We hear a lot of complaints from suburbanites who go on and on about how there just aren’t any good restaurants out their way. They beg and plead for one of the Culinary Quadrumvirate (Starr, Vetri, Garces and Solomonov, of course) to leave the confines of Center City and favor them with a retread version of their urban temples. You know why that won’t happen? Because Starr can’t fill a Buddakan in Limerick on a Tuesday night (especially in this economy, when he has trouble turning the floor on Chestnut Street), and Vetri won’t get the expense-account diners in Horsham that he does downtown.
But we hear no crying from friends who live in and around Media, the friendly town in Delaware County where the neighbors are sated and the food bar is set unusually high.
The best address in town is Lotus, a warm BYO that feels like someone with a solid understanding of feng shui put the room together and someone with a strong command of world cuisine wrote the menu. Whether it’s the roasted chestnut soup, the grass-fed burger, the potato dumplings with lamb bacon or a selection of locally sourced cheeses, you quite literally can’t go wrong here. Also keeping the locals fed is tiny, modern House, which features stellar soups, salads, and sandwiches on LeBus breads (six vegetarian options!). It’s not exactly cheap, but it’ll save you the drive to Fishtown to visit Soup Kitchen.
Want some culture? There’s the Media Theatre, and since for some reason theatergoers prefer Asian food for pre-show dinners, those destined for plays seem to wind up at one of two spots nearby. First, there’s Margaret Kuo’s for high-end Chinese dishes. Second, there’s Azie, our choice for raw fish far from the airport and the ocean.
During daylight hours, the $9.95 Indian lunch buffet at Shere-E-Punjab is a bargain. You’ll find great beers at the local outpost of Iron Hill Brewery, and cheap paper-plated cheeseburgers and fries at Wimpy’s.
The future of Media restaurants: Sometimes this whole idea of naming hot neighborhoods is about picking your moment. And despite all the existing goodness in Media, the real reason it made the list is because it just got its first blessing from an honest-to-Jesus Known Name in the food scene: Peter McAndrews (of Monsu, Modo Mio and Paesano’s), a guy who knows a thing or two about opening in far-flung ’hoods, recently announced he’ll be debuting a brick-oven pizzeria and wine-and-beer-bar in the old Locust Crest Tavern on Middletown Road in Media. And if he makes good here, odds are the hordes will follow.