Every neighborhood should have a great neighborhood restaurant, and Queen Village — with consistently delicious BYOs like Cochon, Little Fish, and Salt and Pepper — has its fair share. Undaunted, candlelit Sauté is hoping to pull in its own loyal eaters with a seasonally changing menu of well-priced tried-and-true dishes like beef carpaccio, Caesar-drizzled grilled romaine, and ahi tuna. Except for the dry bread pudding, all our dishes were well executed, and there were a few nice surprises that should please area foodies, too: the snappy rhubarb in the scallops, the light sweetbreads appetizer. Insider tip: Food here has a nice acidic bite — bring a full-bodied bordeaux blanc or earthy pinot noir. 775 South Front Street, 215-271-9300.
After tasting a killer breakfast taco in Texas, Drexel grad Tom McCusker decided to serve them up in Philly. In April he debuted Honest Tom’s, a gourmet food truck with a pretty handpainted sign. Tom serves just one thing: tacos. Get there before noon and you’ll have the breakfast kind, with scrambled eggs and home fries. (Order a French press of the revered Stumptown coffee.) The lunch tacos — full of Tom’s cilantro-packed fresh-chopped salsa — change daily, and cost $2.50 apiece; we gobbled up the grilled chicken, and then a surprising sweet-potato version. Tom parks at 33rd and Arch during the week and at the Clark Park farmers’ market on Saturdays. Insider tip: He closes up shop when he runs out of food, usually around 2 p.m. 33rd and Arch streets.
At 6 p.m. on a Tuesday, this bar and grill, fashionably situated in a spacious old building, was packed. Groups grabbed seats at the large communal table, while families were in the back room. The upbeat atmosphere at Firecreek is something Downingtown residents need badly, which is why they overlook a few kitchen missteps. Service needs polishing, as do some entrées — the steak frites wasn’t bad, just an unexpected cut of shoulder meat. But you’ll want to order the fall-off-the-bone St. Louis-style ribs. Insider tip: Firecreek’s owners (also involved in Radnor’s 333 Belrose) have just opened Doghouse Gourmet Burgers next door. 20 East Lancaster Avenue, Downingtown, 610-269-6000, firecreek-restaurant.com
It was sad when, in April, this teensy BYO appeared to shut down: Andrew Deery’s French-influenced fare was some of the best in the ’burbs. But the place reopened weeks later with the same chef, gently tweaked decor, a new menu and lower prices, and all was … almost well. The space is as pleasant as ever, and appetizers — a vibrant beet salad and corn soup (with popcorn garnish) — were excellent. A pea agnolotti with morels and prosciutto made an ideal seasonal entrée, but other dishes disappointed, namely a ho-hum rib eye and a bland cinnamon doughnut finale. Merely the growing pains of a new concept? Here’s hoping. Insider tip: The $25 prix-fixe menu (not available Friday or Saturday) is a deal. 258 Bridge Street, Phoenixville, 610-917-0962, majolicarestaurant.com