Chef Ben Thomas and his wife, Elena, have taken a big risk opening Cerise, a BYOB in Bryn Mawr. If you want to have dinner here, you have to buy into a $47 four-course prix-fixe menu (a $39 three-course is available Wednesday and Sunday), and at that price, proper Main Liners are going to balk at the lax (though very friendly) service, the too-bright room and the lack of table linens. And though the menu can be a little hit-or-miss, the French-trained Thomas, who has worked at Lacroix and Sycamore, does have some real skills, which he best shows off with his perfect chicken liver mousse and house-made pastas. It’s just too bad you can’t order them à la carte.
First appeared in the December, 2013 issue of Philadelphia magazine.
If I were opening an Italian restaurant, I probably wouldn’t give it a name that’s one letter away from a mid-range frozen pizza brand. But that’s not the real problem at Fraschetta, a Main Line newcomer that debuted a few months back. And the problem isn’t bad service or food, either (though we did have to send back the “special” steak for being ridiculously undercooked and terribly underseasoned). The problem, simply, is noise. Some restaurants are loud. Some restaurants are so unbelievably effing loud that the loudness almost ruins the evening by turning every conversation into a shouting match. Such is the case at this spot from the owners of Center City’s Melograno. After my friends and I yelled at each other across our plates of generally good food, and then paid the sizable check (more than $200 for four of us, BYO) with cash, since Fraschetta annoyingly doesn’t take plastic, we all just decided never to go back.
816 West Lancaster Avenue
First appeared in the October, 2013 issue of Philadelphia magazine.
This estate is based on La Lanterne, the presidential retreat at Versailles, which is still in use today. The chateau has been on and off the market since 2011, but the price has remained the same: $7.9 million.
Extravagant features include a formal knot garden, orchard stone floors, a wood bar room, a media and gaming room, a tennis pavilion, and a stream-fed pond. Personally, I like the room with the groin vault. I’d rather relax and read a book in there than play tennis.
Must-see gallery, below.
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Fraschetta, the Bryn Mawr BYOB from Rosemarie Tran and chef/husband Gianluca Demontis who gave us Melograno gets plenty of praise from Craig LaBan.
Delicate house-spun fettuccine arrives in a soulful ragu alla Romana that tastes like familiar ground beef Bolognese at first, until it turns exotic with clovey Medici spice, earthy with porcini, and richly gamey with fine bits of chicken liver and gizzard. The mezzi-rigatoni carbonara, glazed ideally in a not-too-heavy shine of egg and Pecorino, draws a musky savor from pancetta housemade from lamb belly instead of pork.
Three Bells – Very Good
Authentic Roman-style cuisine on the Main Line [Philadelphia Inquirer]
Zoë’s Kitchen — the Mediterranean-inspired chain restaurant where most of the food is grilled — already had three local spots (Collegeville, Marlton and Newtown) when it opened yet another outpost in the Greater Philadelphia market in May of this year in Bryn Mawr. That must have worked out because there are now four more to come: Malvern, Willow Grove, Cherry Hill and Wayne. It seems people like grilled food — especially when someone else is manning the grill.
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The patterns in this French Chateau will knock your socks off. The formal spaces in the enormous, 10,000 square-foot-plus estate are covered in interchanging stripes, florals, paisleys, checks and toile. You might say the right rugs are really what pull the space together.
More amazing than the eye that can combine so many patterns so well is that the downstairs level at the estate has been converted into an independently decorated space dedicated to drinking, playing video games and working out. The wet bar and arcade-style gym are clearly the where the owners get to let their hair down.
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This $2 million estate in Bryn Mawr has much to recommend it: The main house has four bedrooms, each with an en suite bath, and on the 1.5 acres of land–lush with centennial plantings–there’s a pool and a guest house. But what’s certainly the highlight of the photo gallery is the wonderfully iconic example of The Preteen Bedroom. Somewhere, the non-twerking ghost of Hannah Montana is smiling.
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Spotlight Listing: Elegant and refined Bryn Mawr estate
A beautifully updated French Normandy-style Bryn Mawr estate offers magnificent finishings ideal for the homebuyer with refined tastes. Guests are greeted in an impressive two-story reception hall with grand staircase and are easy to entertain in the well-sized living and dining rooms. The kitchen was designed by Joanne Hudson, and includes Downsview cabinetry and appliances by Thermador and SubZero. Show-off in the cherry-paneled library with impressive vaulted ceiling, fireplace and wet bar, or unwind in the lower level rec area, with gym and craft room or in the cabana with kitchenette and bath.
934 Morris Ave., Bryn Mawr
8,111 sq. ft.
Spotlight Listing: Main Line Estate on the Market
If you’re looking for stately living, this grand stone and stucco Main Line estate might suit your tastes. The home preserves original architectural details while incorporating modern updates, including stainless steel and granite in the new gourmet kitchen and oversized lavish baths. There are 4 floors of living space, blending formal spaces with casual, along with a three-season conservatory, an octagon room with atrium doors, fireplace and mercer tiles. The finished basement includes a wine cellar and outdoors you’ll find a pool, patio and two story carriage house.
1101 W. Montgomery Ave., Bryn Mawr
6,765 sq. ft.
Michael Lorber, onetime co-star of Bravo’s reality show Million Dollar Listing New York–and son of real estate magnate Howard Lorber–came to Philly last year to scope out real estate, perhaps thinking he might do better on the Main Line than in NYC. Rumor had it he was especially impressed by an eight-bedroom, almost 12,000-square-foot Walter K. Durham house in Bryn Mawr.
Now comes word that the house has sold for $4.6 million—a terrific price, and down just a skosh from the November 2012 asking price of $4.995 million. The buyer has not yet been named; could it be Lorber? Hey, Michael, give us a call.
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