BLACK LAB BISTRO – BYOB
My visit on Thursday evening to the Black Lab Bistro in Phoenixville, PA was a spur of the moment decision. I had an early Friday morning meeting at work and my friend Gerry B. suggested I stay over at his house for the evening. Once that was agreed to, it was pretty much a given that we would be heading out somewhere to drink some good wine and have a nice meal.
The Black Lab Bistro is located on Bridge Street in the heart of a rebuilt, and now bustling, Phoenixville, PA. In some respects the town reminds me of Collingswood, NJ. It was busy on a Thursday evening and Gerry reports it’s teeming with young people on the weekends. Inside this restaurant the walls are a cheery yellow and seating is ample allowing for some semblance of privacy. The menu is extensive and in addition they had a large number of daily specials that were just as enticing as the regular fare. I knew from the beginning I would not be able to resist trying the Lobster Mac n Cheese appetizer.
Let’s just say I would have been content with a slightly larger portion to serve as an entree and I would have been well fed for the evening. This dish was perfect. A crispy top with wonderful cheese and lobster with truffles, creating a near-perfect start to the meal. It was going to be hard for any entree to surpass this. While I was salivating over my choice Gerry was enjoying his Seafood Sausage in a whole grain mustard crème. This appetizer was eerily familiar to the Shrimp and Crab Boudin that I had at Karen & Rei’s just two weeks ago and found to be less than spectacular.
My fears were totally misplaced as this item turned out to be wonderful. It had a pate-like quality and the colorful red and green peppers interspersed gave it a nice taste and the mustard crème accentuated everything. This is how you do Seafood Sausage! As we enjoyed our starters we drank both our wine choices that Gerry had generously provided for the evening. The 2007 B Side, Napa Valley, Cabernet and the 2005 Merryvale, Beckstoffer Vineyards, Vineyard X Oakville, Cabernet. The Merryvale is a current Chairman’s Selection in the PA State Stores while the B Side was a recent purchase he made on a visit to Hops n Grapes down in my neck of the woods in NJ. Both these wines were elegant with great bouquets and lots of cab fruits. We both gave a slight edge to the B Side, it had a slightly unique texture and perhaps we weren’t expecting nearly as much from the B Side as we were from a wine where the grapes grew in the rich soil of the Beckstoffer Vineyard. It’s always nice to be totally surprised with a wine and it’s what makes tasting different wines such an enjoyable experience.
Choosing an entree from the many mouth-watering items on the menu was no easy task. Finally, I gave up and remembered that our server had said that the House Specialty was worth trying and so I did choose the