Tuesday, November 22, 2011
The popular event puts Willow Grove residents in touch with their local restaurants.
The Taste of Willow Grove is a popular community event, going on its 30th year this year. “You’ll run into all sorts of friends you haven’t seen in a while,” John DiMarzio, Willow Grove Chamber of Commerce president, said. The chamber organizes this annual event, of which DiMarzio describes as an opportunity to showcase the pride of the Willow Grove Area dining scene. Over 20 local restaurants will participate with this year’s event, each presenting participants with their signature dishes. According to DiMarzio, this year will feature Willow Grove’s newest restaurants Mad Mex and BRAVO! Cucina Italiana, located in the Willow Grove Mall. “When we called them, they said they were in right away,” DiMarzio said. Other restaurants …
Friday, April 29, 2011
The Farmer's Daughter is a wonderful dining experience, making it a creative destination restaurant.
The handsome property behind those thick white-washed walls at the corner of Morris Road and Dekalb Pike known as Normandy Farm dates way back to 1730. But with the takeover by new owners of the 141-room Normandy Farm Hotel, with its big banquet room and its restaurant (formerly headed by Jim Coleman), last February, the restaurant was renamed The Farmer's Daughter. The new owners hired head chef Mtele Abu (who came from Kenya by way of California) and pastry chef Tia Bennett, and promoted Aaron Washington to maitre d'/manager. Now, this destination-worthy restaurant is very up-to-date, and excellent. The new menu is less stodgy, and more accessible and creative, not to mention more wallet-friendly. It focuses on the use of locally grown …
Friday, February 25, 2011
Mitch takes a look at customs through the years.
- RESTAURANT REVIEWS
- Mitch Davis
Friday, February 25, 2011
A couple of years ago, in an issue of the New York Times Sunday Magazine, I came across an interesting article on tipping, the practice of leaving an optional gratuity, and the alternative, the fixed service charge. It talked in part about a popular restaurant, The Linkery, in San Diego, whose owner, troubled by dissension and rivalry among his staff over tips and earnings, decided – with his staff’s agreement (Only one dissented and quit.) – to go with a set service charge instead of relying on the vagaries of tipping for his employees. Here is my synopsis of the full article, with emphasis on the interesting discussion in general on tipping versus service charges: Tipping, or, in its more high-sounding terminology, giving a gratuity, …
Friday, February 11, 2011
A restaurant that knows how to prepare and serve a fish dinner
Bonefish Grill was born in St. Petersburg, Fla., and was immediately a runaway success. Under the umbrella of OSI Restaurant Partners Corporation, the restaurant flourished. We are fortunate that OSI established a Bonefish Grill in Willow Grove, along with three others in eastern Pennsylvania, as part of the successful chain’s expansion. I have dined several times at the Bonefish location in Willow Grove and at the Boca Raton, Fla., outlet. Each has an active manager, a well-trained staff, a higher-than-typical ratio of servers to patrons, constantly high customer traffic and quality seafood. Simply put, the restaurant knows how to prepare and serve fish dinners. On a recent Thursday night visit with my dear LDC (Lovely Dining Companion…
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Pizza is pizza is pizza. Or is it?
Pizza, like mom’s homemade chicken noodle soup, is a recognizable comfort food. It may not always be the healthiest option out there, but it’s usually a pretty good pick when you’re considering your tastebuds. Franconi’s pies ($11.95 for a 16” plain) start out on a thin crust that’s soft in the middle and crispy on the edges with a sweet homemade tomato sauce. And, if the pie stopped there, we would be in business. Unfortunately, it doesn’t. On top of the tasty crust and thick, red sauce is a solid layer of overly salted cheese. In fact, the cheese is so salted, that it’s hard to taste anything but salt. Any toppings ($2.00 each) fall victim to the same fate. Take a bite and the pleasure of the crust and sauce is quickly overcome by the …
Thursday, January 27, 2011
The entrance may be hard to find, but the reasons to go are easy to put your finger on
I could barely get my coat off before a plate of sweet pickled cabbage and a hot pot of smoky Oolong tea were placed on the table. Before long, menus appeared, water glasses were filled and a smiling waiter was ready with suggestions, additions and a meal full of impeccable service. Mandarin Garden boosts a full bar with wine, beer and some “exotic” mixed drinks like their special Mai Tai and Pina Colada ($5.95 each). Wines are available by the bottle ($15.00 to $32.00), but for $4.00 the wines by the glass are a generous pour. In addition to a massive menu filled with the typical Chinese offerings is a list of the kitchen’s daily specials and a couple tasting menus. For $26 per person, you and three of your friends (it’s a minimum order …
Thursday, January 20, 2011
Far and beyond your typical strip mall eatery.
The sign says “Authentic Vietnamese Cuisine” and the food lives up to the claim. Here’s something to know about Pho (pronounced “fa”) – it is what you make of it. Pho is a beef and rice noodle soup in a clear broth and is often referred to as the national dish of Vietnam. Going to a Vietnamese restaurant and not ordering Pho is like going to Pat’s and Geno’s and skipping the cheesesteak. The chefs over at Pho & Beyond take time crafting their Pho. It starts by simmering a combination of chicken and beef broth for over 12 hours with ginger, cloves, star anise and cinnamon. Just before delivering it to your table they add your choice of beef, a generous supply of soft noodles and thinly sliced scallions. When the giant soup bowl is set …
Thursday, January 13, 2011
Mexican food North of the Border.
When dinner starts with a free glass of sangria or a margarita and a warm basket of freshly made tortilla chips with a spicy homemade salsa (skip the accompanying Cheese Whiz), it is easy to see why Tortillas is a place to return to. This Mexican B.Y.O.B. tucked into a little brick building in Willow Grove features the only authentic Mexican food in the area - a welcome addition to the culinary landscape even if it falls a few tacos short of a full plate. You can find it tucked behind the bar (a spot that surely would be packed for happy hour if Tortillas had a full liquor license). The guacamole is simple prepared, fresh and served chilled. And the salsa bar is a little slice of heaven for a sauce fan such as myself. Fill your plate with …
Thursday, January 6, 2011
Come hungry, enjoy the show and leave satisfied.
Sometimes a night goes by that even a chef doesn’t feel like cooking dinner. On those nights it’s key to have a local restaurant that you can turn to for a guaranteed tasty meal in a comfortable atmosphere. Lucky for you, me and the rest of Willow Grove, Ooka shines on all fronts. Whether you decide to sit at a Hibachi table to watch the show unfold before you, place yourself front-and-center at the sushi bar or snuggle up in a comfortable booth, you will immediately start to feel the warmth. Slide into your seat, hand over your bottle of BYOB sake to the waiter and crack open the menu. This is the point that I should be recommending which menu items you should have brought to your table with the efficiency that only an Ooka waiter can …
Friday, December 31, 2010
From the pages of well-travelled food critic Mitch Davis, comes his list of the best restaurants in the region.
- RESTAURANT REVIEWS
- Mitch Davis
Friday, December 31, 2010
Each year, in my dining out column, "The Main Course," I review suburban-area restaurants of all kinds ‑ from low-cost diners to haute cuisine restaurants. This annual "Best of The Main Course" lists the top 20 selected from among the area restaurants of various types and cuisines that were reviewed in the past year. In 2010, 19 of the top 20 restaurants achieved an overall rating of 4 m's (excellent), or higher. None achieved the ultimate top rating of 5 m's (rare, extraordinary) this year. Here then are the top 20 of 2010, the Best of The Main Course. Achieving the highest score this year, mmmm 1/2, was the new, classy: Country-style southern Italian, 722 W. Dekalb Pike (Route 202), Blue Bell 610.272.5700 Receiving an …