Archive for the Philly BYOB Reviews Category

DADDY MIM’S CREOLE CAFE – (2ND REVIEW)

Posted in Daddy Mim's (2nd review) with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 14, 2012 by ballymote

 

 In less than a month removed from our first visit, Gerry and I were so impressed with our previous experience at this Phoenixville BYOB that we couldn’t wait to have our friend, John, discover for himself what we had raved about. So, with our wives off on a week-long jaunt to St. Maarten the three of us had a Tuesday night reservation at this Creole restaurant. On our previous visit we had Heather as our server, we were slightly disappointed upon arrival to find that Heather was no longer there, but Melanie proved to be a capable replacement. The picture I took of Melanie turned out blurry and in fairness to her I shall leave it out of the review. She did prove to be both charming and attentive and was truly concerned that the three of us enjoy our meal.

 

 

 

 We can never know for sure that our food will be first-rate but we can usually be fairly certain that we will have, at least, three good wines to share. I usually bring a second bottle to make sure we don’t run dry and I am doing my best to have Gerry and John subscribe to that same generous way of thinking. Unfortunately, it’s a slow process and I haven’t yet won them over to the “second bottle” program. By the way, one of the great joys of having your own blog is being able to shade the truth without any dispute. Anyway, we had some nice wines with us. Left to right in the photo is my 1994 Far Niente, Napa Valley,  Cabernet Sauvignon. I had traded for this with a co-worker several years ago giving him some Eagles tickets in return for this 18-year-old classic cabernet. We had some trouble opening the bottle as the cork fell apart but Chef/Owner John Mims took the bottle back to the kitchen and worked his magic and in just a short time had cleanly removed the broken cork without even noticeable pieces dropping into the wine. We let this sit in our glasses for about an hour and watched the color change to a darker red and the funk burn off to reveal some nice notes of cedar and chocolate on the nose. The tannins were virtually non-existent and the soft berry flavors were well-balanced and smooth as silk. The finish was medium but we were all glad to see that the life had stayed in this one for almost 2 decades. Gerry had the 2007, Paul Autard, Chateauneuf du Pape, Cuvee Juline. This one has many years of life remaining. Nose of cedar and oak with dark cherries then smooth on the palate, mild tannins, hints of leather and cinnamon mixed with the blackberries. A very nice wine. John had brought with him the 2005 Fattoria Galardi, Terra di Lavoro, Roccamonfino. This dark Italian beauty is produced in an area about 40 miles north of Naples using some unusual grape varietals. It’s composed of 80% Aglianico and 20% Piedirosso and shows dark red with hints of leather and tobacco mixing with the dark berry fruits. It has solid structure and the wine went well with lots of the spicy Creole dishes we had.

 

 Gerry was determined long before we arrived that he was going to order the Lobster Tasting Special Menu that he had enjoyed immensely on a prior visit. He spent little time looking at anything else on the regular menu. John, however, is more of a meat and potatoes kind of guy and he was examining the menu until he found out that the main course on the Lobster Tasting Menu included a small filet and that was all he needed to make his decision., So both of them had made the same choice and the parade of food was on for them.

 

 Both Gerry and John raved about their soup, the Lobster Bisque. They thought is was absolutely perfect with one of them declaring it was in the running for the best soup they had ever tasted.

 

 

 

 

 The Crab, Lobster and Crawfish Cake was another hit. A nice blend of Creole flavors drew more praise from both of my dining companions. It looked like Daddy Mims was headed toward another culinary crowd pleaser.

 

 

 

 

 When the main course arrived it looked initially like a home run. Unfortunately, it ended up as just a long “foul ball”. John and Gerry were very disappointed with both the lobster and the filet. The lobster was described as “nothing special” and lacking in any flavor. The steak was so poor it made the lobster seem delicious. As both of them shared a small portion of their “filet” with me, I would have to agree. This was not a good piece of meat. As I mentioned earlier, Gerry had ordered this same item on a previous visit and loved it. I guess any place can have an off night or a disappointing course. Remember, the both loved their soup and crabcake course.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I had opted for the four course, Chef’s Tasting.

 

 My first course was the New Orleans Style Red Bean Soup with Smoked Sausage. Although the soup was good ( really like cajun spices in my soup) and the beans were plentiful, I was unable to find any semblance whatsoever of “smoked sausage”. I actually blew the photo up to 10x on my computer thinking the sausage had to be in there somewhere but not a piece was to be found. Perhaps they had simply waved the sausage over the soup. Anyway, a tad disappointing but tasty nonetheless.

 

 

 

 My next course, the blackened Louisiana Redfish topped with lemon aioli and served over gingered string beans was excellent. The fish was perfectly cooked and the sauce blended well with the spicy string beans. I was mucho pleased with this one.

 

 

 

 My main course, the Braised Short Ribs topped with salsa and served over a jalapeno jack cheese quesadilla was pretty good. The beef was nice and the sauce was perfect but the quesadilla added nothing and I would have preferred it resting on some nice mashed potatoes bathed in the same sauce. Overall though, I was pleased with my meal. If you had to please one guy and disappoint two, at least they chose the right one to please.

 

 

 

  Their menu ended with Banana’s Foster and mine with Strawberry Mango Butter Cream Cake with fresh berries. Both desserts were satisfactory.

 Overall, we went into Daddy Mim’s with great expectations. As I mentioned before, our visit last month had been top-notch. This one didn’t live up to our own built-up hype. Daddy Mims certainly deserves another chance based on our first visit.

RALPH’S RESTAURANT

Posted in Ralph's Restaurant, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on May 28, 2012 by ballymote

 Ralph’s Restaurant, in the heart of the Italian Market in South Philly, may be just about as Italian and just about as South Philly as you can get. Ralph’s lays claim to be the oldest family owned restaurant in America and the second oldest Italian restaurant (Fior D’Italia in San Francisco 1893 being #1) overall having been serving food to the public since 1900. The list of luminaries who have dined at Ralph’s is lengthy and includes Teddy Roosevelt, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Rocky Marciano, Heather Locklear, Connie Mack, Frank Rizzo and hundreds more. Parking can be difficult but they have valet parking for $8.00 and that may well be your best choice.

 

The menu at Ralph’s is extensive and you will most certainly find more than one item that will tempt your choosing.

It is not a BYOB so wine lovers will have to choose something from their somewhat decent wine list which is not greatly over-priced in comparison to many other restaurants. We went with a 2007 Columbia Crest Merlot. This went well with a variety of dishes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 I began with the Bruchetta, toasted Italian bread topped with plum tomatoes, fresh basil and olive oil. It was OK, nothing special and each of you has probably experienced a better version at any one of a number of restaurants.

 

 

 

 My entree choice was their Spaghetti and Meatballs. This very basic dish was reasonably priced at $13.00 and the spaghetti was excellent cooked al dente which is not a style I find in many places but proved to be very enjoyable. The meatballs were delicious and my only complaint was the I thought there should have been a third meatball. Most Italian restaurants give you so much with this order that you have enough to take home but this was not one of the larger portions. Nonetheless, I have no complaints because it tasted great.

 

 

 

Others in our party enjoyed the Black Lobster Ravioli with shrimps and capers in a cream sauce, The Fettucini Braciole and an interesting dish that combined veal and scallops.

 

 For dessert the group had either the chocolate cake drizzled in syrup or the traditional Tiramisu. Both were very good.

 

 

 

 There was a minor dispute when the check came. They had added an automatic gratuity of 20% to the total. I understand that it is common practice to add the gratuity for parties of 8 or more (we had 10). However, I think 20% is too much for an automatic add. Most places seem to add 15 or 18 percent and then you can add additional if you want. I personally think to assume 20% is a little presumptuous. We tip 20% or more on all occasions but there is just something about automatically adding 20% that bothers me. At any rate, they had calculated wrong and instead of adding 20% they had added 22% and it took them quite some time to recalculate. It does not appear that math is their strong suit. I enjoyed my meal but several others were less than impressed by Ralph’s.

 

 When I began this review about a week ago I mentioned that Ralph’s was the second oldest Italian restaurant in America; second only to Fior d’Italia in San Francisco. In the past few days it has been reported that Fior d’ Italia has closed its doors which now makes Ralph’s Numero Uno on the list of oldest Italian restaurants. That in itself is reason enough to give them a try on your next visit to the South Philly Italian Market.

 

 

 

DADDY MIMS CREOLE BYOB

Posted in Daddy Mims Creole BYOB with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 29, 2012 by ballymote

 Phoenixville, PA is much like Collingswood, NJ, a rejuvenated town brought to life by a preponderance of good BYOB restaurants. The difference between the two may be that Phoenixville adds in quite a few bars amidst the eateries giving the town a little more lively feel on the weekends. My wife and I, and our friends Gerry and JoAnn, had tickets to see Two Funny Philly Guys (Joe Conklin/Big Daddy Graham) at the Colonial Theatre in Phoenixville last night. We had decided on Daddy Mims for dinner and I was looking forward to some good Cajun cooking. We were not disappointed.

  

 Matching wines with Cajun food can be tricky but both of us settled on zinfandels. I brought the 2009 Ridge, Pagani Ranch, Zinfandel. This one scored 92 points from the Wine Spectator and had a nice nose of leather and blueberry . a smooth mouthfeel with intense red and black berries and a hint os pepper and spice. Gerry had a 2008 Cakebread, Red Hills Lake County, Zinfandel. This one was from an area north of Napa and the dark fruits and flinty vanilla proved a good match for the spicy food we were sharing.

 Daddy Mims is a family affair while John Mims the Chef/Owner works his magic in the kitchen both his wife and step/daughter, Heather, are out front providing great service while evidencing total knowledge of the menu and displaying a terrific attitude. Heather opened our wines while going over the various menu options, and there are quite a few. There is a prix fix Cajun menu,  a Chef’s Tasting Menu and a special Lobster menu. We considered all three of them but ended up making our choices from the regular menu which offers more than enough choices to make things difficult.

 Kathy and I began by splitting my personal favorite salad, The Wedge. One half of a head of fresh lettuce with bacon, tomatoes and lots of rich blue cheese dressing always make this a perfect starter to any meal. It may have been the only food item that was not clearly creole.

 Each of us chose a different appetizer. Mine was the Chicken and Andouille Gumbo. Nice pieces of chicken and lots of andouille sausage in a classic New Orleans gumbo that had just the right amount of peppery spices to put the taste buds on full alert.

 My wife, Kathy, had her heart set on the mussels which she had spotted on the website menu. On this particular night they were substituting clams for the mussels. She was going to switch to something else but Heather explained that the clams were served out of the shell and in the same sauce (a white wine, Asiago and garlic butter concoction) that housed the mussels. Based on her recommendation, Kathy went with the Clams and thought they were very good.

 Meanwhile, on the other side of the table, Gerry was totally enjoying, not just both of the zinfandels but, his appetizer selection of Grilled Andouille Sausage topped with carmelized onions and mustard; another typical Louisiana dish that Chef Mims has mastered.

 JoAnn liked her appetizer every bit as much as the rest of us liked ours. She went with the Blackened Shrimp Remoulade served with a Cajun tartar sauce. There was a nice pace to the meal as we watched the dining room quickly fill early on this saturday evening.

 For my entree, I went with the Braised Beef Short Ribs topped with Port Wine demi-glace and served over cheesy fondue mashed potatoes. This dish tasted every bit as good as it looked. I sometimes find that as tempting as the short ribs always sound and you know the meat is going to be tender, they sometimes lack a lot of taste. This was NOT the case with these ribs as they were full of flavor while the potatoes were the perfect partner and the demi-glace was excellent.

 Kathy wasn’t 100% sure her stomach could tolerate a whole lot of Cajun spice so she was delighted to see that the menu offered a couple of choices that weren’t totally creole flavored. She chose the Chef’s Cut Filet served over truffle fries. Her medium steak may have been slightly closer to medium-well but she had no real complaints and enjoyed her dinner enough to bring home a good portion that may serve as tonight’s meal. I will have to settle as an observer as I had nothing left from my entree to wrap up and take home.

 

 

 

 

 Gerry had the Cajun Seafood Pasta, shrimp, crabmeat and crawfish served over pasta in a rich Cajun cream sauce. This one was chock full of seafood and it wasn’t long before his plate was clean.

 

 

 

 

 JoAnn probably went more New Orleans than any of us with her entree selection of Louisiana Red Fish with Crawfish Etouffe served over Jambalaya. She thought her dinner was outstanding.

 

 

 

We still had a little room for dessert and I had asked Heather prior to our meal while trying to decide which menu to choose from, if we could order the Coconut White Chocolate Cake which was only on one of the special tasting menu and not a part of the regula dessert menu. She said that we could, so each of the couples had a piece to share with one another. The cake was good but I thought the portion was much too small. It wasn’t until today that my wife suggested that may have been since it was part of a tasting menu and not an actual menu selection. Whatever, it’s the only small blemish on what was a terrific meal with great service by the entire staff. Our water glasses were filled constantly and our silverware changed more than once. Daddy Mims Creole BYOB is a great choice for dinner in the Phoenixville area. By the way, if you have never seen Joe Conklin in a live performance, it is truly a treat.

LA VIOLA

Posted in La Viola with tags , , , , , , , , on March 12, 2012 by ballymote

  Center City Philly on a Sunday evening as Gerry and Joann continue their quest for a suitable location for a Rehearsal Dinner for the December wedding of their son, Keith. Since my wife, Kathy, and I need little excuse to join good friends for wine and food, we were only too eager to attend.

 Early 5:00 PM reservation makes us one of the first parties to be seated and what appeared to be an all male staff of servers showed immediate and attentive service. Our wines were opened and I was happy to see that Gerry had brought with him, not only his lovely wife, but a bottle of the wonderful, 2007 Merus, Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. It would appear to me that my 2009, Educated Guess, Napa Valley, Cabernet looked just a tad weak next to the big, brawny Merus. Even my second bottle (which never got opened…what a shock, huh Gerry?) the 2004 Sebastiani, Cherryblock, Sonoma Valley, Cabernet would have had to take a back-seat to the Merus. Lots of black cherry fruit, scents of leather and licorice with a mouth filling texture would make this the wine of many nights.

 

 

 As we looked over the extensive menu at La Viola, our server announced the many interesting and varied specials that were being offered this evening. So many of them sounded so good that we put down our menus and each of us chose both appetizers and entrees from the “specials”. My wife started with the Puree of Leek Soup which was chock full of flavor and served at just the right temperature.

 

 

 

 I had the Insalada Capricciosa partly because it sounded good and partly because I LOVED saying it! Apples, arugula, gorgonzola cheese, roasted peppers, tomatoes and fresh basil in a tangy dressing. It was an excellent salad.

 

 

 

 

 We all decided that Gerry had taken top honors with the appetizers with his selection of the roasted broccoli rabe with sausage and fontina cheese. This one would have made a nice entree. All of the ingredients forming the perfect marriage of meat, veggie and cheese.

 

 

 

 

 The ladies had no trouble making their choice as both of them chose the heart-shaped pink ravioli filled with fresh lobster meat and topped with some nicely cooked shrimp in a lemon garlic butter sauce. Fortunately my wife shared a small portion with me and that helped to explain the satisfied sounds they were making with each bite of this colorful and flavorful dish.

 

 

 

 

 Gerry found the perfect piece of meat to really bring out the flavors of the wine when he decided on the Stuffed Pork Chop. A huge piece of the “other white meat” filled with prosciutta and cheese served with carrots and green beans and covered in a wonderful raisin and zinfandel sauce. I also got a small sample of this one and it was delicious as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 I certainly had no complaints about my entree. It was a wonderful piece of red snapper in a white wine and peach sauce served with shrimp and resting comfortably on the bed of carrots and green beans. The flavors were excellent with the thinly sliced peaches proving to go perfectly with the tender white fish.

 Throughout the meal, the service was attentive without being overbearing and the restaurant seemed to fill very well for an early Sunday evening.

 

 

 Although the portions were enough that all of us were contentedly happy to pass on dessert, we had to reconsider when Gerry revealed that he had also brought with him a bottle of the 2008 Kapcsandy, Vino del Sol, State Lane Vineyard, Dessert Wine. This one was purchased during our visit with Lou Kapcsandy last year in Napa. This is a Port-style dessert wine made from merlot, cabernet, cab franc and petite verdot and has the aroma of baked figs, plums, warm bread and sweet spices. In the mouth it explodes with peaches, cherries, plums and apricots with a dash of honey. It went perfectly with our desserts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Once again the girls chose the same item, Tartufo, sweet Italian ice cream housed in a chocolate ball and coated with nuts.

 

 Gerry and I shared a Dark Side of the Moon, which was not a Pink Floyd CD, but rather a sumptuous piece of chocolate cake with alternating layers of dark chocolate and creamy chocolate mousse. Both dishes were perfectly complimented by the great dessert wine we shared.

 

 

La Viola had passed the test and Gerry and Joann have found the spot for their son’s Rehearsal Dinner in december. It’s quite possible that a return visit to La Viola may well be in the cards prior to the end of the year. It was that good!

BELLA CENA – BYOB

Posted in Bella Cena with tags , , , , , , on February 22, 2012 by ballymote

 Bella Cena on a Friday evening. My wife and I along with our friends Gerry and Joann didn’t actually need a reason to be at this restaurant at 15th and Spruce, but we did have one. Their son, Keith, is getting married this coming December and he and his bride to be, Becca, had some sentimental attachment to Bella Cena as it was the scene of some memorable dating moments. Gerry and Joann were considering this BYOB as a possible site for their Rehearsal Dinner.

 I don’t normally read reviews on a restaurant before dining there but for some reason I spent some time reading past reviews on Bella Cena. Most commented that they had no problem with the food but that the service was very uneven. The general consensus seemed to be that this eatery was always appeared to be short two or three servers and that resulted in a sense of chaos. Well, the reviews were correct.

 We spotted our friends and sat with them on entering. Drink service was slooooow and one drink never arrived at all. One of the harried servers suddenly remembered the drink had not arrived but, by that time we had our wines open and it wasn’t that important. It is a nice feature that although Bella Cena has bar service you can bring your own wine with no corkage charge.

 

While in France in October of last year Gerry and Joann had a case of wine purchased there shipped home. Their bottle tonight was from that shipment. It was a 2005 Chateau  La Castelot, St. Emilion Grand Cru. This one showed leather and earth with hints of dark berry fruit. Certainly a drinkable wine but not outstanding. My wine was a 2006 Oso Vineyards,”Emblem”, Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. I confess I knew nothing about this wine at the time. I have since learned that Emblem is the creation of the father and son team of Michael and Rob Mondavi. It was well-balanced with some nice blueberry and caramel notes with flashes of earth and vanilla. The wine retails for $50.00.

 My entree selection was the New York Strip Steak served sizzling on a terracotta stone topped with provolone cheese and served with a side of gnocchi in a marinara sauce ( a little out-of-place with my steak, I thought) and some kind of green veggie. The meal was OK. I did like that the hot stone kept the meat warm throughout the meal and when Gerry set a nice portion of his risotto on a small plate for me it eventually got cold and I was able to heat it up by placing it on the magic stone. The portion was large enough that I was able to bring enough home for another meal.

 Gerry had the Lamb Shank served over a bed of saffron risotto.

The wives had a shrimp dish and, I believe, the tilapia.

We finished off our meal with some desserts mine was an orange sorbet.

 Overall, the food was OK and the service erratic. The strange thing was it seemed to us that the service would be easily fixed with just a few adjustments but the reviews pointing out these flaws go back several years so it may just be that it really is hard to teach an old dog new tricks. The final decision was that Gerry and Joann will not be holding the Rehearsal Dinner at Bella Cena.

THE SILVERSPOON – BYOB

Posted in The Silverspoon with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 20, 2012 by ballymote

 Along with my wine-drinking buddies, Gerry and John, we have scoured Philly’s Main Line for interesting BYOB’s for our monthly wine dinners. We are not quite sure how we missed the Silverspoon all this time but we are certainly glad we found it last Thursday night. It’s not like The Silverspoon is hiding, or that it’s location requires guide dogs and a new GPS. It’s located in the Eagle Village Shoppes on Lancaster Avenue in Wayne, PA.

 On Thursday last, we were among several tables for our 6:00 P.M. seating. The restaurant has a pleasant, homey feel and our waitress, Caroline, welcomed us and provided us each with three wine glasses prior to opening our wines for the evening.

 As usual, we had some nice wines to enjoy with our meal. The very dark bottle on the left belonged to John. He has a tendency to bring very heavy, dark bottles because, apparently, someone told him that they LOOK expensive. This particular dark, heavy bottle was the 2006, Ehlers, “1886” , Napa Valley, Cabernet. This one scores well on Cellar-Tracker (almost a 93 average) and was the heaviest wine of the evening showing great color and dark flavors that mellowed a bit as dinner progressed. Gerry brought the 2005, E. Guigal, Chateauneuf du Pape with its classic Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre combo that was drinking quite well with our meal. My contribution was the 2009, EnRoute, “Les Pommiers”, Russian River Valley, Pinot Noir. Nice flavors on this one with evidence of tart cherries and baking spices with a nicely balanced smooth finish. The EnRoute Pinot Noir is made by the folks who make the excellent Far Niente wines. This one went especially well with each of my dishes.

 I almost feel a bit silly in raving over a $4.00 “starter” that was simply Sweet Potato Chips with a smoky blue cheese dip. These little tempting morsels of goodness were absolutely perfection on a plate. The chips looked so delicate and yet they held together well enough to absorb the “dip” which was out of this world. I seriously considered ordering a repeat and I have thought about this treat every day since we have been there. What a pleasant way to begin a meal!

    Gerry began with a Mushroom Bisque, seasoned croutons and an orange-fennel oil. He thought the soup was great. John had a dish of the marinated mixed olives. I have a picture of it but, seriously, it’s just a dish of mixed olives so use your imagination.

 If you thought I went slightly ga ga over the sweet potato chips (and maybe I did), you will find it hard to believe that my salad was, quite possibly, the most delicious salad I have ever eaten. That is an amazing compliment coming from me who was totally convinced that there were few things better on this earth than a fresh chunk of iceberg lettuce, with just the right amount of Maytag Blue Cheese dressing and smothered with tangy bacon bits and ripe tomatoes.

 This one at The Silverspoon was baby arugula, honey roasted pears, goat cheese and herb vinaigrette. Wow, I savored each fantastic bite of this salad. My entree had not even made an appearance and I knew I could go home happy from this dining experience.

 My entree was good. I know that sounds like faint praise after my starter and my salad but it would have been nearly impossible to surpass those two items. Had they not been so superlative, this sentence might have started  “my entree was really good.” I ordered the Hazelnut-crusted trout, red bliss potatoes, haricot verts, sherry pommery mustard sauce. The fish was tender and flaky, the mustard sauce a great enhancer of the fish and the potatoes and green beans good. If I might throw in a very minor complaint, I would have preferred a few more red bliss potatoes on the dish. I ran out of what was there long before my trout disappeared. John gave me some of his garlic fries which was a help.

 This would be where his garlic fries that he shared with me came from. It’s the Tender Baby Filet of Beef with port wine shallot and smoked blue cheese butter with exotic mushrooms and house-cut garlic fries. For some reason, John didn’t use the port wine shallot sauce or the smoked blue cheese butter through the first half of his meal. I think he was trying to “eat healthy”. When he gave in to temptation and added those items to his filet, I think he really enjoyed the second half of his meal. I know the fries were delicious.

 Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Gerry was devouring his entree, the Lamb Crepenette (I heard Caroline describing what this was but it was lost on me), with green onion pureed potatoes and haricot verts. Gerry thoroughly enjoyed his dinner choice.

                Although none of us needed it, we ended our meal with a dessert, an espresso flavored Pot de Creme. It was rich and flavorful and left us with little room to breathe. All three of us were absolutely thrilled with our discovery of The Silverspoon. The menu is interesting and diverse and Chef Tim Courtney, a graduate of the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY, should be rightfully proud of what he creates each evening at this excellent Main Line BYOB.

333 BELROSE (NOT A BYOB)

Posted in 333 Belrose with tags , , , , , on January 21, 2012 by ballymote

 This was another restaurant I had wanted to try for some time. I pass it every day on my way to work and, more importantly, my nephew works in the kitchen helping to prepare each days menu. Four couples converged on this Main Line eatery in late November. We had to scramble to find a parking space but that may be due to the fact they had two VERY large parties, one of 40 and the other 32, dining there at that time. Our table for eight was located and the only deterrent was the noise but that might be expected when 40 family members are gathered to celebrate a birthday just a few feet from our table.

 

333 Belrose, not being a BYOB, we perused the wine list (most bottles coming in at about 3 times retail) and selected a couple of bottles of the 2008 Chappallet, Mountain Cuvee, a blend of cabernet and merlot that offers rich fruit flavor with hints of cinnamon and other spices. It went well with all of the entrees chosen and on its own.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Several in our party selected the Wood Grilled Jail Island Salmon with garlic mashed potatoes and broccolini. I thought the fish was tender and cooked to perfection and the sauce added just the right additional flavor. The garlic mashed potatoes were sumptuous.

 

 

 

 

 Those who didn’t opt for the salmon gravitated toward the Char-grilled Filet Mignon. Some had it as pictured here with steak fries. My wife substituted the fries for blue cheese mashed potatoes which she raved about. She gave me a sample and although they were good I thought the intense blue cheese flavor slightly overpowered the meat. But, hey, what do I know??

 

 

 

 

 My nephew popped out of the busy kitchen just long enough to present our table with a complimentary sampling of some of their excellent desserts. We all shared a couple of plates of their New Orleans style bread pudding with a warm whiskey sauce, a flourless chocolate cake with raspberry sauce and creme fraiche and a third tasty item that I don’t quite remember its name.

 

 

 

Overall, it was an excellent evening. The noise died down somewhat and what could have been a kitchen disaster with 70 to 80 orders arriving at the same time was handled flawlessly by the staff. 333 Belrose is certainly a Philly Main Line  restaurant that deserves more frequent visits.

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