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
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.
REVIEW OF the Flying Pig Saloon, King Street, Malvern, PA 11/9/16
Ambiance: At 5 pm, warm friendly pub atmosphere with leather couches off the square roomy bar. Big black boards and menus listing well over 100 beers from around the world and flying pigs and even stationary pigs' images everywhere
Service: friendly smiling female servers who accommodated us beautifully by allowing us to split each of our two appetizer dishes we ordered and providing us with separate dishes and sauces. The utensils were wrapped typically in paper napkins and the plates were white china. She received a generous tip for this fine service.
Menu: Plenty of pig, but also seafood, beef, chicken and a few veggie dishes. The appetizers would be called "small plates" in an upscale atmosphere with $11 glasses of house wine, but let's call The Flying Pig a gastropub. I counted 21 appetizers, from roasted pork belly skewers (I was tempted) to small and large bowls of mussels, to seared scallops to baked brie, to some of the garden-variety stuff like jalapeno poppers. Chili dogs to goat cheese salads-lots to choose from, at fair prices.
Experience: We ordered a large salad at $6.95 which arrived in a deep bowl of spring greens, red peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes and shredded cheddar cheese, with separate large plates and dressing for each of us. It could have been a meal in itself. The Russian dressing was house made. Next we split barbecued jalapeno pork enchiladas at $11.95. These arrived on two separate sizzler plates with a large side of sour cream. The enchiladas were monstrous and absolutely delicious. They were loaded with pickled jalapenos and cheddar cheese, along with house-smoked pulled pork. If we had each ordered this dish we would have been overwhelmed at the amount of food-as it was neither of us finished our individual dishes and took some home for lunch tomorrow. The IPA beers were strong, bitter, and hoppy as a good IPA should be. They know how to tap a keg and pull a good beer.
By the time we finished our meal the Pig was fat with happy drinkers and diners, gazing with interest and anticipation at the blackboards. The young women were balancing great trays of beers in all shades of amber and Guinness-brown. People arriving were often greeted warmly and made the rounds to say hello. It had that great feel of a neighborhood bar right out of "Cheers." By 6 p.m. the bar was full, the couches were also, with chattering Millennials perched on the couches' arms and stacked up behind them.
Total bill: $36.29, including 3 pints of great beer! Without drinks, $18.98. (We'd eat a whole
lot cheaper if we didn't consider drinks an important part of the meal.) The Cheap Eater awards
top honors to the Flying Pig on King St. in Malvern, PA. Anne and Bob Pounds,
www.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!