Not Quite Ready For Prime Time
From inexperienced servers to heavy handed sauces there was lots that was off for Craig LaBan at Chadds Ford’s Brandywine Prime.
There was a handful of dishes among them I’d want to keep. The classic shrimp cocktail was huge and luscious. The house-cured duck confit gets a nice ride in a rustic tomatoey saute with linguine and kalamata olives. The tartares of beef and tuna – also classically prepared – highlighted the pure quality of the kitchen’s best ingredients.
So many other ingredients, though, seemed to be wasted on the pretense of fussy fixings. If a chophouse goes to the trouble to serve an excellent cut of beef – and Brandywine’s dry-aged cuts were good, but shy of exquisite – why drown its flavors with heavy-handed sauces and garnish? Brandywine Prime lays all of its steaks over a pool of fruited demiglace as thick as motor oil, then tops them off with a slice of oozing herbed butter the size of a credit card. And they’re all so strong, you could hardly taste the meat. It didn’t help that the rich gravy had already acquired a skin and gone tepid, as had the cookie-cutter vegetable garnishes.
One Bell – Hit Or Miss