings for a family-style buffet at 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. and (9:00 p.m. – 1:00 a.m. Both include DJ, cash bar dancing, games, roaming magician, balloon artist and more. The late seating also includes a family party from 11:00 p.m. – 1:00 a.m. with a midnight sundae bar, hats & noisemakers, and big screen TV to watch the Times Square ball drop. The early seating is $85.00 for those 12 and over; $35.00 for ages 4-11; th later seating is $95.00 for 12 and over and $50.00 for 4-11.

The Copper Room will serve a family-style buffet from 8:00 – 11:00 p.m. with DJ entertainment, a cash bar and dancing ($45.00 for 12 and over; $25.00 for ages 4-11)

Kites Restaurant will serve a five-course meal with a cash bar ($95.00 for ages 12 and over; $115.00 including optional wine pairing; $25.00 for children 11 and under. Plus, those seated after 9:00 p.m. and 21 years of age may stay at their table until midnight without paying the $25.00 cover charge for the Kites Bar New Year’s Eve party.

Grand Cascades’ Emerald Ballroom offers two options to celebrate. From 6:30 p.m. – 1:00 a.m. on New Year’s Eve, there will be a ballroom family party with a cocktail reception and premium open bar and passed hors d’oeuvres followed by a lavish sit-down dinner and dancing at 7:30 p.m. with live entertainment by Total Eclipse ($155.00 for ages 12 and over; $50.00 for children 4-11). On New Year’s Day, there will be a grand brunching serving cheeses and veggies, soup, a seafood bar, hot & cold buffet, carving stations, and dessert station – plus champagne & mimosas. Brunch is $42.95 for ages 12 and over; $19.95 for ages 4-11. A cash bar will also be available.

 

CELEBRATIONS FOR THOSE 21 AND OVER: Springs Bistro, Restaurant Latour, Kites, and the Biosphere will offer various events.

The Biosphere will be hosting an After Glow Party from 9:00 p.m. – 1:00 a.m. with DJ, dancing, live entertainment, passed hors d’oeuvres, appetizer buffet from 9:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m., premium open bar, midnight champagne toast and big screen TVs to watch the Times Square ball drop.

Springs Bistro will serve a five-course Italian dinner with two options for early seatings at 5:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.; and two options for later seatings at 8:00 p.m. – 10:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. -11:00 p.m. $235.00 per person for dinner, live entertainment, plus entry to the Biosphere party.

Restaurant Latour will pull out all the culinary stops with a five-course dinner in its exciting new setting. The early seatings are from 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. and late seatings at 8:00 p.m., 8:15 p.m., 9:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m.

Bon Appétit!

TAD

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Davio's KOP - Interior, BarOn New Year’s Eve, Monday, December 31, 2018, Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, will be serving a special four-course prix-fixe menu* from 5:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m.

Antipasto: Lobster Bisque, Caviar Crostini

Farinaceo: King Crab Torteloni, Uni Butter, Aleppo Pepper

Piatto del Giorno: Center Cut Filet Mignon, Shrimp, Purple Fingerling Potatoes, Rapini, Barolo

Dolce: Salted Caramel, Nutella Budino

The cost of the special New Year’s Eve menu is $85.00 per person (plus beverages, tax & gratuity). *The à la carte dinner menu will also be available.

For more information, or to make reservations, please call (610) 337-4810.

Bon Appétit!

TAD

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New Year’s Eve Dining at Alfredo BYO

by artfuldiner on December 19, 2018

in Uncategorized

CHAMPAGNEOn Monday, December 31, 2018, Alfredo Italian BYO, 668 Lancaster Avenue, Berwyn, Pennsylvania, will be serving a special four-course New Year’s Eve menu, which will include a complimentary glass of Champagne…

Italian Antipasto – Parma Prosciutto, Parmigiano Cheeses, Olives

Second Course (Choice of) – Tomato Crab BisqueDiver Sea Scallops: Grilled and Served with Wild Mushrooms, Asparagus Risotto, Balsamic Reduction, White Truffle Oil… Burrata: Creamy Mozzarella with Fig Balsamic Reduction, Red Beets, Pistachios… Insalata di Baby Spinaci: Spinach, Candied Walnuts, Apples, Goat Cheese, Fig Dijon Vinaigrette… Shrimp Lejon Shrimp wrapped in Bacon, Fried, Fig Marmalade Dipping Sauce… Calamari & Gamberi: Charred Calamari and Shrimp, Butter Beans… Crispy Artichoke: Cornmeal Dusted Artichoke Hearts, Lemon Zucchini Purée… Gnocchi Sorrentino: House-Made Gnocchi, San Marzano Pomodoro, Burrata

Third Course (Choice of) – Rack of Lamb: Oven Roasted with Rosemary, Mint, Cognac Sauce… Filet Mignon: Certified Angus Beef, Barolo Black Peppercorn Sauce… Salmone Agrodolce: Fresh Grilled Filet of Salmon, Sweet Mustard Agrodolce, Pistachio dust… Agnolotti: Sausage, Sun-Dried Tomato Basil Pesto Sauce… Osso Bucco: Truffle Infused Veal Shank with Homemade Fettuccine… Crab Ravioli: House-Made Jumbo Lump Crabmeat, Sweet Peas… Red Snapper: Cherry Tomatoes, Asparagus, Shrimp, Crabmeat, Lemon Butter Sauce… Chicken Rustico: Pan Seared Chicken Breast, Apples, Bacon Honey Dijon Cream Sauce

Dolci – Assorted House-Made Desserts from the Pastry Chef

The price of the New Year’s Eve menu is $65.00 per person (plus beverages, tax & gratuity). Alfredo is a BYOB restaurant. For more information or to make reservations, please call (610) 640-2962.

Bon Appétit!

TAD

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Davio's King of Prussia, PAOn Christmas Eve, Monday, December 24, 2018, Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, will be serving the traditional Feast of Seven Fishes from 5:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Primo: Fritto Misto, Rock Shrimp, Oysters, Calamari, Calabrian Chili Aioli

Secondo: Steamed Maine Mussels, Prosecco, Grilled Lemon, Herb Butter

Piatto Della Vigilia: Squid Ink Conchiglie, Bay Scallops, Lobster, Lump Crab, Aqua Pazza, Basil Oil

The price of the Feast of Seven Fishes is $75.00 per person (plus beverages, tax & gratuity). Davio’s regular à la carte dinner menu will also be available.

For more information, or to make reservations, please call (610) 337-4810.

Bon Appétit!

TAD

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Louette's - InteriorOn New Year’s Eve, Monday, December 31, 2018, Louette’s BYO, 105 Bridge Street, Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, will be serving a special six-course dinner menu…

Amuse

First Course (Choice of): Scallop Crudo, Lime, Asian Pear, Habañero, Sorrel… Foie Gras Terrine, Banana Bread, Granola, Cranberry, Pomegranate

Second Course (Choice of): Lobster Soup, Brioche, Saffron, Bacon… Croque Monsieur, Duck Ham, Challah Toast, Brie, Grain Mustard

Third Course (Choice of): Local Mushroom Risotto, Truffle Butter, Confit Rabbit, Locatelli… House Fettuccini, Escargot, Parsley, Roasted Garlic, Rosemary Breadcrumbs

Fourth Course (Choice of): Pan Roasted Sirloin, Smoked Potatoes, Broccolini, Black Trumpet Mushroom… Olive Oil Poached Halibut, Kale, Brussels Sprouts, Carrot Jus

Fifth Course: Birchrun Hill Blue Cheese, Olive Oil Jam, Micro Greens, Clementine

Sixth Course (Choice of): Vanilla-Buttermilk Panna Cotta, Maple Coffee Crumble… Sicilian Pistachio Sponge Cake, Dark Chocolate, Apple, Kumquat, Golden Raisin.

The price of the New Year’s Eve menu is $85.00 per person (plus beverages, tax & gratuity). Louette’s is a BYOB restaurant. For more information, or to make reservations, please call (484) 924-9906.

Bon Appétit!

TAD

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Vickers Restaurant - InteriorOn Monday, December 31, 2018, Vickers Restaurant & Bar, 192 East Welsh Pool Road, Exton, Pennsylvania, will be serving a special New Year’s Eve menu with seatings at 5:00 p.m., 7:00 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.

Appetizer Selections – Escargots de Bourgogne: Garlic, Champagne, Herbes de Provence… Shrimp Cocktail: Bloody Mary Cocktail Sauce… Lenten Soup: A Traditional New Year’s Eve Dish for Good Luck… Lobster Bisque: Touch of Champagne… Farmhouse Salad: Blue Cheese, Roasted Beets, Candied Walnuts… Caesar Salad: Vickers Homemade Dressing, Seared Salmon, Wilted Greens, Pernod Butter

Entrée Selections – Vickers Crab Cakes: Jumbo Lump Crab, Whole Grain Mustard Sauce… Pan-Seared Duck Breast: Farro Risotto, Brandied Cherries, Seasonal Vegetables… Roasted Rack of Lamb: Rosemary, Thyme, Mustard, Port Wine Reduction… Filet Mignon Béarnaise: Truffled Pommes Purée… Beef Wellington: Puff Pastry, Truffle Pâté, Sauce Chasseur… Wild Mushroom Ravioli: Wild Mushrooms, Parmesan Cream Sauce

Dessert Selections – Floating Islands: Crème Anglaise, Fresh Berries… Apple Strudel: Madagascar Vanilla Ice Cream… Chocolate Mousse Cake: Raspberry Coulis… Crème BrûléeNew York Style Cheesecake

The price of the three-course dinner at the first seating is $75.00 per person (plus beverages, tax & gratuity). The price of the three-course dinner at the second and third seatings with live music is $85.00 per person (plus beverages, tax & gratuity). For more information, or to make reservations, please call (610) 363-7998.

Bon Appétit!

TAD

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