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Max Buten's Profile

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Talula's Garden or

The noise level is very high at both. At it's unescapable, while Talula's has some quieter parts, especially in the garden.

Jun 20, 2012
Max Buten in Philadelphia

The return of a legend ... Levi's Hot Dogs

The name of joint near South St, the original, was Levis's, after Mr Levis, never Levi. The name on the menu is now Levis. What's the name on the sign?

Dec 30, 2011
Max Buten in Philadelphia

Pescatore Bala Cynwyd

Dinner at Pescatore last night was excellent. The restaurant was 90% full, servers were busy, it was noisy at its height.
With the unimpressive bread we had freshly shaved cheese and very good pesto for dipping. My wife loves pesto, and says she'll have pasta with pesto the next time we go. Tonight, though, we started with eggplant wrapped around a ricotta filling, with light meat sauce. Excellent, though the cheese overpowered the eggplant.
Mains were both flat noodle dishes:
"Homemade Fettuccini Bolognese · Nonna's famous meat sauce, and topped with Ricotta Cheese." - Nonna's sauce was excellent, heavier than the first course's, the noodles done perfectly, the ricotta negligible.
"Toasted Crab Macaroni & Cheese · Pappardelle Pasta tossed in a Three Cheese Creamy Alfredo Sauce topped with Toasted Crab Meat." Also good, though I get no comfort from Mac&Cheese. All dishes were large, prices were reasonable: $49 including tax but not tip.
Service was attentive though not relaxing, which is to be expected for a very new place. They do have fish too! We'll have some next time.

Sep 21, 2011
Max Buten in Philadelphia

Lunch in Bala Cynwyd?

Katz's Deli Kitchen is at the moment the best place on City Line. Actually it's just off City Line.
- 225 East City Avenue, Bala Cynwyd - (610) 668-1100. It's a Jewish Delicatessen, and a good one.

Mar 12, 2010
Max Buten in Philadelphia

Recent visit to Mama's Pizzeria on Belmont Avenue in Bala Cynwyd

As always, Mama's is often not open when you would expect, so call ahead!

Nov 08, 2009
Max Buten in Philadelphia

Main Line Chowhounds! Avril BYOB opening in Bala Cynwyd tonite!

As I passed Avril this afternoon, I noticed their sign that said that today was the first day they were open for lunch. They're also open for Sunday Brunch now.

Sep 15, 2009
Max Buten in Philadelphia

Ivins Ginger Biscuits

Ivins Spiced Wafers are on sale this week at the Acme, so stock up!

Sep 04, 2009
Max Buten in Pennsylvania

Seafood Restaurants in Philadelphia

I'm surprised to read a complaint about the oysters. I sat directly in front of the shuckers last night and was surprised at how they picked at the oysters after opening to make sure they were clean. My a-buck-a-shucks were large, fresh, and good.

Aug 28, 2009
Max Buten in Pennsylvania

Searching for Salad

Corner Bakery. I have their Chopped Salad at least once a week. They leave out the green onions for me and give me harvest bread instead of the roll. Yum! And big - too much for my lunch.
- Max

May 01, 2009
Max Buten in Pennsylvania

coffee shop at the Wynnewood train station

I was there last month to take photos of the station for the Lower Merion Historical Society. The coffee shop has no sign except "Coffee Shop / Open till we close" inside. The proprietor didn't make it to work that day.
- Max

Mar 17, 2009
Max Buten in Pennsylvania

Bryn Mawr area- ideas for special birthday?

Sola is much the best in the Bryn Mawr area. Of course it's expensive; a little bit less so because it's BYOB. It's as small as Maia is gigantic.

Sep 15, 2008
Max Buten in Pennsylvania

Philly fish markets?

The fish market at 10th & Arch, northwest corner, next to the Troc.
Fresh, cheap, and the cashier speaks English.

May 26, 2008
Max Buten in Pennsylvania

Thai in the burbs

Based on this rec, we went to Chabba Thai last night. Service was fine, food was excellent: Tom Yam & Coconut milk soup, the Thai standards, were very good and too big; the curries were excellent with surprisingly large shrimp: the red better than the green. Fried Tofu and northern Thai sausage were satisfactory.

Mar 20, 2008
Max Buten in Pennsylvania

Lunch near 8th and Walnut?

On the north side of Chestnut Street, just west of 7th, there are two good places for lunch, next door to each other: Kibbitz, a Jewish Deli, branch of one in the Cherry Hill area. This branch is run by Asians who are very nice. I had delicious corned beef hash there last week. The other is the Malaysian next door, whose name escapes me but will come back to my brain as soon as I hit the "Post My Reply" button. It's also run by Asians.

Mar 10, 2008
Max Buten in Pennsylvania

Breakfast in Ardmore...

The Corner Bakery, across the street from Ruby's, has good breakfasts (and other meals.) You order at the counter; they bring the food to your table, and clean up after you.
I like it much better than Ruby's.

Feb 25, 2008
Max Buten in Pennsylvania

Cupcakes in Philadelphia: '08 Edition

It depends on how far you want to travel and your definition of a good cupcake.
Give us some help!

Feb 21, 2008
Max Buten in Philadelphia

Best Cupcake on the Main Line?

Here's a rundown on the bakeries I tried:
* Clay's was too sweet, the icing was too creamy - for me. The cake was fine. Clay's in Berwyn is 15 miles from my house and far from the class.
* Genuardi's was poor on all counts. Shaving cream-like icing, near-empty cake.
* Going to the Mall for cupcakes seemed crazy at this time of the year, so I didn't sample Dixie Picnic.
* Viking Pastry in Ardmore would have been good, but the sample I bought was stale.
They're cheaper than the other bakeries.
* The Bakery House in Bryn Mawr has excellent icing and fine cake. If you buy there (as I did), get them a few hours before your party time, because they keep them refrigerated (and therefore fresher) until you pick them up. --- Max

Dec 12, 2007
Max Buten in Pennsylvania

Best Cupcake on the Main Line?

It's my turn to buy birthday cupcakes for the class. Where can I get the best ones? It's an college class, so I'm looking for good taste, not the fanciest icing. - Max

Dec 04, 2007
Max Buten in Pennsylvania

The elusive meatball sandwich

On this recommendation I went to Antonellas for lunch today. The meatball sandwich was barely warm, but otherwise it was ok. The roll was excellent. - Max

Nov 26, 2007
Max Buten in Pennsylvania

best sandwich at reading terminal market

Guess I was too cute with "pulling the pork to make my sandwich." It was a delicious pulled pork sandwich."

May 04, 2007
Max Buten in Pennsylvania

best sandwich at reading terminal market

Thank you DiNic's fans. Went there for the first time yesterday and now I'm a fan too. Watched them spreading jus and pulling the pork to make my sandwich, which was delicious and big enough for dinner too.

May 03, 2007
Max Buten in Pennsylvania

New taco truck on 38th, West Philly

The were gone by 3 pm on Friday.

Apr 30, 2007
Max Buten in Pennsylvania

Shad or Soft Shell Crabs?

Thanks for the suggestions, though I didn't take any of them. We went to Rx in West Philly and had nicely done filleted shad and lightly battered calamari. Both were delicious!

Apr 26, 2007
Max Buten in Pennsylvania

Shad or Soft Shell Crabs?

I'm eager to have these spring dishes. Where to go for dinner tomorrow night? I prefer my shad whole, with the bones, but I will settle for fresh fillet; and the soft shells sauteed.
- Max

Apr 25, 2007
Max Buten in Pennsylvania

Rae of Light

The photos can be seen here:, the Renditions, and the next two:, the Sides, the rabbit dish

Mar 30, 2007
Max Buten in Pennsylvania

Rae of Light

"All this from a fine-dining restaurant" but it didn't help the dining experience - much noise from the bar crowd, which took up the heart of this strangely-laid-out restaurant, where we did have a fine meal with fine service.
I have attached photos of half the menu; they also have regular food and sandwiches. Our waitress, Lauren, took plenty of time to explain the menu items - it wasn't clear from the menu what they were.
We had the potato skins first I liked the skins around the outside, which didn't get soft from melted cheese. Also "Veal Kreplach, Artichoke" which were delicious raviolis, much more impressive than the potato skins.
Mains were a big rack of lamb; "Rabbit, Brussels Sprouts, White Beans" from the Renditions side; and a huge piece of short ribs (of beef), half of which is in our refrigerator for tomorrow night's dinner. The lamb was fine, the short ribs were delicious - meaty and flavorful. The rabbit included the tiny ribs (like those I had some time ago at sister restaurant Gayle), nice pieces of white meat, and a cassoulet-like side dish; it was quite good. We had creamed spinach, which strangely was whole leaves, not chopped, and multicolored beets. Desert was 3 scoops of ice cream, of which much the best was pomegranate sherbert. And then white-chocolate chip cookies. Food was just over $50 per person, plus a $60 bottle of Rae Buehler Zinfandel, plus tip, plus parking. Parking in the garage is $12; Central Parking charged us $10 for the valet parking, though this morning the restaurant told us it would have been free if we had them stamp our ticket.

About the photos:
* Note that "Veal Stew, Roasted Veal Chop" is $52. We didn't have it.
* The photo is my rabbit; behind it the beets, and to the right the potato skins with their sauce, I think of flavored cream,

It was a very good meal!
(Apparently I don't know how to add photos. Could somebody tell me where to look for instructions?)

Mar 29, 2007
Max Buten in Pennsylvania

Margot -> Narberth; Carmine's -> Bryn Mawr

Signs on the door today:
Sorry for the photo quality; I took the photos through the window. And I can't report on the quality of the food or service, since I haven't been there since Carmine first opened.

Jan 11, 2007
Max Buten in Pennsylvania

Morimoto Report

Morimoto last night
We went to Morimoto with our expectations pretty high; we'd loved our Omakase when we had it before. That time we shared $80 and a $120 assortments; this time the $80 was discontinued so we shared the $100 and $120 presentations. We were disappointed, feeling that it was elaborate but too often not quite right.

I didn't take notes, so I can't tell you what all the courses were but here are some, more or less in order. When two plates were served together (and I remember both) I've separated them with a semicolon:

* Fish eggs with lobster; fish eggs with a fish. A good start, since we both love fish eggs.

* Another similar course, too similar to the first course (but without eggs) for us to remember the specifics.

* Langostines breaded with panko; "Japanese Bouillabaisse" with langostine meat and body, clam, fish - all overcooked. Both langostines were nicely
presented in or with the shell, but weren't as good as the earlier lobster nor as good as plain boiled lobster. The Bouilliabasse was properly fishy.

* Fried oysters with mashed Japanese white yams and something sweet, dusted with nutmeg. The oysters were not hot, not crisp, tasteless.

* Scallops with Brussels Sprouts. The scallops weren't sweet, the Sprouts were vinegary - which hid their usual bitterness.

* Palate cleanser "before your first hot dish" - sweet sorbet with an exotic hot aftertaste. Very good.

* Turbot wrapped around langostine (or was it lobster?) (or do I have that inside out?) and neatly tied with a belt of red pepper. Cream sauce with measles spots. With a small cup of good broth with a cockle.;
Skate with plum sauce. The sauce made the skate palatable.

* Venison in red wine reduction with a charoses-like mixture perhaps of apples and millet;
Special-quality pork chop - some slices dry, some delicious. The meat on the bone was wonderful - tender and nicely seasoned. The pork was served with diced Asian pears covered with goat cheese, an excellent combination. The venison was warm, the pork was barely so.

* Six sashimi: Tuna, salmon, giant clam, jackfish(?), eel. Tuna was fine, the salmon was wonderfully fatty, the giant clam had a strange bitter taste and was tough, the jackfish was ok, the eel was excellent. Better than our neighborhood sushi place.

* A small dipper of good ice cream over a soggy ginger snap. Not at all special, but was just right after a very big meal with many strong tastes.

With three glasses of very nice wines, the check was $252 plus tax, tip, and (since it was raining) valet parking.

Note that none of the dishes were the same as the previous two reportss.

Next time we go, we'll skip the omakase and select from the menu, trying to find things we like without stuffing ourselves and without setting a new "personal
best" for the cost of the dinner.

Nov 23, 2006
Max Buten in Pennsylvania

Nice Korean lunch in Philly area?

How about Miran, 2034 Chestnut St, (215) 569-1200?
I've enjoyed the soup + kimche combinations, and there's a burner for each table for your barbecue.

Nov 22, 2006
Max Buten in Pennsylvania

Chinese Buffet on City Avenue

From their business card: "Royal Buffet & Grill, 4504 City Ave." They're directly across from Lord & Taylor in the "Bala cynwood Shopping Center."

Lunch is 6.95; Saturday "brunch" was a dollar more, plus 1.29 for coffee. None of the food was outstanding.

Oct 15, 2006
Max Buten in Pennsylvania