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Chester County Restaurants


percyn
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Last week my wife and I went to Allegria, an Italian restaurant in Exton.

I had a swiss chard (and something) soup, which was a special

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Along with ribbon pasta in a marinara sausage sauce.

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She had Bruschetta

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with rigatoni in a vodka cream sauce

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This is a BYO, so we enjoyed a 2001 LeSalette Valpolicella Ripasso I Progni

Since it was a weekday, the place was not busy (we were 1 of 2 couples). This place can get busy on the weekends.

Overall a good experience, with plenty of food left over for the next day.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Had an excellent meal at Alba in Malvern tonight.

Complimentary demitasse cup of potato leek soup. Solid, maybe better suited for colder weather, but nice nonetheless.

We shared their antipasto, which changes daily but usually has this kind of variety:

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Duck Confit with Fava Beans and Pimento up front, Crostini with Brandade the the left, Speck with Shaved Fennel on the right, Wood-Grilled Shrimp with Romesco Sauce in the middle, Tuna with Haricots Vertes blurred-out in the back. Everything was delicious, light, and spring-like. The duck in particular was amazing, the favas and peppers lightening and brightening it. The brandade was a little on the mild side, more potato than salt cod, but still a nice starter.

Halibut with Purée of Spring Peas, Risotto-style Orzo, Fennel.

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The photo doesn't do justice to how lovely this dish was. And it tasted every bit as good as it looked: light, flaky fish with a golden crust, over a bank of sweet, fresh pea clouds. The orzo was creamy, like a risotto, and studded with more of those tender peas. Shaved fennel root and the delicate fronds gave a bit of a bite. Beautifully executed with great ingredients, can't ask for more than that.

Grilled Breast of Duck, Confit Duck Salad, Kumquat, Chestnut Pancake.

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Once again, the photo doesn't quite communicate the attractiveness of the plating. (Sorry, the light was pretty low, this is largely illuminated by the candles on our table!) The breast was tender, juicy, and perfectly medium, as requested. The vivid kumquat sauce had a pleasing, slightly bitter edge that played nicely with the rich meat. Flavorful shreds of leg meat were mixed in with frisée, nuts, and a light vinaigrette to create a nicely contrasting texture, temperature and taste. The chestnut pancake was soft and pillowy, like an ideal breakfast pancake, but with a nutty undertone that complimented the duck breast and fruity sauce. Excellent.

Sadly, too stuffed for dessert. Really. What?!?! That was a lot of food. We really didn't have dessert.

Very good service, nice vibe overall, good music. Worth a trip. I'm sure they're jammed on weekends, but we slipped in on short notice on a weeknight.

Edited by philadining (log)

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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  • 2 weeks later...

Recently, my wife and I visited Places Bistro in Malvern / Frazer. This was our first visit there on a weekday and I think they only have a small portion of their dining room open:

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Our dinner consisted of

Duck Rillettes - Quite a large portion for an appetizer and quick delicious.

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Goat cheese salad - nothing memorable.

Scallops with chestnut fettucini - The sauce was excellent, but the pasta was a bit tooo al dente and had more than a bite to it.

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Halibut and asparagus on sundried tomato pesto - The pesto great with a good amount of pine nuts, which I love. However. the fish seemed to have a weird odor to it.

gallery_21049_398_57420.jpg

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Recently, my wife and I visited Places Bistro in Malvern / Frazer. This was our first visit there on a weekday and I think they only have a small portion of their dining room open:

gallery_21049_398_41167.jpg

Our dinner consisted of

Duck Rillettes - Quite a large portion for an appetizer and quick delicious.

gallery_21049_398_3438.jpg

Goat cheese salad - nothing memorable.

Scallops with chestnut fettucini - The sauce was excellent, but the pasta was a bit tooo al dente and had more than a bite to it.

gallery_21049_398_51057.jpg

Halibut and asparagus on sundried tomato pesto - The pesto great with a good amount of pine nuts, which I love. However. the fish seemed to have a weird odor to it.

gallery_21049_398_57420.jpg

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi, this is my first post!!

I went to the High Street Caffe in West Chester on Saturday 5/6/06. It's a small BYOB with cajun-themed dining. I was very impressed with the food, although the service lagged a bit.

I ordered the Grilled Portobella and Smoked Mozerella Salad to start. It was BIG! This is a good salad to share with someone. The portobella was juicy and delicious, and the smoked mozerella was a wonderful complement. Awesome starter. For the main course, they prepared a "Veggie Saute" for me, which is not featured on the menu. I am a vegetarian who eats fish, but after a case of mild food poisoning due to some iffy seafood two nights previous at Lourdas Restaurant, my stomach begged me to play it safe. Artichoke hearts, string beans, sun dried tomatoes, and onions were sauteed with fetuccini in a garlic infused olive oil. Very nice!

Here's a question for you.....is it necessary to FRY cheesecake? The High Street Caffe felt the need, and resultantly turned out one of the best desserts I've ever experienced. And I'm a dessert chef, so I've had my share of the sweet stuff. The Banana Fosters Fried Cheesecake features cheescake wrapped in a pastry shell and fried until golden brown and delicious. So you've got this warm and crispy outside with a creamy cheesecake interior. Mmmm, just thinking about it makes me drool. It's topped with classic bananas foster: brown sugar, butter, rum and bananas and dolloped with whipped cream. If you consider yourself a dessert enthusiast, you have to get over to High Street. As I understand, this is a seasonal item, so don't wait!

It was a busy Saturday night, and I don't mind leisurely service, but I need to be able to drink my wine while I am waiting to be a happy camper. After being seated, it took a full 15 minutes for someone to open our wine. After that it was another 25 minutes before our order was taken. We did have bread on the table, which seemed to be homemade, and was very good. But 40 minutes to get an order in is just a bit too long. The server was very nice, she was just too busy to get to everyone on time. On the positive side, once our order was in, the food came out at about the right pace. It was about 10 minutes for our starters and another 10 for the main courses. We did have to wait again after dinner to have our plates taken and order dessert, but by that time I was flagging down anyone who came past our table to make sure we weren't there till midnight.

They had a jazz guitar player who played throughout, and was a nice touch to the New Orleans theme...and unlike some live dining music, he wasn't too loud. However, the general noise level in the restaurant WAS very loud... so much so that at times we were practically shouting to each other across the table. If you're looking for a small quiet romantic BYOB, High Street Caffe on a Saturday night won't fit the bill.

Overall, it was a great dining experience. The food, which is the most important part, was flawless. I will definitely return if only for that glorious dessert, and hope that we caught the waitstaff on an off night.

"He was a very valiant man who first adventured on eating oysters." - King James I

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Welcome!! and thank you for the review.

**************************************************

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

--------------------

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

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Overall, it was a great dining experience.  The food, which is the most important part, was flawless.  I will definitely return if only for that glorious dessert, and hope that we caught the waitstaff on an off night.

hey m! glad you found your way to egullet! i'm also glad your stomach was well enough to go to HSC. we went, too, at 7pm. like you, the waitstaff was slow, but the food, as always, was wonderful. we shared the alligator sausage with goat cheese (mr sax's favorite), he had seafood etoufee and i had my favorite, jambalaya linguine. we split a bananas foster for dessert. it's a byob, so we shared a bottle of 2000 foxen santa barbara syrah, a good, unfiltered, fairly sweet syrah. i like my wine like i like my beer ... dark and chewy. :)

the high street caffe is one of my favorite restaurants in the area. philadining, you REALLY need to go.

"The perfect lover is one who turns into pizza at 4am."

Charles Pierce

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Hello Again,

Friday night, I had dinner with my husband at the Black Lab Bistro in Phoenixville. It was surprisingly large for a BYOB; the high ceilings, exposed brick wall and ample room between tables made for a pleasant dining atmosphere. As we weren't exceedingly hungry, we decided to share some starters and top them off with a shared dessert. We ordered the Caesar Salad, the Portobello and Polenta, Black Corn Fried Ravioli, and Artichoke Fritters.

The Caesar was terrific, with fresh lettuce and just the right amount of zesty dressing. One of the cardinal sins of caesars is loading on the creamy dressing, so much so that the romaine leaves end up pasted together. I am always pleased to find a chef who understands that while dressing is a very important component of a salad, balancing all of the ingredients is more important.

The portobello and polenta cake was quite good, but not stellar. The mushrooms were sauteed in a balsamic and olive oil sauce, which could have used an additional......well, something. Rosemary would be my suggestion. The polenta cake was good, no complaints there.

I enjoyed the artichoke fritters, which were marinated artichoke hearts fried in a simple fritter batter. They could have been a tad crispier, but that would be my only criticism of this plate. They were accompanied with a marinara sauce for dipping, which lent mild flavor without overpowering the chokes.

The Fried Ravioli were a big disappointment. First of all, the menu calls them "blue" corn ravioli. They were not blue. There may have been tiny blue flecks in the pasta dough, but I wanted BLUE food on my plate and was disappointed not to see it. They were quite small, measuring about 1" x 1" and only about 6 or 7 of them comprised the dish. They were reportedly stuffed with montery jack cheese, which I did not see or taste. What I saw and tasted was a traditional ricotta filling, which doesn't lend tons of flavor on its own. While I assume that they were fried, I had expected some sort of crispiness, which they failed to deliver. They were a bit chewy and stiff, but not crispy. The accompanyment of "avocado relish" was nice, but not enough to improve upon the ravioli.

We ended the meal with a flourless chocolate cake with chocolate mousse. This was VERY rich and chocolatey, almost too much for me. The chocolate mousse served with it was of the traditional egg-based sort and very heavy and rich. I would have preferred a whipped cream based mousse to provide some sort of contrast to the "heavyness" of the cake.

All in all, the Black Lab Bistro was a mixed bag when it comes to starters and desserts. The entrees I saw coming out of the kitchen looked great, and I will probably return to sample them. I would say this is a nice restaurant for casual dining with a great atmosphere....just don't expect to be blown away by the food.

I promise I'll remember my camera next time!!

-Michelle

"He was a very valiant man who first adventured on eating oysters." - King James I

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  • 2 weeks later...

By coincidence, I happend to dine at the black lab this evening, where I ordered.

Tuna Tartare with seaweed salad

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Porcini dusted halibut with hummus, basil oil and mashed potatoes

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I was very pleased with both items. Usually I pop in for a burger for lunch, so this was a good change.

Sorry, only had my phone camera with me and like more phone cameras, it sucks.

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Those dishes look amazing. How was the fish, anyway? It looks lovely. I'm always nervous of ordering fish at an unknown restaurant; I've had too many disappointing meals featuring over cooked chewy fish...

"He was a very valiant man who first adventured on eating oysters." - King James I

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Those dishes look amazing.  How was the fish, anyway?  It looks lovely.  I'm always nervous of ordering fish at an unknown restaurant; I've had too many disappointing meals featuring over cooked chewy fish...

Both the Tuna and the Halibut seemed fresh. The Halibut was cooked well (not overdone). The only minor complaint would be the size of the piece of fish, which is much smaller that what is served for a similar price ($25) a few doors down at Majolica.

Only other recommendation is not to pair a porcini crusted Halibut with a strongly flavored hummus, which over-powers the delicate fish.

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I stopped by the Chester Springs Creamery on saturday night for a quick ice cream cone. Well, I thought it would be quick...

Now, I realize it was Memorial Day weekend, and a nice warm day, so I was not surprised by the line, maybe 50 people. But I figured it's just ice cream, these lines move fast, right?

40 minutes later I had an ice cream cone. And you know, it was good, but not that good! I really couldn't see what was taking so long, they had 3 or 4 people scooping, and even though many of the people in line were ordering several things for family, it still seemed a bit slow. I think part of the problem is that they had the same people scooping and taking money, and they seemed a little perplexed about how to deal with money with ice-cream-covered gloves. And no, at least my server didn't take off the latex gloves to handle money, or put new ones on when she went back to scooping...

It's a little on the pricey side: there's no per-scoop price, they weigh everything. My solid, but not huge, two scoops was a little over $3.50. (Of course I happily pay more at Capogiro all the time, but, that's Capogiro...)

The ice cream is good, and I'm behind supporting a local, family-run dairy that has their cows grazing in the pasture right there at the dairy/ice cream shop. So I'll be back lots this summer, I'm sure, but I'm going to have to think twice if there's much of a line.

www.milkywayfarm.com

Chester Springs Creamery

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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I stopped by the Chester Springs Creamery on saturday night for a quick ice cream cone.  Well, I thought it would be quick...

Now, I realize it was Memorial Day weekend, and a nice warm day, so I was not surprised by the line, maybe 50 people.  But I figured it's just ice cream, these lines move fast, right?

40 minutes later I had an ice cream cone. And you know, it was good, but not that good! I really couldn't see what was taking so long, they had 3 or 4 people scooping, and even though many of the people in line were ordering several things for family, it still seemed a bit slow. I think part of the problem is that they had the same people scooping and taking money, and they seemed a little perplexed about how to deal with money with ice-cream-covered gloves.  And no, at least my server didn't take off the latex gloves to handle money, or put new ones on when she went back to scooping...

It's a little on the pricey side: there's no per-scoop price, they weigh everything. My solid, but not huge,  two scoops was a little over $3.50. (Of course I happily pay more at Capogiro all the time, but, that's Capogiro...)

The ice cream is good, and I'm behind supporting a local, family-run dairy that has their cows grazing in the pasture right there at the dairy/ice cream shop. So I'll be back lots this summer, I'm sure, but I'm going to have to think twice if there's much of a line.

www.milkywayfarm.com

Chester Springs Creamery

We live close to the Creamery and love going there. We are sad when it closes in the Fall. Normally, if you go there on a Saturday or Sunday evening, the nice kids who work there get you in and out pretty quickly. The ice cream is really good, though one has to remember that it is a different style than a gelato type of ice cream, and I love gelato too. I am just a big fan of the creamery. We order it in the winter to ship to people out of state and the owners are the ones who handle the orders. We bring it with us when we go out of town, and people have started asking if we are bringing it when we come.

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I agree that Chester Springs Creamery makes very good ice cream, and I like that style too, it doesn't all have to be gelato! I was just making the comparison to Capogiro to acknowledge the hypocrisy inherent in my complaining about a $3.50 ice cream cone... But I'm also a little more ready to spend more for the experimentation and exotic ingredients one encounters at Capogiro, than for the relatively conventional concoctions at Chester Springs. But there's nothing wrong with conventional, if it's good!

I'll be back for sure, I was just rather surprised by how long it took to get through the line!

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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I agree that Chester Springs Creamery makes very good ice cream, and I like that style too, it doesn't all have to be gelato! I was just making the comparison to Capogiro to acknowledge the hypocrisy inherent in my complaining about a $3.50 ice cream cone...  But I'm also a little more ready to spend more for the experimentation and exotic ingredients one encounters at Capogiro, than for the relatively conventional concoctions at Chester Springs.  But there's nothing wrong with conventional, if it's good!

I'll be back for sure, I was just rather surprised by how long it took to get through the line!

I agree that $3.50 for an ice cream seems expensive, and the first time I went to the creamery, I was a little taken back. I can't recall the exact price, but the quart prices are overall pretty reasonable.

For some reason I compare all ice cream. price and flavor, to my experience living in Italy in the late 1980's where you could get a big cup of gelato, with three or four flavors, for $1.00. Those were the days!

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Did anybody ever get a chance to get out to Pace One yet? I used to eat there in the 80s when I lived in Phoenixville. The last time I ate there was in September 1990, shortly after our wedding. I loved that place, it had what I considered a "Napa feel" which is some serious extrapolatin' when you've never been to Napa Valley.

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  • 2 weeks later...

My husband and I had our annual anniversary dinner at Duling-Kurtz in Exton last night (we were married there four years ago). This is probably the sixth time we've eaten there, including our wedding, and four out of the six times I have eaten the lobster crepes, including last night.

I believe they have a new chef - I'm pretty sure I read that somewhere. The crepes were definitely different from the last time I had them. While they were still chock full of excellent lobster and crab, the sauce wasn't as tasty, wasn't as creamy, and wasn't as plentiful, which was very disappointing. The crepes were also arranged in a triangle on the plate, in the middle of which was heaped white rice.

???

Not some special kind of rice (which would have still been weird, frankly - crepes and rice?), but white rice. Sucking up a great deal of my not-so-plentiful sauce. It was completely bizarre.

My husband had the filet, which he's had once before, and he said the potatoes were bland and the sauces lacked oomph. We have never, in six visits, had one complaint about this place. It was still a good meal - I had a fantastic shrimp cocktail, he had terrific onion soup, and we finished with the chocolate lava cake and the opera torte, which were both delicious - but the entrees weren't as good as they used to be, and it was disappointing.

What was also disappointing was that they seem to have expanded the offerings, especially in the appetizer area, yet with two exceptions (duck foie gras and vegetarian spring rolls) every single appetizer is seafood. They have a veal tenderloin dish on the menu which comes in a mushroom sauce; last night they had a veal special which also came in a mushroom sauce. If you are allergic to mushrooms or don't like shellfish (both of which describe my otherwise adventurous husband), you are very, very limited at D-K. He loves veal yet both options were out. Poor guy - the waiter started by saying "we have a veal chop, covered in mozzarella cheese..." and Greg got very excited until he finished with "...served in an oyster-mushroom sauce." They never seem to use their specials to expand on their offerings. Their special appetizer was shellfish-based; their other two entree specials were both seafood offerings. They have plenty of seafood on the menu already. I wish if they were going to expand their menu they'd actually expand it.

The service was excellent as always, friendly without being overly so, attentive without hovering, and the popovers, of course, were fantastic.

Cupcake Planet: my (possibly obsessive) cupcake-centric 'blog
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My wife likes DK as well (especially the popovers) and so we go there every few months. We also noticed a slight difference in their dishes on our visit a few months ago, but wanted to give the chef some time to work out the wrinkles.

I don't recall all the appeitzers on the menu (my wife always gets the shrimp coctail), but I am glad they are expanding the menu. I wish they would expand the main course as well. The items seem to be the same ever since we began visiting the restaurant 5 years ago.

Cheers

Percy

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The owner Michael Persons, an Austrian born chef, and his wife would be crushed to hear of the slip in quality. I had some business dealings with Mike and he is obseesed with trying to please people. You should call and ask for him and give him a heads up. Get him talking about food and you are in for a very interesting conversation. We used to get side tracked talking food and restaurants resulting in our appointments running much longer than either had ever expected. He is heck of a nice guy.

He is at the Ship Inn during most of the day, with his wife running DK. Both are very hands on. It would be worth the call to keep the place on track. Sounds like the new chef needs a little fine tuning.

Edited by handmc (log)

**************************************************

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

--------------------

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

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OK, its not a restaurant, but there is a "lunch truck" serving great Mexican food. They are parked between 9th and 10th on Rt 30 in Coatesville from Thurs-Sunday. Their English is very limited (as is my Spanish) but the food is delicious and has a home cooked quality to it.

Here is what they serve:

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So far I have tried the Cubana (sandwich):

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and I recommend their Tripas (Tripe) and Carnitas tacos...just amazing, especially the Tripas.

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