Restaurant Review Americana Kitchen Asian Street Food
Location: 1104 Naamans Creek Road, Garnet Valley, PA (at the intersection of Ebright Rd.)
Owner: Dan Lieberman
Website: www.americana.kitchen; also on Facebook.com: Americanafood
Ambiance: Americana is a friendly, informal place with casual atmosphere. There are about 9 tables, several seating 6 and 8. There is a blackboard menu as you enter, as well as a stack of paper menus to look over—which is a must, because the selections are many are able to be flexibly mixed and matched. The tables are wooden, wood floors nicely refinished, and ceiling fans above.
Service: Counter ordering on touchpad or with a staff member, self-service utensils (including chopsticks) and soda/water dispenser. They provided wine glasses for our BYOB wines. Also note, they are doing a brisk takeout business and a growing delivery business within a 5-mile radius. When ordering on the touchpad, you enter your cell phone number; and you receive a text when your order is ready. But I noticed the staff also brought our food to the table.
Experience: Our dishes were served rather uniquely on a real banana leaf which is on a (substantial) paper tray, with a generous serving of jasmine (or brown) rice right on the banana leaf, next to which was a really generous bowl my order, chicken green curry. I also ordered coconut shrimp ($6.95) with 2 dipping sauces, one a Thai sweet chili sauce, and a creamy Siracha mayo sauce. The coconut shrimp was very good, as were the sauces.
The curry ($14.95) was so flavorful, bursting with my favorite tastes of coconut milk, Thai basil (I grow it) and kefir lime leaves (which I order and store in my freezer). There were also cubed potatoes, onions and green and red peppers in the dish, with a great quantity of delicious sauce.
Several things I believe would improve the green curry dish: The lemongrass confounded those who had never seen it, and they tried to eat it. It can’t be chewed, so it should be removed before serving (as a bay leaf in a stew would be). And the kefir lime leaf has a tough inner vein which should be sliced out, and the remaining part of the leaves should be finely chiffonaded before adding to the curry, so they are easily edible. The flavor is wonderful, but the leaves are tough! The chicken was plentiful, but I would have preferred a mix of both breast and thigh chunks, rather than all thigh (my guess). That being said, I ate until I couldn’t take another bite, it was so delicious; and I took home enough for a light lunch the next day, with two coconut shrimp. And I came hungry!
My fellow diner Jay ordered beef red curry with jasmine rice, and Bob got veggie spring rolls (I got one, and they were very good), Tom-Yum soup, a traditional Thai soup flavored with lemongrass, tomato, basil, kefir lime, and lime juice. It had a lovely spicy, slightly hot and tangy flavor. Next time!
Menu: There are so many interesting choices on the menu, it will drive you crazy deciding what to order: Asian street fries, chicken satay with peanut sauce, wings seasoned three ways in batches of 5, 10 or 20; steamed crab shumai, potstickers, Bangkok chicken salad, and main courses like chicken and salmon teriyaki, basil ginger shrimp, sesame chicken, fried rice, and beef bulgogi (a Korean beef dish). You can create your own wraps and bowls; and Americana even has desserts and Thai iced tea. The menu is across the Asian board: Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Korean, and enough vegetarian dishes (clearly marked) to make it a satisfying experience for vegetarians/vegans. See their menu on Facebook to plan ahead.
Total Bill: $33.60 for two of us, plus a tip. I am not sure tipping is necessary, if you pick up your own food at the counter, but since we had wine and they brought the food, we tipped.
Additional Comments: This new place offers a unique dining experience for those who are tired of the standard Cantonese Chinese restaurant fare. It feels more adventurous and varied. I will try the delivery next on a rainy night like tonight!
Anne Pounds, TheCheapEater.com, an affiliate of WelcomeNeighborPA.com
Disclosure: Americana Kitchen is now a Welcome Neighbor sponsor, offering a $10 gift card to new homeowners we visit, as their welcome gift.
Restaurant Review: Chadds Ford Tavern
Location: 1400 Baltimore Pike, at Heyburn Road on Rte. 1, with entrances off both Rte 1 and Heyburn Road, Chadds Ford, PA 19317
Owner: Executive Chef Phil Ferro
Website: www.cftavern.com, but they are also very active on Facebook.
Ambiance: Owner and Executive Chef Phil Ferro worked by himself most days to refurbish and redecorate every aspect of the tavern himself. It was lonely and hard work but his vision carried him. He had the menu planned out long before the renovation was done, and when I looked at it I could hardly wait to experience the food. The booths are now totally refurbished and reupholstered, so those lumpy booth seats are long gone! The bars are new, although the previous bar top on the one was refinished and kept, with the original brass nameplates of former regulars now embedded in 10 gallons of resin. The restaurant is now clean and well decorated, with a warm ambiance. There is a roomy dining room with tables and booths, a Tasting Room for private parties and a “spillover bar,” a real “Cheers” type bar with four sides and plenty of booths and a few tables, a band-stand and small dance floor, and a great craft beer, top-shelf liquors, and a nice wine list. Phil seems to have found a way to meet everyone’s needs and wants!
Service: Friendly from the moment of entry, where we were greeted and asked where we’d like to sit. For lunch that day, we chose a booth in the bar area, where we were taken care of by an excellent bartender. Service was warm and attentive on a Saturday at noon.
Experience: Friend Edie had the roasted beet salad with baby arugula,honey-whipped goat cheese, crushed macadamia nuts and blood orange gastrique, which I would guess is salad dressing. The salad was $10, to which she added grilled chicken for $7. My fellow Cheap Eater Bob had Hearts of Romaine Caesar Salad with garlicky croutons, plenty of shaved parmesan, and a creamy roasted garlic dressing ($8) . I had the Tavern Wedge salad ($8) with heirloom tomatoes, applewood-smoked bacon, herb croutons, crispy onions and gorgonzola cheese . I also ordered their local mushroom bisque (at $13 it was a meal-sized serving), which had lots of jumbo lump crabmeat and a small island of wild mushrooms. My only unhappiness was the soup was too thick and more like a gravy than a smooth soup; and I like my mushrooms incorporated into the soup itself. Friend Rich chose the historically famous Tavern Roast Beef Sandwich for $15, a huge sandwich of shaved ribeye, provolone cheese, crispy onions, horseradish chive sauce (yum, and if you want additional straight horseradish just ask) on a seeded long roll. I usually split this with my dining partner and still find it quite a meal, since it also comes with a huge bunch of hand-cut fries.
On other occasions I’ve tasted the prime rib egg rolls ($13 but also a happy hour half-price selection) with wild mushrooms, smoked cheddar, and that horseradish chive sauce. This dish has the most luscious prime rib you can imagine . For a cheap happy hour treat, we often share a couple drafts of Yard’s I.P.A., with a basket of Pomme Frites with black truffle sea salt and parmesan cheese and a side dip of the Tavern’s cheese fondue—all at half price for happy hour—walk out with a check of less than $15! One more dish I have tried is the Shrimp and Grits for $13, 3 fat applewood-bacon- wrapped shrimp, marscapone cheese polenta, with a honey chipotle drizzle. There was a big pile of arugula on top, with some crispy onions, almost a salad. My only “con” was the drizzle was a little too sweet—wish it were more smoky, less sweet.
I’ve never gotten to desserts yet---too busy groaning after the meal, which is often a very affordable appetizer, soup or salad combo with a nice drink. Speaking of which, I have found a happy selection called the Rosemary’s Mule, which is a Moscow Mule, very big and very well made in the proper copper mug, with a touch of rosemary in the simple syrup they mix it with. It is a drink and a half! Great happy hour choice, since all drinks (no matter what) are half-price during 4 to 6 pm SEVEN DAYS A WEEK
Menu: Go to their website to view the very varied menu. You will find something for everyone, in every price range. Overall, the Tavern qualifies as an excellent addition to TheCheapEater.com list of finds.
Total Bill: I forget. We four had multiple drinks of wine and beer, since we were there to catch up and talk over several hours, and I lost track. But a good value, for sure—and it wasn’t even happy hour!
Additional Comments: The Tavern has been a historic favorite since before the Civil war, and it is once again a place for all people. Some have complained that the music is too loud during happy hour, but there is plenty of seating away from the bar, and happy hour applies all over the restaurant, not just in the bar area.
Best advice: Get to the happy hour! It is a real value all around.
Full disclosure: The Chadds Ford Tavern is a proud sponsor of the Welcome Neighbor Newcomer Visit Program.
TheCheapEater.com, an affiliate of WelcomeNeighborPA.com
Manager: Jacob _____
Address and Website: 240 Painters Crossing, Chadds Ford, PA 19317 (former Friendlys Ice Cream location) www.nudyscafe.com
Ambiance: While the exterior looks like nobody cares about it, the inside is lovely and warm, with interesting graphics on the walls, and a clean environment of booths. They also have an outdoor dining patio for good weather dining. The restaurant is open from 7 a.m. till 3 p.m. during the week and from 7-3 pm on weekends. They are a breakfast and lunch restaurant, no alcohol is served. Every menu item is available at all times!
Service: The service was excellent: our waitress was quick to take our order and quick to bring the food, hot and just as ordered.
Experience: We were there for a business breakfast, so favorite dining partner Bob and I split our top choice dish, eggs Benedict. It was brought on two plates, with a hearty side of home fries, covered with lots of hollandaise sauce and done just right. Our friends ordered a House Omelet (Spinach, mushrooms, feta cheese and bacon), which also arrived perfectly done with a large side of homefries and toast; and an order of 3 pieces of French Toast, perfectly done. If you want real maple syrup, just ask! The coffee was hot and the orange juice was a good flavor.
Menu: The menu at Nudy’s is huge! Examples:
· There are 7 versions of the Classic Eggs Benedict, with selections ranging from the Classic to Ahi Tuna to Lobster, from $9.29 to $13.00 (lobster, of course).
· There are 17 Custom Omelets!
· There are 9 meat side dishes
· There are 11 pancake varieties!
· There are 12 French toast varieties
· For lunch, there are 30 choices of hot and cold sandwiches!
Total Bill: $37.98, with a $6 tip. Broken down:
· Eggs Benedict Classic $9.29
· French Toast 6.99
· House Omelet 9.99
· Iced Tea 2.50
· Large orange juice 2.99
· 2 endless cup coffees 1.99X2
Additional Comments: This is another great breakfast and lunch place, with well made food and good service, and no waiting to be seated! It’s open 7 days a week, and there is plenty of seating. A great addition to Chadds Ford!
TheCheapEater.com, an affiliate of WelcomeNeighborPA.com
Restaurant Review: The Mad Greek
Owners: Debbie Beattes and Dean Grivas
Address: 2805 Chichester Avenue, just after the church next to Produce Junction
Hours: Monday-Saturday, 11-9 a.m. (Closed Sundays)
Website: www.themadgreekrestaurant.com, and they are on Facebook also
Ambiance: The place is an informal BYOB café, with wait service and 8 tables for 4, as well as outdoor dining under bright red umbrellas in good weather conditions. There is handy off-street parking beside the café. One wall is attractively paneled in wood blocks, with insets of plantings. Happy people kept arriving, bottles of wine tucked under their arms. It’s the kind of place where you talk to fellow diners and ask how their food choice is—you know what I mean, chatty.
Service: The two young female wait staff were charming and attentive, bringing menus and opening our bottle of wine soon after we sat down and taking other non-alcohol drink order from our son. The only improvement I could have asked for would be to have a sharing plate for the dishes we split, the appetizers and desserts.
Experience: The experience was so warm! One of the owners, Dean, came over to say hello, and to further discuss one of the specials our waiters had introduced: braised leg of lamb slices with lemon potato wedges and braised leeks. I decided it was a must-have, though I usually like my lamb medium rare.
But first: another favorite Greek choice, dolmades, which are real grape leaves, filled with dill-seasoned rice and bathed in lemon juice and very good Greek olive oil. Greek flavors are redolent of dill, lemon, olives and olive oil and oregano. There were four on the plate, and they were gone in about a minute.
The lamb dish was luscious and generous! The braised leeks were a good complement. Fellow Cheap Eater Bob ordered pastitsio, which an unfamiliar American might describe as Beefaroni. They would be so wrong! This dish is a bit of heaven, as follows: it is layered ziti pasta, ground beef in a rich tomato-y sauce, and topped with rich and flavorful béchamel sauce seasoned subtly with nutmeg and another mysterious spice. I love to cook, but this is one dish I don’t want to know how to make—because I couldn’t make it as well. Just take me to The Mad Greek for my fix. Our third diner, Jay Pounds, ordered a charred pork gyro (pronounced heero, not gyro). It seems that a lamb gyro is not authentic, but pork and chicken are, with French fried potatoes on top of the meat, along with lettuce, tomato, onion, and a healthy dollop of Tzatziki sauce, which is a yoghurt and thinly sliced or shredded cucumbers, and garlic combo. It is a thing unto itself, often eaten with just pita. But in this case, piled onto the gyro—which arrives wrapped in foil, so you can keep the foil end wrapped up tight and eat from the top. It is messy and delicious and filling.
Dessert: Yes, they have baklava, and we ordered (for $5.00) a giant piece shared between two of us. It was the best baklava I’ve had, with the walnuts not quite a finely ground as they normally are, and the phyllo pastry flaky and oozing honey and butter. It was so rich and satisfying, I was OK with just half of the most delicious pastry in the world. They have several other pastry choices, one of which is a rich custard in phyllo pastry—another favorite.
Menu: The selections are “something for everyone.” They have a huge Greek salad, and a mini Greek salad, which was itself huge and with a generous slab of good feta cheese. One of their items we will try next is Shrimp Santorini served on pasta, and another is Greek-style ribs with lemon and oregano.
In addition to their Greek and Mediterranean selections, they have Italian dishes, American dishes such as Memphis ribs and all-beef hot dogs, and a kids’ menu.
Total Bill: $47.70 plus tip, or $15.90 per person for three excellent and complete meals. The wine was good, too!
Additional Comments: I couldn’t resist the two big water carafes on the counter, one flavored with cut watermelon, and the other with cut pineapple. I had a glass of the watermelon water. Very flavorful.
Reviewed Saturday, June 3, 2018 by Anne Pounds
www.TheCheapEater.com, an affiliate of www.WelcomeNeighborPA.com
Restaurant Review for Kennett Square Inn
Owner: Steve Warner
Location: 201 East State Street, on the corner of Broad and State, in the Borough of Kennett Sq.
Ambiance: The historic restaurant has both a tavern with a downstairs entrance, and an upstairs with a dining room and warm, friendly atmosphere with a fireplace burning in cold months, and cozy window treatments surrounding bay windows looking out on State Street. It is warm and comfortable with original art hanging around the room. There were round tables for six and square tables for four, and we were near a table for six of retired teachers meeting for a small reunion.
Service: The service (in an uncrowded lunchtime scene) was on point, and the food arrived hot and quickly.
Experience: We were there for lunch, and we usually eat light (in anticipation of our next meal, which we don’t want to spoil), so we each ordered a soup and ½ sandwich, a perfect solution for us most of the time—both were $9 each—well priced! I got the mushroom soup, which is exactly as it should be, thick, creamy, complex and with wild and domestic mushrooms. So perfect! Fellow Cheap Eater Bob got a Crab-tomato bisque, which I got to taste. It was luscious, and again, full of interesting flavors and good amounts of crab and tomato flavor. I wanted a cup of each! He then got a ½ turkey club sandwich with a “barrel pickle,” as it should be. We both chose fruit as a side instead of French fries, and the fruit was “winter fruit.” Good, varity nice, but still not at the peak of summer ripeness. I would like to think that as summer comes on, there would be perfect specimens of in-season local fruit, maybe from the farmers’ market which happens at the next block up.
I got a Reuben of corned beef, swiss cheese and house-made Russian dressing on marbled rye toast, open-faced. It was luscious! Very satisfying.
Menu: The menu is ful of wonderful selections, indicating a choice of large and small plates (a favorite of the Cheap Eaters), appetizers which could be dinner (again, we’re in), traditional dishes and a selection of small place entrees and large plates. Neither selection is anything but well priced and a good value. The food is classical, American-Continental cuisine, and presented beautifully. I can’t wait to go back for anything from the Shrimp LeJon to the Shrimp and Scallops St.Stephen, to the Duck with Wild Rice. We haven’t even sat at the inviting bar yet, but we look forward to it.
Total Bill: $15.90 plus tip, $19.90 total.
Additional Comments: The Kennett Square Inn has been a mainstay of Kennett since 1838, and it has a resident ghost. It has a history, and a host-chef-owner who has been doing his work well for 40-plus years! It is a quiet place where you can actually talk and enjoy an atmosphere for dining which is respectful of something rather old-fashioned: talking over dinner!
TheCheapEater.com, an affiliate of WelcomeNeighborPA.com
Restaurant Review for
Cocina Authentic Mexican Cuisine
Owner: Senor Mayolo Martinez, Owner-Chef
Location: 5 Jenners Village Center, West Grove, PA
Telephone: 610-450-6125, 484-667-8273
Ambiance: Clean and inviting, with sparkly Mexican fiesta décor. There were many tables for 2 and 4 and no booths. It was empty when we walked in at 12 noon, but it filled right up on a June weekday.
Service: Very obliging! We were waited on by a lovely young woman named Rosie who was polite, helpful with menu items, and fast!
Experience: We were served delicious corn tortilla chips with also delicious salsa, which went so fast! She brought us more cheerfully. The dishes were attractively presented and delicious. Fellow Cheap Eater Bob got soft corn enchiladas filled with ground beef, refried beans and (surprise!) onion rings, which were perfect. I went with three chicken enchiladas, also on soft corn tortillas, with salsa verde and lettuce, avocado and tomato and sour cream. I asked if I could have a tiny sample of mole´ sauce, and she brought me a generous ½ cup in a pretty dish.
Menu: The menu has a huge variety of options, including a 3-choices selection of lunch specials for $7.99. On the printed menu, the items were well explained and ingredients given in English
Total Bill: $21.50 plus a $5.00 tip
Additional Comments: They even do catering and can host parties at the restaurant by reservation. I really look forward to going back for more of that authentic Mexican food! Cocina is in the well-traveled Jennersville Shopping Center, the dining capital of Southern Chester County. We counted seven different dining options, including the ice cream spot and the Giant Café, which is a nice place to meet up.
TheCheapEater.com, an affiliate of WelcomeNeighborPA.com
Restaurant Review for Brandywine Prime Friday Night Half-Price Burger Night
Owner: Michael Majewski
Ambiance: I am a big fan of the happy hours at Brandywine Prime partly because of the ambiance and service. The tavern/lounge is a big “comfy” room with cloth tablecloths and a variety of seating, and the bar is a good old zinc top bar which winds around the accommodating bartenders. There is a long high-top table island in the middle of the bar, with high-top tables for 2 all around the perimeter of the bar. The lounge is through French doors and open to the bar.
Service: This is what separates the Prime: Their service is impeccable and caring, and they treat happy hour customers as if they were the same royalty as if I were the Queen herself. Even on this buzzy last Friday evening in December, it was jammed with happy people, and the service was customized and very quick. They brought our food as we liked it, letting us know they can give us what we want. And that burger was at half price!
Experience: We intended to go to the Christmas Parade in West Chester, and we spent two hours in traffic at 5 p.m. unsuccessfully trying to locate just one parking spot. We began to think the Brandywine Prime sounded better! But we could hardly find a parking space in the lot there! The Prime is very popular, and I recommend starting as early as you can—which can be from 5 p.m. to 7, but half-price burgers are all night long. Our waitress asked how we want our burgers—a full quarter-pound prime beef on brioche roll, with jack or bleu cheese, carmelized or raw onion, the works if we want it, mushrooms if we want them. It was huge, and I couldn’t eat it all, but I enjoyed trying. We have split a burger in the past. It is kind of a knife & fork meal OR juices running down, which is another kind of happy. She asked how we wanted our beef, and it came rare, as ordered—and hot! The burger comes with a hearty serving of skin-on frites. There was a spinner with all the condiments we like, right in front of us. We had classic martinis first, with Beefeater’s gin and two olives—perfect. I got a glass of house cabernet sauvignon, and Bob got an interesting draft pint of IPA, perfectly pulled and with nice head. The drinks are not on special on Friday nights, but they were as good as always
Menu: Happy Hour Specials are shown below, to make it easy for you to pick your best night. We’ve done ‘em all. By the way, the wine list is excellent, including their house wine, which changes regularly. Monday is BYOW with no corkage fee, but any other night you are free to BYOW with a $6 corkage.
REVIEW OF Queen Cuisine Asian Restaurant
Old Ridge Village, Rte. 202 at Ridge Road, Chadds Ford, PA
Telephone: 610-358-COOK (2665), 610-358-2488
Ambiance: Pleasant and clean, but the phones are constantly ringing loudly, which was a definite disturbance to the diners' peace of mind (at least at my table, anyway). I would suggest headsets to answer while they are filling the many take-out orders and pick-ups.
Service: The service was very good, timely and well performed by Emily, our wait person.
Szechuan Beef was our favorite entree
Experience: We were served a plate of fried noodles and a red dipping sauce. The noodles were on the stale side, and the dipping sauce was quite sweet-could have used more vinegar and complexity. This was true of all the sauces: too sweet.
We had eaten there only once before and had a less-than-good experience, right after they opened. One aspect then has been corrected, in that we didn't have to stand at the counter and place our orders. This time we actually sat down and had Emily come to take the order-as it should be!
But the other issue has not been resolved, and it needs to be: the meats previously and at this most recent experience have this terrible "spongey" consistency which is a real turn-off. I can only guess that the meat is soaked in a solution of meat tenderizer of some sort. I would so prefer if they could change this policy! If the meat is sliced thinly and cooked quickly, most all meat is tender when done this way! Since I cook Asian food a lot, I know this works fine. There is no need to adulterate the texture (and possibly the flavor) by tenderizing meat
Since I am on a weight management plan, I ordered lettuce wraps, which were less than wonderful, because they lacked the "peanuty" flavor one usually finds, and the meat was so crumbly it kept falling out of the lettuce. Also, we ran out of lettuce.
We shared crab wontons (not on my diet), which had been favorably reviewed on the web. They
were good, but mostly creamed cheese and no discernible crab taste or texture. And the sauce was the same one, too sweet.
Read Entire Review on Facebook
By Anne Pounds at
TheCheapEater.com, an affiliate of WelcomeNeighborPA.com
Anne & Bob Pounds, the owners of Welcome Neighbor, the new home owner personal visitation, community orientation service and deliverer of special housewarming gifts from sponsoring business owners, enjoy having the best eating out experiences... at the lowest prices, hence thecheapeater.com They love sharing their "finds" here and in their monthly newsletter: the Neighborly News. Enjoy!