Taste: Dining Out: Where Were Eating
Call it a restaurant renaissance: Phoenixville’s blooming with eateries these days. And though chef Robert Bahm’s new place inside a meandering 18th-century farmhouse is a little removed from the town’s burgeoning restaurant row, none of those restaurants have his watermelon gazpacho. (“And I’ve got parking,” he adds.) The refreshing soup wasn’t the only highlight: A pan-seared chicken breast was crispy-skinned, and a corn polenta was light as air. The few hitches — undercooked risotto, soupy berry “gratin” — detracted little from the overall charm; we’ll be back to try this upscale BYO for brunch. Insider tip: Take in fall foliage on the upstairs deck. 19 South Whitehorse Road, Phoenixville, 484-924-8502, beccasrestaurant.com.
Mount Airy is the happy home to a new bistro (in the old Bitar’s location) with a real recession-friendly concept. No glass of wine is over $8 — and the whole list is available in half-liter or liter carafes (generally the best way to get the most booze for your buck). The affordable entrées average $16, and are all-American comfort food. Although the kitchen’s inconsistent, a couple of items were standouts: buffalo meatloaf with garlicky mashed potatoes, fried chicken with bacon-specked collard greens, and a special milk-and-homemade-cookies plate for dessert. Insider tip: Tell your wine-savvy waiter what you plan on ordering and what type of wine you like, and he’ll find a suitable vino. 7152 Germantown Avenue, Mount Airy, 215-242-6700, winethiefbistro.com.
It was only a matter of time before someone tried to associate words that imply health — organic, free-range, grass-fed — with burgers, fries and franchises. This newly arrived concept (with two other planned area locations) is giving it a go, with McDonald’s-like patties, soft buns and thin-cut fries. It’s a quick-dinner option, and while our fries (which get their crisp from olive oil) needed more salt, the burger hit the spot. But best of all is what happened after we ate: nothing. No post-burger grease-coma that other spots induce. Insider tip: Get the double-meat burger; one patty isn’t enough for grown-ups. 50 East Wynnewood Road, Wynnewood, 610-645-7704, elevationburger.com.
This new bi-level eatery, a sister restaurant to Devil’s Alley in Rittenhouse, is spacious enough for you to meet up after work with your whole posse, and you’re likely to see large groups blowing off steam during happy hour at the spacious downstairs bar. On the second floor, huge windows swing open, creating a festive outdoor feel inside. The restaurant’s name implies barbecue, but little of the menu is dedicated to the genre. Get the unexpected “faux gras” small plate, a rich chicken liver pâté served with toast points and topped with a parsley jelly. Insider tip: Order a pint of Smokin Betty’s Blonde, a Bavarian-style beer brewed specifically for the restaurant. 116 South 11th Street, 215-922-6500, smokinbettys.com.