FrancisdeR's Profile

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Core de Roma - West Chester

You may have a point, Truman. I remember thinking, "next time, we'll try to sit in the front, even at the bar". There just hasn't been a next time yet. We did like the owner, and would like to go back and talk to him more. We're just hoping for a quieter night.

Jun 17, 2014
FrancisdeR in Philadelphia

Core de Roma - West Chester

Cindy,

I have talked to a few people about Core di Roma. We all agree on one thing. The food is truly good (I would say at least as good as Teca, and much better than Nonna's was), and not overpriced.

But one theme keeps coming up. The experience is bad, not because of the restaurant, but because of the other patrons. I have heard complaints of groups so drunk and so loud (the place does not have much noise abatement) that other tables couldn't talk. My own peeve was on a night where there were some big family groups who kept on getting up to kiss or talk, and invariably hit your chair back. Nothing against family groups (a tradition in Italian restaurants), but definitely against such total lack of consideration for other patrons (like not hitting their chairs, repeatedly, every time). Not particularly the children but at the adults, who really ought to know better, and were worse than the children. I came out suspecting that they really wanted the whole place to themselves, and were going to take it if they didn't have it.

The owner is probably a little too nice, and doesn't dare tell them to be considerate of others. It is costing him business.

Jun 16, 2014
FrancisdeR in Philadelphia

Sunday night dinner near Holborn Tube or Bloomsbury

My wife and I are about to leave for our annual London Theatre fix. We will return on an early Monday flight and we like to have a good dinner on Sunday night. For years, we would go to Brasserie St Quentin in Knightsbridge, but sadly, that closed.

We are staying very close to the Holborn tube station, and would like to talk home. Any suggestions would be very welcome.

Thanks.

Apr 03, 2014
FrancisdeR in U.K./Ireland

West Chester / Brandywine Recommendation?

I second Antica. Sorry, but I'll stop short of seconding the others. True that it is loud, but it and its sister restaurant Il Granaio are just plain competent Italian food. Antica has easier parking that Il Granaio (where parking can be a serious problem).

Mar 23, 2014
FrancisdeR in Philadelphia

Best Sushi - Collegeville/Limerick/Phoenixville

I'll second BonJung (I think that is the spelling, not sure). I'm not going to say it's spectacular. It is what I consider the best in the three towns listed. Consistent with most of the answers being outside of those three towns.

Also second Ooka (below) although it is outside of the area.

Feb 09, 2014
FrancisdeR in Philadelphia

Anything new in Chester / Delaware Counties

Thanks, all, for your replies.

I am familiar with Teikoku, and like it, but my go to place for anything Japanese (and some very decent Chinese dumplings) is Masamoto. In my view, it stands out heads and shoulders above anything else outside of Phila.

Misha, thanks for Oriental Pearl. It's hike for us, but it's on the "try" list.

So is Junto. Thanks, Cindy.

Jan 17, 2014
FrancisdeR in Philadelphia

Anything new in Chester / Delaware Counties

I'm always looking for new ideas in our little part of the world where the pickings are sort of slim.

Some new serious Italian in West Chester (Core di Roma) and Glenn Mills (Il Granaio and Antico, both belong to the same family). Anything new Asian? I haven't seen much else that's new. What am I missing?

Frnacis

Jan 12, 2014
FrancisdeR in Philadelphia

Patty Shells (Vol-au-vent)?

Does anyone know any bakery who makes these around here? Second best would be frozen (I hear good things about the Dufour brand, but I would prefer the patty shells already made rather than building my own).

Thanks for any advice anyone can provide.

Dec 28, 2013
FrancisdeR in Philadelphia

Restaurant on the way to Lancaster?

Bacchus,

I had heard about Francis being executive chef at St Peters but that was years ago, and it didn't last that long. Is it on again?

Nov 26, 2013
FrancisdeR in Philadelphia
1

Something Grilled Texas Style

OM42, it's actually the other way. The first location was in Honey Brook, and the Exton location is the second one, opened just this month.

Nov 16, 2013
FrancisdeR in Philadelphia
1

Something Grilled Texas Style

Seems to be an offshoot of a place with the same name in Honey Brook. On Rte. 100 same strip mall as the Produce Junction. Opened Nov. 4. Active Facebook page. That's all I know. we will try in the next few weeks.

Nov 16, 2013
FrancisdeR in Philadelphia

Antica -- new Italian BYOB in Chadds Ford

Tried Antica last night, and it lived up to expectations. Slightly different menu than Il Granaio, same feel, same friendly service, same quality.

We're not talking high gastronomy here, just well-prepared authentic Italian food. At a reasonable cost.

And there was parking available.

Nov 15, 2013
FrancisdeR in Philadelphia

Stayman WinesapApples

I think I saw some on Sunday at the Wegman's in Malvern. I don't know how useful this will be to you if you live in CC.

Nov 13, 2013
FrancisdeR in Philadelphia

Antica -- new Italian BYOB in Chadds Ford

That's wonderful news. I love Il Granaio, although it is a bit far for me, and parking is at times hellish. I used to be a fan of Toscana (previous name), but I felt a lot was lost when it became part of a group (I don't think it deserves to be called a chain).

Nov 13, 2013
FrancisdeR in Philadelphia

Where can I buy bao (just the little folded buns) near Collegeville?

Barry

It is for real. 28 Zagat rating, it's not just me. Yes, they do the "Asian Cafe" routine, where they have dishes from many Asian cultures. Chef Cai is actually Chinese.

Myself I stick to the Japanese items (usually do Omakase), except for the steamed pork dumplings which I just love. That's why I hadn't tried the Peking Duck yet.

I strongly recommend you try it. Then I'd like to hear what you think.

Francis

Oct 12, 2013
FrancisdeR in Philadelphia

Where can I buy bao (just the little folded buns) near Collegeville?

Ah. Of course. Masamoto is far and away the best Japanese in the entire county. I never even thought of trying the duck. Thanks for suggesting it.

Oct 12, 2013
FrancisdeR in Philadelphia

Where can I buy bao (just the little folded buns) near Collegeville?

Which place in Chadds Ford? Now you've got me interested.

Oct 12, 2013
FrancisdeR in Philadelphia

Devon: Lunch on Friday?

Nectar is technically in Berwyn, but definitely worth a visit. Pricing may be a bit higher than moderate, but at lunch, it may not be so bad. And a good value for money, either way.

The Silverspoon is in Wayne (other side of Devon) and has a good reputation, although I have no direct experience. Same comment about price.

Francis

Oct 10, 2013
FrancisdeR in Philadelphia

Shere e Punjab in Glen Mills (other locations too)

Tried this place last week. It deserves its kudos. It is far superior to all the Indian options I have seen around here. It is in Glen Mills (sigh, why are all the new good places more than 1/2 hour away for me), but still well worth the drive. I understand they have other locations in Media, and one other place. Try the lamb samosas and you'll get a much fresher spice flavor than you get at most Indian restaurants where the spices are probably bought commercially.

I have recommended it to a Sikh friend, who, I hope, will tell me what he thinks soon.

On another note, Biryani King opened up on Rte 30 in Exton (where the Papaya Tree used to be). A little disorganized (wrong take out orders), they charge separately for rice (!?!?!?), and their menu is filling out a little at a time, but there are some nice surprises. Apollo Fish (chili fish) is one of my all-time favorites. I can't say BK comes near Shere in overall quality, but it's a nice weeknight take-out option (check you get what you ordered).

Jul 20, 2013
FrancisdeR in Philadelphia

Masamoto! Very impressive!

It's been more than 19 months since my first post, and I am a confirmed regular (although it is more than 1/2 hour from my house). Never a disappointment foodwise.

PhillyBestBYOB, let me know how you make out with the wine advice. I suspect chef Kai of having a world-class culinary training, and he may know a lot more than we would know from his restaurant.

Jul 20, 2013
FrancisdeR in Philadelphia

Epoisse Cheese: Where?

Not to be a stickler, folks, but I think it is Epoisses, with an s, after the town it is from.

Aside from that, I agree with the posters below. Stinky as it gets (my grandfather would brag that he would take one on the train if he didn't want anyone to sit beside him), but cut off the rind, you have one of the richest, most unctuous cheeses I have ever had.

Many boutique cheese shop (Birchrun Farms is my favorite locally) make washed rind cow cheeses that are similar in nature, and that I enjoy a lot. But they don't get as stinky.

Jul 20, 2013
FrancisdeR in Philadelphia

Good news about Branzino

This is so odd. I usually agree with all four previous posters, but we went last night to Branzino (partyly in response to the Good News post). The place was virtually empty pre-theatre (6 pm res). Two tables in the front room, three in the side room, and no one in the back or outside.

The bread was stale, the Branzino that I tried was almost certainly not from that day, although it was credibly cooked and boned. But nowhere close to the quality of fish that I remember from Fish.

Pastas and starters were fine, but pretty average. The advertised ricotta pie seemed more like the cheesecake you could buy at any grocery store, and the Pana Cotta was more of a pudding.

The prices were moderate, and the service was fine, but we came out very disappointed after having looked forward to trying this place for so long.

May 31, 2013
FrancisdeR in Philadelphia

Best Hummus in the Burbs'?

Cedars in Frazer is surprisingly good for such an assuming place. Hummus, stuffed grape leaves, baba ganoush, etc. home made. What a difference that makes.

May 17, 2013
FrancisdeR in Philadelphia

Orangery at Glen Isle

Drove by this place today and checked out its website:

orangeryatglenisle.com

Looks like it is a private home that serves dinners, prix fixe, single menu. BYO. Cash only.

Salad is at the end of the menu, an authentic touch. I don't know anything else about it.

Has anyone been? Does anyone know anything about it?

Mar 03, 2013
FrancisdeR in Philadelphia

Dinner tomorrow in Phoenixville

I understand about Pepperoncini. We had rather liked it when they opened, but it soon went downhill. We've stopped going. Nothing as bad as what you had, but a few months after opening, they were nothing more than your run-of-the mill Italian-American joint. People still like the Conshohocken location, I think.

Jan 26, 2013
FrancisdeR in Philadelphia

Dinner tomorrow in Phoenixville

Higher end is Majolica. Almost across the street, BYOB, and just very good.

Jan 24, 2013
FrancisdeR in Philadelphia

Il Granaio

I wonder if it's not a mistake to publicize this place, which is already pretty popular. Still, I appreciate it when others on this board steer me to a really good deal.

Il Granaio in Concordville is one of the best around here. Just plain good Italian pastas, salads, and traditional dishes, including excellent fish. I don't know how long it's been open, but it was packed on Friday night. The service was friendly and professional; they'll even banter with you in Italian, even if your Italian is pretty awful. And that's the point of this place, these are real Italians; they're not third- or fourth-generation, and neither is the food. The pastas alone could keep me going for my next ten visits.

Believe me, they don't waste a lot of money on decor, just wooden tables in a converted house (possibly once a professional office), but that suits me fine. It results in a great meal for a modest tab. You don't come here for a big occasion, just for a really good meal.

I didn't detect any regional emphasis. The fish I got was Livornese, but I wouldn't draw a conclusion from that.

Jan 20, 2013
FrancisdeR in Philadelphia

Seeking Conshohocken BYOB recommendation

Went to Blackfish last night, after having had it on my list for years. I know, Saturday night, is not the best time to try a popular restaurant, but my daughter and her fiance were taking us out for my birthday.

Fantastic experience nonetheless. Food lived up to expectations in every way. Service was professional and attentive without interrupting conversations every 5 minutes to ask how everything is.

Pretty crowded, but it deserves to be. It also deserves to be on every top ten list in the western burbs.

Jan 20, 2013
FrancisdeR in Philadelphia

Nala in Main St. at Exton

I very seldom go to MSAE, but I noticed an Indian / Thai place called Nala. Does anyone have any experience with it? Thanks.

Jan 01, 2013
FrancisdeR in Philadelphia

Core de Roma - West Chester

Cindy, I just noticed it this week myself. The ads in WC Dish say that the owner had a restaurant on South St. with a good following (certainly a 26 Zagat score) and that he has been looking for a place in the burbs. BYO.

That's all I know.

Dec 28, 2012
FrancisdeR in Philadelphia