Taste: Aloha, Ambler
Buttery chocolate woods and dim candlelight cast a romantic tone across Bridget’s at 8 West, but the off-the-foyer lounge is as spirited as the Knicks-Pistons game on the overhead TV. The marble cocktail tables of the non-smoking bar are littered with Louis Vuitton handbags and oversized goblets of wine from a roster highlighting reasonably priced selections like Wishing Tree shiraz and Conundrum California. In the warm dining room, beige linens offset the jungle greens, bougainvillea pinks and earthy browns of the Pacific-inspired cuisine.
This is Ambler, where development is springing up faster than you can say “Model B with the fireplace option and the Kohler faucets,” and Bridget’s is the latest addition to Butler Pike, the town’s main drag, which has charming storefronts and obscene amounts of parking. Entrepreneur and Cheltenham native Kevin Clib, who kick-started the community’s culinary revitalization with his opening of KC’s Alley in 1999 and Ambler Coffee Company two years later, is turning heads with his weeks-old sophisticated steak-and-seafood spot.
Heels of well-dressed diners clatter on the
exposed-brick floor as they wait for a seat in one of 110 cushy Italian-imported chairs in the posh main dining room, or on the patio enclosed by windows that will be flung open once spring hits. Roomy round tables and intimate deuces fill the dining room, lined with watercolors you would never believe were painted by Clib’s nine-year-old daughter, the restaurant’s namesake. The menu is influenced by head chef Scott Simmers’s eight years at the Four Seasons Kona, Hawaii, so think tempura onion rings accompanying the 20-ounce porterhouse, and tropical tuna carpaccio packaged in minty Chinese shiso leaves. Simmers’s pick is the filet, in a sauce spiked with sake, ordered by an estimated 60 percent of diners.
>>Bridget’s at 8 West, 8 West Butler Pike, Ambler, 267-465-2000; bridgets8west.com. Dinner; lunch for private parties of 20 or more.