j

janiceliv's Profile

Title Last Reply

Lanjeron Restaurant

My mistake...it used to be called Black Sea. Lanjeron is the new (uh, three years new) name! :-)

Jun 05, 2009
janiceliv in Pennsylvania

Lanjeron Restaurant

I think this place is called Black Sea now. I am Russian and am pretty familiar with the scene....you can expect to see mostly Russian people eating. The food is mostly Russian, but with some French and "Thai" thrown in. I say "Thai" because it is quite a departure from authentic Thai food. However, the food is good and plentiful, served family style, and all homemade. It is BYO -- if you are a fan, bring an ice-cold bottle of good vodka to accompany your meal. If you go on a weekend, there is music and dancing starting around 9, I think (although it may be as late as 10, I don't remember). It's a great time with a ton of food -- don't be put off if there aren't many Americans there or by the different food...we've taken many of our American friends there and they've all loved it!

Jun 05, 2009
janiceliv in Pennsylvania

Gwynedd, Ambler Pub Grub

Was just there with a friend -- enjoyed a beer, the veggie mezze, and Jimmi. What an enjoyable, relaxing way to spend a little time!

Jun 05, 2009
janiceliv in Pennsylvania

Iron Abbey in Horsham

A friend and I tried Iron Abbey for the first time tonight. The bar was well appointed, but not overdone -- nicer than your average bar, but nothing spectacular. The beer selection, however, was incredible -- any beer I could think of -- including my favorite, Chimay, was available, some in different varieties. The beer menu was descriptive and would be helpful to people wanting to experiment with different ones. The food, however, was a letdown. We were very excited to order the Sweet Potato Beignets, but were told by our waiter upon ordering that they were no longer available -- the chef who had originally designed the menu had since left Iron Abbey and the new chef was unable to prepare that appetizer. So, we ordered the Guilho Shrimp, the Grilled Calamari, and the Cheese Plate. The shrimp were plentiful, fresh, and tasty -- small shrimp coated with garlic, olive oil, and a dash of hot sauce. The cheese plate was also good -- plenty of cheese, crackers, and grapes, with a date sauce for dipping. While the menu stated we could pick three cheeses, the waiter told us we could not, but in any case, the cheese was tasty, and while not too exotic, -- a mix of cheddar, gouda, and pepperjack -- it was good. Our third appetizer -- the Grilled Calamari, was just plain awful. The calamari were soggy, tasteless, and seemed as though they had been prepared the day before and barely reheated to room temperature when they were served. My friend and I each had one and then couldn't eat any more. The salad they were served on top of was fresh but still nothing stellar, and while the menu had stated watercress, we actually received arugula. However, the aoili it was served with was tasty. For our entree we decided to share the Carne na Pedra -- thinly sliced sirloin that we cooked on a hot lava rock brought to our table. When we ordered the waiter did not ask us what sides we wanted. He came back a few minutes later to find out which ones we'd like, but we had no menus so we asked him what was available. He said he had no idea and went to get a menu. When he returned, he could not find the page that listed that sides. He quickly thought of two sides -- mashed potatoes and asparagus -- and we said those would be fine. When the entree arrived, the meat was fine -- what we expected, fresh, nothing out of this world, but good. The asparagus was steamed well but had little flavor. The mashed potatoes were something else -- they had NO flavor. The consistency was like paste and the taste resembled flour mixed with water -- barely any taste at all, almost completely neutral. As a side note, when we got our menus back to order dessert, which we wound up not getting, we noticed that asparagus and mashed potatoes were not the only sides -- there were many other sides we could have chosen from and would perhaps have enjoyed more. It would have been helpful to know those prior to ordering! Overall, I would return for the beer menu and get a few snacks, but I will not be having dinner there again.

Apr 14, 2009
janiceliv in Philadelphia

Morelia's Mexican in Horsham

Has anyone tried Morelia's in Horsham, where the old Via Veneto used to be? It just opened up this weekend and I'm wondering about it.

Jul 27, 2008
janiceliv in Pennsylvania

Outdoor dining at Kitchen 233?

Thank you! I will post just as soon as we go!

Jun 28, 2008
janiceliv in Mid-Atlantic

Outdoor dining at Kitchen 233?

My husband and I have really enjoyed Kitchen 233 in the past but never noticed their outdoor seating. We have been to invited to dinner there for next weekend, with a reservation on the patio. The hostess said it would be no problem to get a reservation for outside. It made me wonder why, since people seem to love outdoor dining this time of year. Has anyone ever eaten on their patio? Is it nice, or one of those chairs crammed on the sidewalk type of deals?

Jun 26, 2008
janiceliv in Mid-Atlantic

Thoughts on Savona (and others)

I can't say enough about Savona -- it is really fantastic. Every time my husband and I have gone the food has been incredible, the service impeccable, the atmosphere elegant and lovely without being pretentious (I'll second pazos -- not as stuffy as Le Bec Fin or Lacroix). Extensive wine list, very helpful and pleasant sommelier. The mind-blowing food deserves its own post! I have heard only excellent reviews from the people we know who have dined there and from personal experience, it's incredible every time.

Jun 04, 2008
janiceliv in Pennsylvania

Any good food in Fort Indiantown Gap?

My husband is going on a business trip to Fort Indiantown Gap next week and asked me to see if there are any good restaurants out there, since neither of us is at all familiar with that area. He's hoping for great food, nice atmosphere, but not overly stuffy. He is open to pretty much any type of food. Any suggestions?

May 02, 2008
janiceliv in Pennsylvania

Doylestown Faves?

My husband and I are partial to Slate Bleu, but for a more casual meal we love Jules Thin Crust. I've been dying to try Honey since it opened but we haven't gone yet. Everyone we know who has tried it is crazy about it!

Apr 13, 2008
janiceliv in Philadelphia

Great meal at Kitchen 233

Almost all of us had to bring doggie bags home yesterday -- and only about half of us had room for dessert!

Apr 13, 2008
janiceliv in Mid-Atlantic

Great meal at Kitchen 233

Last night a group of ten of us dined at Kitchen 233 in Westmont. It was everyone's first time there and we were all impressed!

We ordered lots of appetizers -- Kona Filet Mignon, the Scallop "BLT", Spicy Rock Shrimp, Thai Chili Shrimp, Shrimp Cocktail, the Spinach and Pear Salad, and lots of Caesars. The Kona Filet appetizers came out as chunks of tender filet, perfectly seasoned, with just the right Kona kick. The scallop BLT was several large, tender scallops accompanied by microgreens, ripe diced tomatoes, and chunks of applewood bacon. It was the perfect mix of flavorful but light, with the juicy, buttery scallops mixing well with the microgreens and tart of the tomatoes and the salty-sweet of the bacon. The Spicy Rock Shrimp promised a tempura batter, but more resembled some tempura-beer batter hybrid. Not a problem, however as they were delcious. The batter first crunched then melted in your mouth and had just enough spice to make the dish interesting, and the dipping sauce kicked the flavors up a notch. The Thai Chili Shrimp were four jumbo shimp, tender and with plenty of chili flavor, and the Shrimp Cocktail was several huge, fresh as could be shrimp. The Caesar salads were good, with decent portions and not swimming in dressing which is a pet peeve of mine that didn't happen here! The highlight of the starters for me, however, was the Spinach and Pear Salad. The brief description on the menu doesn't do this salad justice. I expected good -- I got AMAZING! I was presented with a plate heaped with spinach, topped with loads of candied walnuts, generous dollops of sweet, creamy, tangy goat cheese, and thick slices of poached pears. This was topped by a warm bacon dressing. It was incredible! I couldn't finish it but took it home and when I woke up this morning my first thought was "I can't wait to eat my leftover salad!"

For our entrees, several of our group had the Fire and Ice -- 8 oz. filet mignon topped with two lobster claws, accompanied by grilled asparagus, and topped with a bernaise. The filet was (again) very tender, seared on the outside and melt-in-your-mouth on the inside. The lobster claws were a touch overcooked, but when we brought this to our waiter's attention he immediately called the manager over who (with a smile and a sincere apology) took them back and then brought out new ones, perfectly cooked. The bernaise was smooth, but perhaps just a tad heavy on the vinegar; still, the flavor complimented the dish well. My husband had the grilled tilapia with pineapple mango salsa, which was excactly what one would expect -- sweet and tart, a great accompaniment to the grilled tilapia. A friend had the crab cakes (large, full of sweet crab) with a side of smoked mac'n'cheese (smooth, creamy, smoky, and flavorful) -- it is called "smoked" due to the smoked gouda which helps form the sauce. Both were super! I had the jumbo stuffed shrimp with lobster and crab stuffing in lobster cream sauce, with their mashed potatoes and haricot verts on the side. The potatoes were creamy, buttery, just enough salt, topped with chives -- perfect! The haricot verts were firm and buttery, again, just enough salt. I couldn't stop eating them to actually eat my shrimp! The only disappointment of the meal was my jumbo shrimp. Four shrimp in a Staub cast iron dish were topped with balls of lobster crab stuffing. The shrimp were not jumbo as promised, but were butterflied, perhaps to create the illusion of a larger portion. It may have been this butterflying that lead to the shrimp being overcooked -- they were a little tough, dry, and without much flavor. The stuffing, too, was dry and while I could make out the crab, there was very little lobster and very little flavor in general. The sauce was supposed to be a "lobster cream" but really was just a cream, heavy on richness but light on the flavor. This dish was the only flaw among everything we ordered.

For sweets, I had the chocolate souffle, served with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream and some strawberry slices. The souffle was well worth the 11 minute wait that the menu warned us about -- chocolately and sweet (but not overly sweet) with a nice crust and hot, melty middle. My husband and another diner had the upside down apple walnut pie and were raving about it!

The service was excellent. Our waiter was well-informed, friendly, attentive, but not overbearing. When we spoke to the manager he, too, was friendly and obviously trying his best to make sure all of his customers were happy. When a waitress accidentally spilled caramel on our of our group when placing the pie on the table, the manager apologized and took all of our five desserts off the bill, as well as offering to pay for the dry cleaning. The restaurant itself was done in dark woods and low-light, similar to the decor that is usually found in a steakhouse but more casual. It was elegant and cozy, but without becoming too formal. The dishes and presentation were stylish without being pretentious. Overall, we loved almost everything about this place and will definitely be returning!

Apr 13, 2008
janiceliv in Mid-Atlantic

Yalda Grill and kabob house

This is one of our go-to places. The lamb kabobs are phenomenal, as are the grilled veggies and rice that go along with them. The beef kabobs are also delicious. And the bread they serve is addictive!! They also sometimes have a shrimp kabob special that is sooo tasty. It's very casual so we can take our two year old daughter and not worry too much about it because there are always lots of families there. She loves it because they always bring her french fries and ice cream so that we can get a little break to eat while she digs in! It's also shockingly inexpensive -- lamb and beef kabobs like the ones Yalda serves could easily cost $10 more someplace else.

Apr 08, 2008
janiceliv in Pennsylvania

Kitchen 233?

Thanks so much! I have heard all good things, but I have also heard that the menu has changed dramatically since the place opened so I wasn't sure what to expect!.

Apr 08, 2008
janiceliv in Mid-Atlantic

Kitchen 233?

My husband and I are going to Kitchen 233 in Westmont on Saturday night. Has anyone been there? What should we expect in terms of food, atmosphere, etc.?

Apr 07, 2008
janiceliv in Mid-Atlantic

Amada fans

I always love the short rib flatbread -- can never get enough of that! Also, the garlic shrimp and the octupus -- mmm, smoky, tender, amazing! And there is a dish of Serrano ham wrapped around a yummy salad with figs that is to die for!

Apr 04, 2008
janiceliv in Pennsylvania

Gardenville Hotel?

Thanks so much! I wasn't able to find anything about this place anywhere online, so where better to go than to fellow 'hounds!

Mar 21, 2008
janiceliv in Pennsylvania

Gardenville Hotel?

Thank you for your reply. . . what kind of food do they have? What is the atmosphere?

Mar 20, 2008
janiceliv in Pennsylvania

Gardenville Hotel?

Our friends invited us to dinner at the Gardenville Hotel in Pipersville on Saturday night. My husband and I have never been there before or even heard of it. Has anyone had any experience with this place? What is it like, how is the food? Any info would really be appreciated!

Mar 19, 2008
janiceliv in Pennsylvania

bridal shower for 75 people need suggestion on a place in the Willow Grove or Southampton area

I have heard great things about Maggio's since they remodeled, and I know they can accomodate that many people. Also, Beige and Beige on Huntingdon Pike in Huntingdon Valley hosts great showers and can do that many people.

Jan 27, 2008
janiceliv in Pennsylvania

Sandwiches in Horsham/Hatboro/Willow Grove

Ralph's on York Road in Willow Grove/Upper Moreland has very good hoagies (never had a cheesesteak from there) and they make a mean roast pork with greens and provolone -- and they have great rolls. It's only a counter so you can't sit down and eat in there, but the food is great.

Jan 14, 2008
janiceliv in Pennsylvania

Salmon caviar?

Russian markets in Northeast Philadelphia always have it in stock for a good price and will be open -- try Net Cost on Bustleton Avenue near Rennard Street (11701 Bustleton Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19116-2515) or Bell's Market on Bustleton Avenue near Castor Avenue (8330 Bustleton Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19152). Hope this helps!

Dec 30, 2007
janiceliv in Pennsylvania

10 best restaurants in Montgomery County

I second Savona and Ooka -- totally different, but each wonderful, particularly Savona which has been excellent in every way each time I've been there. If you are willing to travel a little to further out to Doylestown (I noticed you specified Mont. Co. and not Bucks, but I just have to say it) Slate Bleu is absolutely fantastic!

Nov 24, 2007
janiceliv in Pennsylvania

New Buona Via in Horsham

Dinner for my husband and I that night ran about $130-140, or thereabouts. Apps and salads range up to maybe $10-12, and entrees run from about $15 at the lowest to $30-ish for some of the specials. Mostly, the entrees are in the low to mid $20s. I hope this helps!

Nov 24, 2007
janiceliv in Pennsylvania

New Buona Via in Horsham

I adore homemade pasta. . . what is intersting is that in their old place, Mediterraneo, I think when they started out they made all their own pasta but by the end, it didn't taste that way anymore. I guess they made a change from the homemade stuff at some point, but now it seems they have gone back to it and it's sooo good!

Oct 24, 2007
janiceliv in Pennsylvania

New Buona Via in Horsham

Last night, after eagerly awaiting their grand re-opening, my husband and I finally tried Buona Via, which has replaced Ristorante Mediterraneo on Horsham Road. The new building itself is very nice. The focus of the entryway is the enormous, grand stone staircase, which is flanked by the very large bar area on the left, and the dining room on the right. The bar, while we did not spend time there, is well-stocked and BIG -- almost too big, but by the time we left the restaurant last night it was packed, so the space may be necessary. The dining room itself is also large, but not overly so. While it lacks the intimate atmosphere of Mediterraneo, it is nicely decorated, with a beautiful, working stone (perhaps travertine) fireplace in the back of the room. The service was pretty decent, especially since they have hired much more staff than they had at the old place. The only reason I wouldn't say that the staff was great is because they are new, and there are some kinks to be ironed out. For example, the hostess sat us very close to another couple, and when I asked if we could be moved to one of the four or five empty tables for two nearby, she hesitated, then said no, then hesitated again, then said maybe, then left us standing there, only to return and say that we should just sit in the seats she first brought us to. Also, our very pleasant and attentive waitress did not have any information about the fish specials other than what was provided in the description, so when my husband and I asked questions, she could not answer them. Again, neither of these things is terrible and can be chalked up to only being open for about a week or so with lots of new staff. Judging from the excellent service at the old place, this will likely be corrected.

Now on to the food. . . in a word, fantastic. I started with a salad of mixed greens on a bed of proscuitto, topped with poached pears, shaved parmesan, and a port wine dressing. The proscuitto was just right, the pears were amazing, the greens fresh and crisp, offset perfectly by the sweet dressing that had just enough of a vinegar tang. My husband had his standby, a Caesar, which was also done well. For my entree, I chose the grilled langostines with asparagus, on top of artichoke risotto. There are not enough compliments to describe this dish -- smoky, tender, flavorful langostino meat popped out of each shell, and paired well with the grilled asparagus. Both were served on top of creamy risotto with chunks of melt-in-your-mouth artichoke mixed in. My husband ate capellini with crabmeat in a red sauce -- homemade pasta topped generously with crabmeat in a red sauce with just enough sweet/bite to be interesting. It was also very tasty. To end our meal, we each had a slice of dark chocolate mousse cake (if it can be called cake, since it was mostly mousse). It was moist, rich, chocolatey. They had this at the old place and it is still one of our favorites, but this time they did not serve it accompanied by the raspberry coulis, which detracted from the flavors. Still, it was yummy enough for us to polish it off in no time flat! Other odds and ends -- still the same wine menu, which is good since it has lots of good, reasonably priced choices. The place can get kind of loud, but there were several large parties there last night which had something to do with it.

Overall, a great experience, wonderful food, and I expect that the service issues will be easily resolved.

Oct 21, 2007
janiceliv in Pennsylvania

Brunch at General Lafayette Inn

Update -- the General Manager just wrote back to my e-mail complaint. He was extremely apologetic about the problems with the food and with the service. He stressed that this was not the norm there and that he will speak to the staff. He also offered our entire party a dinner or brunch, as his guests, any time we'd like. It seems they are doing their best to make amends, which I appreciate! I figured that if I wrote the bad, I should certainly update everyone with the good, too!

Oct 16, 2007
janiceliv in Pennsylvania

Brunch at General Lafayette Inn

Yes, I totally agree that their beer and drinks are pretty decent. I do recall that in the past their food was better, but that was at least 6 or 7 years ago. I haven't been there in several years so Sunday's brunch was quite a surprise. AmblerGirl, your experience was terrible! I did write the manager an e-mail about the brunch, but have yet to hear back. Based on what you said about your last meal there and the manager's reaction to your complaint, my expectations for their response are pretty low!

Oct 16, 2007
janiceliv in Pennsylvania

Good gelato in Bucks/Mont. Co?

I have heard of it, but never made the trip. I have several friends who absolutely rave about it and the flavors on their website sound incredible!

Oct 16, 2007
janiceliv in Pennsylvania

Brunch at General Lafayette Inn

Yesterday my husband and I joined a large party for brunch at the General Lafayette. Wow, what a disappointment!

To begin, we had a reservation for 11:30. The reason for the brunch was a surprise birthday gathering. Despite the table being set and the room being over half empty upon our arrival, we waited for 15 minutes to be seated. This would have been okay if the rest of the meal had been up to our expectations, but unfortunately, there were so many problems.

The spring mix salad was old. I buy spring mix at home all the time, and I know the way it looks and tastes when it has gone bad. The spring mix yesterday was slimy, slippery, and dark -- in short, wilted and old. It should never have been served.

In addition to this, and far more important in the opinion of all in my party, were the strawberries on the pastry and cake platter. When I approached the platter I thought perhaps the strawberries had some sort of sugar coating. Upon closer inspection, I realized that all of the strawberries were completely moldy. There was not one on the platter that was not. It was, so to speak, "advanced" mold. It was white and thick, and mold such as this doesn't happen overnight. It looked as if whoever prepared the platter tried to cut away some of the moldy parts, but the strawberries were so far gone that it didn't help. We were all astonished and could not believe that any restaurant would find these old, moldy strawberries appropriate for serving! It made me reconsider everything I had ever eaten there and wonder if in my other meals I had ever eaten expired produce, bread, or fish/meat. If that wasn't bad enough, the cakes were all completely dry and stale. When we told our waitress she took a look, agreed that it was mold, and sent a male employee out to remove the platter. Shockingly, he tried removing only the strawberries, which were interspersed all throughout the cakes and pastries! The waitress did, however, instruct him to remove the platter entirely, which he then did.

I would also like to add that our service was quite poor -- we waited for a long time for drinks to be brought and for plates to be cleared. One member of our party was clearly double charged for gratuity, and the waitress initially argued with him and did not want to remove it, despite there being a clear error.

What a terrible experience!! We will definitely not be returning!

Oct 15, 2007
janiceliv in Pennsylvania