Carmine's Creole Cafe in Bryn Mawr
Has anyone tried this place in its new Bryn Mawr location? I can find positive older reviews, but wonder if the food and service withstood the move to a new locale?
Went there a month ago. Excellent. As good as its first two incarnations. Great room. Highly recommended.
I've actually never been, but my parents- who are definitely foodies- would go to Carmine's 2x a week when it was in Narberth...not sure if they are driving 5 extra minutes these days, but they LOVE it.
i went last night for our 8-year anniversary dinner. maybe my expectations were too high, but they've fallen down to my "just average" category.
first of all, i made reservations for the tasting menu. then i called back to confirm they could still do the tasting menu with my dietary restrictions (just seafood, no other meats). i was told they could accommodate. when i arrived, our waitress went over the specials, but i didn't really listen because my mind was fixed on tasting menu. when i spoke up to order that, she said the restaurant didn't offer it any more. hm, as of, like, 90 minutes ago?? somewhere along the line yesterday, i was given horrible misinformation --- had i known there was not a tasting menu, i never would have gone. we dine out all the time, so it's nothing particularly special to pick something off of a menu. we reserve tasting menus for our special occasions, anniversaries, birthdays, etc - we have never been disappointed with a tasting menu dinner ANYwhere, and we enjoy the pleasant surprise of unusual pairings we would not normally think to order left to our own devices. i think all places should offer tasting menus - what chef wouldn't like to show off what they do best?!! (or use whatever ingredient they have a surplus of at any given point). anyway, the misinformation was a big deal to me.
we started off with two soups; a crab bisque and a special chilled yam soup with ginger and a hush puppy in the middle. man those soups were fabulous. i could have snacked on soups and that fabulous fresh bread with the garlic dipping oil all night, and been happy with it. awesome. funny thing is, we just bought ginger root and a yam at the reading terminal market earlier this week, to try to figure out how to cook them creatively at home. we joked about ending the meal there and going home to work something similar out with our yam. that soup was really, really good - high on flavor and spice. intense.
i think the intensity is what i was missing from the rest of the meal. we got crab claws, which showed up at the same time as the soups and not looking at ALL like what the description stated. they were claws (with the 'finger' bit attached) swimming in muck that looked like grits with scallions atop. i was picturing a crab cocktail, it was nothing like that. i think this is quite possibly one of my least favorite things i've had at a restaurant, save for those places who serve that "rotten" iced tea. that's my #1 restaurant pet peeve, and the crab claws did not manage to surpass that one. i cannot even begin to describe the taste other than it was totally unfamiliar, not savory at all, and downright offensive to my senses, as well as my SO. to top that off, it was impossible to eat. the finger and fin were still attached to the claw, so eating with a fork was out of the question. we tried eating with our fingers to find that the "grits" muck made it impossible to keep ahold of the hard shell. then we tried a hand/fork combo move, but ultimately we just ended up abandoning the dish. i felt really bad.
entrees were a blackened fish w/ sweet pecan sauce over sweet potato mashers and the SO had a seafood medley pasta with cheese. LOTS of cheese on her dish! both were good, but nothing to knock me off of my chair. soups definitely the highlight of the meal.
I finally tried Carmine's in Bryn Mawr, and found myself sadly disapointed. The food all tasted very much the same, as if the kitchen was sharing one big jar of something labeled "Cajun Spices." I did enjoy my seafood gumbo. my roasted duck was ok (if eerily similar to the gumbo), but my husband's seafood pasta looked like it had been flooded with Velveeta and tasted about the same. I'm not sure I want to try again...