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Brandywine Prime

New place in Chadds Ford. Anyone been?

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  1. I was there the second day it was open. It was . . . okay. Maybe I shouldn't even be writing about my visit there because I don't believe it was indicative of what I'd find if I were to go back tonight, but you asked... In their defense, they really weren't in full gear yet. Their in-house dry-aged steaks, which is one of their unique offerings, weren't available; their "30 wines for under $30" wine list consisted of two selections from the Chadds Ford Winery across the street. Fortunately, we knew this ahead of time and we brought our own wine -- they do allow BYO -- and we weren't charged their usual $10 corkage fee.

    I started with the calamari appetizer which was okay. I had venison for my entree and it was good, but not the best I've ever had. As you probably know, the restaurant is in an historic building which has been extensively renovated and restored. It's quite a lovely space. But we were seated upstairs and it was chilly sitting next to a window -- so chilly we had to keep sweaters and coats on. They ended up comping us desserts by way of apology.

    This might all sound like I'm giving up on Brandywine Prime, but that's just not the case. I have every confidence in Chef Dan Butler and his staff, and, if his other restaurants are any indication, I believe B'wine Prime will soon become a shining star on the Chester County dining scene. I had dinner last Tuesday at Deep Blue in Wilmington, and it was outstanding; and I've been to Toscano, also in Wilmington, many times, and have always enjoyed it. I'm still expecting great things from this newcomer, and I'll give them another try in a few weeks.

    1. ...and an update. I just received an email from B'wine Prime, thanking me for my business during their first hectic few weeks, along with a $25 gift certificate for a future visit. This is a class act, and I know they'll do well once they're up and running at full speed.

      1 Reply
      1. re: CindyJ

        We're having dinner there tonight, so I'll report back tomorrow.

      2. We had dinner last night at Brandywine Prime with some friends and it was very good. The decor looked great, keeping some traditional elements like the exposed stone walls, but adding some cool contemporary touches. I especially liked the fact that all the chairs (including the higher bar stools) had cushioned seats making for a very comfortable dining experience. My husband and I had a wonderful dinner a few nights ago at Matyson in Phila. and, although we loved the food, the hard wood chairs weren't too appealing. Maybe I'm being picky, but comfort is an important element in the dining experience.

        Back to the food at Brandywine Prime.....

        We had the seafood tower for the table, which was great--the shrimp were outstanding, as was tuna tartare and lobster cerviche. My husband and I shared the arugula sald which was excellent. I had the crab cakes with lobster mashed potatoes and asparagus--very enjoyable. (I had the same dish at Deep Blue last month--also very good). He had a strip steak which came with a choice of potato, side dish and sauce, which he enjoyed. We had a dessert sampler platter for the table, which consisted of 3 full sized desserts. Excellent coffee finished a great meal.

        We sat upstairs and were very comfortable. The place was absolutely packed and seems to being doing very well. I think they plan to start lunch service soon.

        1. Thanks for the observations. As it turns out, we went to Big Fork Saturday night with friends of ours. It was our first time there, and based on our experience we will go back. I had two apps and a salad, my wife had the steak. My shortrib popover was pretty generous but a little bland. The risotto with mussels was excellent as was the salad. Since it is a BYOB, the dinner bill did not cause any sticker shock whatsoever. BTW, how does Brandywine Prime compare to The Gables?

          2 Replies
          1. re: Rondo

            Went to BP last night and was very impressed. Let me begin by saying that the Yuppies love this place. You have been warned!

            The restaurant is not much from the outside, but very city chic with a country flair on the inside. The waitstaff is as pretty as the customers. The menu is limited and pricey. However, if you go for the happy hour, you can have an apple martini and crab plate for $5 each that will send you over the moon. The calamari and sliders weren't bad either and the Thai Shrimp looked out of this world! (All on the $5 menu.)

            1. re: Rondo

              Haven't eaten at Brandywine Prime but I would stay away from the Gables. My husband and I ate there a few months ago after hearing that it was wonderful . A huge disappointment and we won't go back. The mushroom soup was awful -mushrooms were old and barely cooked . The entrees were no better . They offer half portions which is a plus - but so poorly prepared it doesn't matter

            2. We went this Thursday and had an excellent meal. My fiances steak was like butter, great flavor, crisp sear, perfectly med rare. The oysters are great there as well. I got the tuna sashimi app which was awesome although a little small. I had the ciopinno stew which was incredible. Great flavor that didn't overpower the various seafood flavors. We were given 2 complimentary glasses of dessert wine with our dessert. Plus they allow BYOB ($10 cork fee, somtimes waived) even though they have a liquor liscence. Worth the trip, even though we're in West chester so it's close.

              1 Reply
              1. re: keby

                Thanks for the updates, AG and keby. Happy hour sounds like a plan!

              2. My wife and I were just there last night. I'll start with the negative and end positive.....Be careful when you order wine. Some of the wines listed in the cabernet sauvignon section are actually part cab blended with other far lower rated wines. And the pricing is high as if it was a real cab. They told me the one we ordered was 100% cab, but I checked it on the internet this morning and its a blend (Napanook 2004) . I'm guessing they just didn't know better since it didn't say it was a blend on the label, but still I paid $85 bucks for a merlot blend! On the positive side, the night's special bone-in prime steak was outstanding, although a little pricey at $45 just for the steak - sides are extra. The calamari appetizer is also really good. We'll go back because its real closeby to us, but we'll avoid the wine list and ask the price for the specials before ordering them.

                4 Replies
                1. re: WC Diners

                  $85 for the Napanook is not a terrible price at a restaurant. Dominus makes some great wines and this is their second label. IIRC in order to be called a varietal (e.g. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, etc.) California law doesn't require a wine to be 100% of that particular varietal if it has a high percentage of that grape. Napanook is intended to be a Bordeaux blend of 80+% Cabernet Sauvignon and lesser amounts of Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec, and Petit Verdot. These "lower rated wines" are really wines made from the blending grapes I just mentioned. When blended correctly they make a Cab more complex, add depth and dimension and the overall wine may turn from good to outstanding. I don't know why it's so important to have a 100% cab, but if that's what you wanted...

                  More importantly is whether or not you liked the wine. The few times I've had it, it was very good to excellent.

                  1. re: WC Diners

                    Thanks for the report WC. We've been going to Brandywine Prime on Friday evenings for their 1/2 off Burger specials. Have had their calamari app also and agree it is very good. We are planning on going to their Sunday Brunch next week. I'll report back if we make it there.

                    1. re: Rondo

                      Finally made it to Brandywine Prime for Brunch this morning. I give it a hearty MEH! From the bloody mary which wasn't very well made to the Eggs Benedict which were among the most disappointing I've ever had it was surprisingly mediocre. I had to send the Benedict back for more hollandaise. The canadian bacon was cut so thin it actually curled up around the egg which was overpoached. Never seen that before. This is what I call a "hybrid" brunch, where you have a buffet and you get to choose one thing from the menu. Wife had steak and eggs. Nice thick piece of beef. She enjoyed it. The buffet had a number of items. The smoked salmon was good. They had Cobb salad, caeser salad, pasta salad, chicken salad, tomato and mozzarella, a charcuterie and cheese setting, a few other things I can't recall and desserts. Also mushroom soup and they were supposed to have a gazpacho w/crabmeat and avocado but I didn't see it. I tried the creme brulee for dessert. Wasn't cooked all the way through . Soooo, I guess we will stick to the occasional 1/2 off burgers on Fridays.

                      1. re: Rondo


                        Finally made it out to BP with friends on a saturday night. Perfect evening. Do not know where to start. Maybe with the waiter, Michael Masterson who said he was descended from Bat. A terrific waiter. Made the night. Now to the food.

                        Mushroom soup was awesome, he said. Grilled romaine was perfect, she said and I tasted and agreed. Spinach salad was good and I tasted and agreed. App of soft shell crabs with a watermelon/pineapple mango was out of this world. I have had all kinds of soft shells and this was at the top.

                        We.had strip steaks and Filet for dinner. Three were slightly overcooked, but good flavor. Potatoes were good.

                        Nice vibe. Highly recommended, especially if you are lucky enough to get Michael.

                        Oh, almost forgot the comp dessert wine.

                        We will be back