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Chester County Restaurants


percyn
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Well I took the plunge and tried the Taste of the Tropics in Phoenixville. I don't know how fair a test it is since my wife and I ordered take out, we just did not have time for a sit down meal, and we have never had fillipino food before so Please do not use my comments to decide whether to try it for yourself because I don't know whether it was good or bad in comparison to other restaurants that sell this kind of food. I was curious as I never had this style of cooking before.

I will say at the beginning that I have purchased items from their little grocery next store for years. The oweners are Very kind friendly people.

I will also say that they were sensitive to the fact we had never tried this kind of food before and tried to make sure we were would come away happy so for service (at least take out) they were very caring.

We ordered four items 2 apps, 2 noodle dishes. They are listed below. The Lumpiang was very good cooked crisp with a mild but satisfying pork filling. We saved two for our daughters the all knowing of dumplings and harsh critics who liked them. I liked the dipping sauce on this on which was a sweet chili sauce with rice vinegar and finely chopped garlic. Sweet, tangy garlic bite was a nice compliment to the dumpling, I wish they gave us more than the small container it came in.

The second dish was also a pork dumpling also fried but in the flavor department there was not much too it, it seemed overcooked and had soaked up quite a bit of oil. The dipping sauce was like the one mentioned above but without the garlic or the vinegar which meant it was pretty one note.

The Chami sa Tasa was very good with lots of flavor. The meat the veg and the noodles were all cooked properly. This was a pleasing dish reminding me of the better Lo Mein's I have had over the years. The quail eggs were a delicious touch.

Last and Least was the Camanava Palabok. It was a rice stick noodle dish that was in a neon yellow sauce. I don't know what it is supposed to taste like but it had a overwhelming taste of fried fermented shrimp paste that we just could not eat. The smell was not very appealling as well. The texture of the rice sticks was not pleasant personally and I would not order this again. We tossed it. It may be a perfect rendition of the dish, I don't know it's just one of those things I think I could ever eat.

In sum I would go back becuase two out of the four dishes were very good and the third not bad and I don't think take out is giving a restaurant, particulary one that appeared interested in pleasing their customer the best chance. There are a number of dishes on the menu I would like to explore.

They are in a challenging location. I hope they make it because it is one more stand alone place that is fighting the good fight against gloppy chain restaurant food.

TASTE OF THE TROPICS

Philippine Island Cuisine)

277 Schuylkill Rd.

Phoenixville, PA 19460

Tel. no. 610-935-1228

http://tasteofthetropicspi.com/taste_of_the_tropics_009.htm

Lumpiang Shanghai - Fried, wrapped ground pork and fresh vegetables served with special sauce

Pork Dumplings Molo Style Fried (or steamed I tried the fried kind) pork dumplings with herbs and spices, served with special dipping sauce

Chami sa Tasa - Caramelized golden brown sauce, saute'ed yellow noodles, glazed onions, topped with quail eggs

Camanava Palabok

Edited by handmc (log)

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Ah, it's been way too long since I did a butt. - Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

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One summers evening drunk to hell, I sat there nearly lifeless…Warren

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  • 4 years later...

Nope you are in the right place. Although much of this topic has migrated to a Philly board.

 

CindyJ, what are your top 3 Chester Co Restaurants?

 

Mine are Laguna Miramare, Junto and Sovana Bistro.

Edited by gfweb (log)
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Nope you are in the right place. Although much of this topic has migrated to a Philly board.

 

CindyJ, what are your top 3 Chester Co Restaurants?

 

Mine are Laguna Miramare, Junto and Sovana Bistro.

I know I posted this before, but that post seems to have vanished, so (copied/pasted from an email note from the mods)...

 

...My top 3 -- certainly Birchrunville Store Cafe would be one.  Sovana Bistro would be another.  I really do like Laguna Miramare -- I think they serve the best seafood for miles around, and Caroline is quite the hostess, but the ambience is lacking.  It runs the gamut from painfully noisy to uncomfortably quiet, and the space itself needs some sprucing up.  So maybe my third pick would be Portabellos in Kennett Square.  The food is always fresh and well-prepared, the space is comfortable and high-energy, and Sandra and Brett, the chef/owner couple, are very welcoming and make a point of chatting with ALL of their customers, wether they're first-timers or "regulars."  I'll add a 4th pick -- the 1906 restaurant at Longwood Gardens.  Oh, and another -- Wyebrook Farm out in Honey Brook.  That's a relatively new find for me and since they raise all of the poultry, beef and pork they serve right there on the farm, they give new meaning to "farm-to-table."

 

Interestingly enough, I've never been to Junto.  I keep thinking we ought to try it, but their online menu never grabs me. 

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One restaurant that doesn't often get mentioned in discussions of Chester County restaurants is Byrsa Bistro in Kennett Square.  I've been there several times and have always been pleased with the food and service, although seating can sometimes be cramped or even awkward (one table sits on a slanted section of floor).  I recently heard (through the Kennett "grapevine") that Byrsa Bistro is for sale; has anyone else heard anything about this?

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I've driven past it a million times. Eaten next to it at La Verona. Never tried it.

La Verona by the way is a better than decent Italian place.

 

I've driven past it a million times. Eaten next to it at La Verona. Never tried it.

La Verona by the way is a better than decent Italian place.

I pretty much stopped going to La Verona when they got their liquor license a few years ago.  As a BYO, I thought it was okay; but I never thought their food was so special that I'd be willing to add $30+ to my tab for a so-so bottle of wine.  I think their food is on par with Antica and Fellini Cafe, both in Chadds Ford and both BYO with no corkage fees.  

 

BTW, if it's chicken parm you're craving, no one in Kennett does it better than Chef Brett at Portabellos.

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I'm the other way. Hate the BYO thing. Just one more hassle. And if I want a cocktail ...

Lol We said that Antica food wasn't worth the byo hassle.

And THAT'S why there's chocolate and vanilla!   :biggrin:

 

BTW, I just took a peek at La Verona's website and did find a reason to return -- I see Jack Marshall performs there on Thursday nights.  I used to take piano lessons from him and my daughter took trumpet lessons with him.  I run into him in Kennett from time to time.  It'll be fun to hear him play (whatever it is he plays there). 

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Went to Junto recently. Nice meal in general. Four of us did the tasting menu. It was served "tapas style"  ie all on one plate that was passed around. This worked fine for some dishes and not at all for others. For example the egg yolk ravioli had a single raviolo sitting on a pile of salady things. How do you divide that among 4 people? And the sea bass was in a nice broth in a big tureen of sorts. On my plate it was a skim of broth with a piece of fish.

 

All of it tasted good but for some of it, the presentation wasn't up to par. Kind of pissed me off actually.

 

Pricewise it was a good deal ~$60 per person for the tasting menu which was a good amount of food and nicely done. I'd just rather not have a family style service.

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Have you tried Laguna Miramare yet?

Highly recommended as long as you don't go on a noisy weekend.  You will only be able to read lips.

Chef/owner Carolyn is a charmer and a fuss-budget when it comes to purchasing fresh fish, etc.

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Have you tried Laguna Miramare yet?

Highly recommended as long as you don't go on a noisy weekend.  You will only be able to read lips.

Chef/owner Carolyn is a charmer and a fuss-budget when it comes to purchasing fresh fish, etc.

We were there for dinner last night.  We sat in the larger dining area with the (slightly) higher ceiling.  In that section there was one table of four, one table of three and two tables of 2 (including ours).  Still, the din was so loud we could hardly hear each other.  There were three occupied tables in the front area.  So it doesn't take a full house, or even a half-full house, to create a roar in that space.  As I've said before, I love the food and love the personal service, but really dislike the ambience (or absence of ambience).

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Ate at the relocated Avalon in West Chester tonight.  Nice place with a number of rooms and a bar. Meager wine list, but at least one can order beer or a cocktail. Pretty big place, but the different rooms keep it fairly intimate. There was live music but it was unobtrusive...took a while before I figured it wasn't recorded...70s and 80s pop covers that were done well....almost couldn't tell it wasn't Hall and Oates. Fall in Philadelphia...timely in a cliched way.

 

Food is sort of the same, but more clearly Italian, with a bigger pasta section...but with less care in presentation. Large portions.  There are steaks available. I had a hanger steak which was a little under-cooked, but still OK.Broccoli rabe was OK. Fingerling potatoes (which I love) were mealy and tasted like dirt (wouldn't be served in my house). My companion had chicken marsala which was served in a bowlish dish atop mashed potatoes and awash in a brownish gravy. He said it was OK. It looked like slop. To their credit they still have cheese and charcuterie as appetizers that the discerning can order instead of dessert.

 

Will I be back? Maybe. But I will order carefully.

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I've been to the "new" Avalon a couple of times and my take has been that it's slipped a couple of notches since their "reinvention."  Avalon was one of my go-to spots before they moved (but, of course that had a lot to do with their BYO status   :biggrin: ).  

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  • 2 weeks later...

We ate at The House of Wm. and Merry tonight.  In my mind it counts as a Chesco restaurant because its only a mile into DE.

 

Great meal as usual. The chef's tasting app board had some nice charcuterie and pickled stuff as a starter, pork loin with celeriac puree was lovely , as was the trout.

 

The waitress was an chummy dipshit (this isn't Applebee's) but she got the food out.

 

I do love this place. No excuse for going so infrequently.

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