The Philly Mag 50: Restaurants 1 to 20

13. Birchrunville Store Cafe
13. Birchrunville Store Cafe
This tiny BYOB at a quiet crossroads in deep Chester County is a few winding roads and tricky turns from anywhere. But it’s worth cursing at MapQuest to experience chef Francis Trzeciak’s French-Italian cooking. Trzeciak has a skill for balancing rustic pâtés and textbook cheese soufflés with more surprising dishes like braised veal cheeks, or sea bass ceviche treated with squid ink. Entrées tend toward the classic — rack of lamb with rosemary, or filet of beef with wild mushrooms — but Trzeciak also updates these ideas; emulsions, layered purées and intense reductions add a contemporary spark. We might grouse that a few of these sauces appear in multiple dishes, but it’s hard to complain when they accent the food so well. The chef has a love of wild game, so pheasant, partridge, venison, boar and buffalo make frequent appearances. Despite the Birchrunville Store Cafe‘s remote location, many of the diners are regulars with standing reservations, and the service is accordingly friendly and homey. Weekend reservations are understandably hard to come by, so plan well ahead. But it’s a Thursday-night spot we crave, for the (schedule in advance) $65 six-course tasting menu — the best way to relish all of Trzeciak’s talents.

Pictured: Mushroom and pheasant lasagna

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