Zacharia's Creekside Cafe in Lansdale?
Wondering if anyone's heard when Zacharia's will be opening, or any info on it? It's taking over the space that was previously Ravenna in Lansdale on Skippack Pike....any thoughts??
Zacharias is opening this Tuesday the 21st. Yes, It is in Worcester on Rt 73...where Ravenna used to be. The owners used to own Twin Bays Cafe in Phoenixville...which always had great food. I heard they're having a "chef's table" where you can sit right at the open kitchen and what them in action. I plan to go next week and will most def post my findings!
Zacharias did open on Tuesday the 21. I attended the opening. There was a packed house. Great atmosphere and great food. I also found out that one owner formally owned Twin Bays and the other owner Andrew Gallo is a local caterer from worcester. A Gallo Affair is the catering company.
I ate at Zacharias the other night and here are my first impressions. Let me say that we ate regularly at Ravennas and will use that as the some type of benchmark. First, be assured that you will be pay more--cheapest item in the entrees is $22 (pan roasted Frenched chicken breast), the most expensive $34 (grilled filet--9 oz). There are 9 entrees--nothing too adventurous IMHO. Appetizers start at $8 and top out at $15--an antipasta offering (although the latter claims to be big enough for two). Finally, there are two salad offerings and a trio of soups. I can remember two eating at Ravennas for under $50, although we paid over $100 on other occasions. No half portions that I noticed.
I'm not a food critic by any means (I like what I like) but I'll share my impressions. My Caesar salad was OK; my partner's mixed green salad was much better. My friend had the French onion soup which she enjoyed and the crab cake appetizer was good, but not worth $14. The crab cake came with a few other items including several lime pita crisps, which tasted cold and like they came out of a box. Again, not horrible, but a bit overpriced.
The pan seared scallops I had ($28) were very nice, but my partner's pork tenderloin at $24 was a tad dry, although the portions for both entrees were generous. We passed on dessert. Rolls were served promptly with olive oil and a tapenade of sort--very tasty.
Service was fine, bit it bordered on hovering--understandable given they just opened up this week. Different people swung by our table frequently asking whether everything was fine, and it generally was. At one point, I counted seven waiters/personnel standing behind the redesigned bar counter at one point. Lack of wait staff was sometimes a problem at Ravennas (the regulars were great, but too often they only had one or two wait folks on staff). Not the case here--at least not on opening week.
We feel things are a bit over-priced for good tasty food, but a somewhat limited menu. Total bill with tip was about $113, much higher than our average bill at Ravennas, where we would sometimes spend as little as $45 or as much as $100 and be satisfied.
The decor has changed--more contemporary looking--quite nice actually. The back room is still intact and they added a bunch of seats outside--but it was too chilly to eat out there and will be too hot (for us at least) to eat out there this weekend.
Bottom line: IMHO, the menu is a little unexciting and a bit overpriced. I'm willing to give it another try and try a few other items on the menu, but again expect to pay at least $100 for a full dinner. (By the way, we generally avoid most of the Skippack restaurants, because we believe that are all overpriced--some are decent, but I think you can do better for $100. That may be standard for decent suburban eateries, but I guess I'm spoiled by the moderate prices of Ravennas. We loved going to the old Ravennas (close, affordable, good Italian fare). If you loved the comfy, relaxed feel of Ravennas, you might may or may not find it here, although, again, the help was very pleasant and attentive. We were worried that the place was going to be "dumbed down" and cater to family and kids when we read they would have a takeout counter--bit it is relatively small and discreet. One of the things we liked about Ravennas was that there were never too many kids in there, which suited our middle age dinner temperament.
Consider going to Mimosa's out in West Chester (a little gem) or Allegria near Exton. You can pay $100 for two meals there as well. Try them and Zacharias and see where you get more bang for your buck.
Finally, I realize that a $100 is not a lot to spend for a good night out, but if you eat out frequently and are looking to a default go-to kind of place like Ravenna's, I'm not yet sure this is the place. I hope this doesn't sound like I'm trashing the place, I'm not; I guess I still miss Ravenna, but all things change.
I'll be anxious to hear how other people respond as they eat there.
Thank you for the review (which, btw, seems to be very fair). I also loved Ravenna, and I also avoid the restaurants in Skippack. It looks like this Worcester restaurant may be similar to its Skippack neighbors -- overpriced and a bit boring. A shame. I really appreciate your review because a small group of us were trying to decide between this new place and going back to Allison. We chose Allison and now I'm very glad we did.
Thanks for the in-depth review.
I'm anxious to hear others, but your review does not have me jumping up and down to go here.
For me, Ravenna was simply okay (food good, service average on the best of nights), so I was hoping for something new and exciting to try with a little bit of a more adventurous menu. I guess, until I read more, I'll stick with Parc Bistro if I'm in Skippack.
I go to Zacharias Creek Side Cafe fairly often because it is convenient. I did the same for Ravenna (and so will also use it as comparison). For lunch, I recommend Zacharias. When the weather is pleasant, you can sit outside. They have tables in the sun and in the shade. The prices are reasonalbe for the quality of the food. Recently I had a melon soup (about $8) which was cool and refreshing, and tasted mostly like ripe, but not overly sweet, watermelon. I then had the Italian panino (about $9) (the most authentic panino that I have had outside of Italy, and I lived in Italy for 4 years). It was a very enjoyable lunch (food, ambiance and service).
In contrast, I do not recommend Zacharias for dinner, the food is good, but not good enough for the prices that they charge. This is the area where I thought that Ravenna's was a better value. I thought that the food at Ravenna's was only slightly better (but I have a weakness for northern Italian cuisine), but the prices were definitely lower.
Our last two meals at Zacharias were excellent. We ate there last night so we could try their new fall menu. We were not disappointed. My wife had the veal skirt steak which was exceptionally tender and flavorful in a Madeira sauce. There were a substantial number of nice strips of veal on the plate with polenta and cauliflower. I had the half roasted duck with chestnut quinoa and Brussels sprouts. The duck was good and I would order it again, but I must say that I prefer the duck breast "pastrami" that was on their summer menu. The service is very good; they have a large, friendly, well trained staff. The owners are on-site and they keep things running well. Entrees are nicely sized and include a vegetable and a starch. Nice touches include decent stemware and linens on the table. Overall, the food is nicely presented, of good quality and flavorful. We find the restaurant to be a good value (most entrees in the mid $20’s) plus the added benefit of being a BYOB.