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Alison Two (Fort Washington) - Anyone try it yet?

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  1. Just curious what are the prices for the new place? At the old place we would spend $100.00 for dinner but it was a BOYB too. Now with the drinks they are making from scratch I am wondering how much they go for. We are going there soone to try it, I think Alison seems like such an interesting chef/restaurant owner. I read all her blogs and alot of thought and planning went into her new place.

    1 Reply
    1. re: LowerGwyneddGirl

      Well the Dark and Stormy was 10 dollars.. but some cocktails are less. They have a nice wine list with by the glass going for about eight dollars a glass and up. I think there are some happy hour specials.

      Food prices seem same as Blue Bell.

    2. My husband and I went last night. We sat at the bar and had an amazing experience. We almost didn't go because my girlfriend went and hated it. It's kind of weird how many people are having such different experiences. We loved it. Started with a great drink called the Derby - their take on a mint julep. My husband had a white burgundy followed by their house red both of which were excellent (my husband is a total wine snob). The bartender Dave was very friendly and even bought my hubby a beer. We had the shrimp papri chat (spelling?) and the fried oysters both were wonderfeul. Then we had the tuna sliders which I am dreaming about and the lamb chop with chick pea puree - heavenly. We skipped dessert but the menu had our mouths watering. We will definitely be back. As a matter of fact I am going to lunch there this week - can't wait!

      1 Reply
      1. re: christie21

        In response to the comment from christie21 about so many people having such different experiences I would like to offer that while it is awesome to be able to say that you ate at the "newest" or "hottest" spots, it is often many months before a team of cooks can come together and "gel." I find it promising that many people have had such positive experiences so early on. That points to the underlying talent of the employees that will soon overcome opening jitters. I often feel that we as hounds are unfair to new restaurants by judging so early on only one visit. The best restaurants are the ones that correct common mistakes early and move onto greatness.

      2. had dinner there last week.. bar was nice and homemade chips at the bar were good.. we liked it alot... calamari was yummy, their pseudo cobb salad was delicious.. and scallops were perfect as usual. It's just expensive... staff was very nice too!

        1. I went there this past Friday (11/21) with two friends. First off - the decor is much different than Alison I - much more of a darker feel - sort of what you would see in Center City. Second - get a bottle of wine and share with the table instead of by the glass. By the glass is around $10 and you can get a nice bottle for about $35. We split 2 appetizers - the warm mushrooms over grits and the fried calamari - both were excellent. I had the scallops with gnocchi which was great. My friends had the fluke and the pork chops - again, they seemed happy with their meals. The menu is heavily slanted towards seafood so, if you are not a fish lover, you don't have many other choices. We ordered 2 desserts to share and coffees.
          Finally, it is VERY pricey - dinner for 3, with tip, was $240.00. Our server was excellent and very knowledgable about the menu and wine by the glass choices. When I asked about a bottle of wine, he sent the wine steward over who was also very helpful. And, refreshingly, she did not recommend the highest priced bottle on the list.
          I would definitely go back again - for a special occasion - but would not spur of the moment hey lets go out to dinner on a Friday night.

          1. I am a big fan of Alison of Blue Bell, and I couldn't wait for Alison Two to open.
            The remodeling was fantastic. I was a frequent eater back in the 80's Wagon Wheel days. I have an historical appreciation for what they have accomplished with this building.
            The bar was an A+, nice to have a full service bar at the new location ( yes, a little expensive, but not unreasonable)
            The food was a B+, maybe A, not at the same level as the Blue Bell location. That being said, the food is still exceptional. I will need to try a week day, or a less busy night for a better feel on food quality.
            The service was shockingly bad ( i hope it can be chalked up to a new launch system failure). Our waitress acted liked she cared, but she never delivered after promising to come back with various items. However, the rest of the service was fantastic.
            Water puring server A+
            Bread server A+
            Table clearing associate A+
            Food server A+
            Unfortunately, the head server that took our food order gets an F, yes an F. We asked for 3 things during our meal, and we received none of the 3. The big one would be drinks. We ordered drinks from the bread server well before our entree arrived . The head server even confirmed saying drinks are on the way as she rushed past our table. We ate our entire meal without our drinks. The head server passed our table several times during our meal, looked at our table, and obviously forgot about the drinks. In a nut shell, she was overwhelmed with her tables and responsibilities. After asking for a check from the water pourer, it occurred to our server that we were not happy. She offered dessert and took the drinks we never received off the check etc. Believe it or not, I am easy to please , but I was very disappointed with this experience, especially after having such a postive one at the other location (which is why we wanted to try out this one).
            My wife and i have decided to give this location a second chance in the near future.
            Why? Everyone deserves a second chance, and after experiencing the fabulour meal and service we had in Blue Bell, this is still one of the best restaurants in the area.

            1 Reply
            1. re: easy

              If I could tell wait staff one thing it would be "pay attention to the drinks" alcoholic beverages or not, I'll sit for a long time as long as I have a beverage in my hand

            2. Very, very happy to report a great dinner at Alison Two on Saturday night. Our group of six had a very early reservation (5:00!), and stayed until 8, when we were very graciously asked to vacate our table. We never felt rushed, and the noise level went from almost none at 5:00 to louder but still perfectly acceptable by 8. Service was excellent, and our waiter very knowledgeable about the menu. In fact, he was particularly expert at beer, and spent quite a bit of time with us reviewing the beer list - even our brewhound dining friend was impressed. Appetizers are excellent - the mussels and chorizo were fabulous, the shrimp papri chat was interesting and perfectly spiced, and the beet salad, while a little cheese-heavy, was very interesting and good. For entrees, we ran the gamut from whole fish (filleted for us upon request) with ginger and baby bok choy to beef to lamb to roast chicken to scallops with house made gnocchi and mushrooms (to die for). We all thought the food was wonderful - flavorful, fresh, interesting, and creative. For dessert, the cookie plate, the trio of ice cream and sorbet, and the mousse were the perfect amount for the 6 of us to share. The only thing we ordered that didn't get great reviews was the Plantation cocktail, which had interesting ingredients, but just seemed to not really come together to make a great drink.

              The northern suburbs are starved for excellent (or even very good) dining experiences. We'll definitely be going back to Alison Two. The prices are absolutely in line with the atmosphere and the quality of the food. For 6 of us, with 6 appetizers, 3 desserts, multiple cocktails and bottles of beer, a bottle of wine, and dinner, the total was $400 before tip. At $135/couple, that's pretty reasonable for how much we enjoyed our meal.

              1. We had an excellent meal on a Wednesday night about two weeks. ago, The restaurant was half full at 6:30 and full by the time we left. We had the ginger calamari appetizer, which was tasty and the "slaw" that formed the bed was delicious. We had the red snapper and the fluke. Both were cooked perfectly and were very tasty. I do not remember the sauce or the sides, but know that we would order both again. We were celebrating and the sommelier recommended a tasty sparkling wine for $30. We will be going back. We found the decor a bit sterile, but certainly not a show stopper.

                1. I really wanted to like Ms. Barshak's new place, but the food experience was sub-par, at least for lunch. Starting with the bread- it was very dull and bland bread, served cold, with a sour olive oil that just tasted bad and flavorless, making a very bad first impression. The tap ice water had lots of little particulates floating around the glass. Next was a glass of red wine served chilled, as if it came right out of a refrigerator. The fish and chips was fine but nothing special. The french fries came in a cute paper bag and were light, crisp on the outside, and fluffy inside. At least those were done well. The bacon cheeseburger came with the lower bun sopped in grease, and was hard to handle, forcing me to eat the whole thing at once so that I didn't make a mess of my clothes, glassware, or table. It did taste good, though, and was a hefty size. Homemade potato chips were a nice touch but were also too greasy. The soup and tuna sandwich were both bland. The brownie sundae dessert was cute but tiny for the $8.50 price tag. The total including tip for 3 was about $70, and was not an enjoyable experience for the price. On the plus side, the decor was very nice, with a deep blue and adobe color scheme. On the whole, I was very disappointed and do not recommend Alison Two- at least for lunch.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: PhantomEngineer

                    I have never had a good experience at either of her restaurants. Maybe I should try it again. It's not that they were awful, but just OK. So many seem to think she's wonderful. I am not sure why I have yet to experience that.

                    1. re: a3morgan

                      The thing about restaurants is that it's never the same twice. Two people (or two restaurant reviewers) can go to the same restaurant and have totally different experiences, there are just so many variables at play. The best places are the ones that minimize that variation and manage to offer a consistently great experience.

                  2. Wow! Craig LaBan gave it a scathing review.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Michelle T

                      The philly mag review doesn't seem like much of a review. The Craig Leban review is very detailed on the dishes.

                      1. re: a3morgan

                        I just left Alison two AGAIN a few minutes ago. We love it there! The food is amazing. The drinks are, as Craig Leban says, even better!! I have had something different everytime as have my dining companions and we have enjoyed everything. Roasted brussel sprouts w/ carmelized root vegetables were perfectly prepared and seasoned, crisp and delicious. The fries are amazing! The tuna sliders are on fresh bread, seasoned flavorful ahi tuna is wonderful with a perfect texture. Lamb is braised to juicy perfection served with crisp Nan and tangy yogurt dip. I cannot even speak of the desserts! We are thrilled to have Alison in the neighborhood!! Where else would you rather you eat the beef and ale????

                    2. Had dinner one evening which was very good. The best was sitting at the bar for happy hour. The tuna slider was exceptional! The service is very good. I would definitely go back.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: fooddelicious

                        We too really enjoyed our drinks and appetizers at the bar. It was our first time there, and Dave was our bartender. He was charming, as was everyone else who served us or just happened by behind the bar. I had the mushrooms over grits, what was marvelous, and my husband had the hamburger from the bar menu, which he said was good. For atmosphere alone, I'd go back.

                        1. re: Jdbc

                          Dined there on Thursday with a colleague. We intended to eat at the bar, which was full. Staff would not allow us to order off of the bar menu at a table. Also the featured cocktail menu is heavily loaded towards rums though of course they will make anything that you want. Could use a balance between rums, vodkas and whisky.

                          I had the house smoked trout on potato cake which was very good, accompanied by dill and creme freche (to the best of my recollection.) DC had a hearts of romaine salad with a lemon anchovy vinagraitte.

                          For entree I had the braised short rib, which I found to be tender and moist if not a bit over done. It is not a type of dish that I would normally order, and I was surprised at the lack of "beefy" taste to it. DC had a steamed fish in a lemongrass broth that he thought was good, though not great.

                          For dessert had a cinnamon brioche bread pudding which was accompanied by home made caramel ice cream. It was much lighter than most bread puddings so a nice way to assuage a sweet tooth. Accompanied by a well made expresso.

                          All in all Allison remains a place to visit. Prices are high, service has its ups and downs and if their bar menu is more enticing than the main menu they should allow one access to it elsewhere in the restaurant.

                      2. I recently ate there and found the food to be mediocre at best. There are very bizarre ingredients in most of the dishes and mine also happened to not be cooked to the temperature I requested. Also, has anyone noticed that the waitstaff seems miserable all of the time?

                        1. Well, how about this? Tonight is our anniversary & I was looking forward to eating dinner here after a previous visit to the bar for happy hour. My husband arrived at 4:45 expecting to get a drink while waiting for me to arrive. They wouldn't let him in! Apparently they open at 5 and can't accomodate letting him sit a the bar - or the waiting room - for 15 minutes! He just called me from the parking lot. Guess where we are NOT going tonight?

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: truffles2

                            That is terrible! For 15 minutes? Ridiculous.

                            1. re: truffles2

                              Yes, this IS distressing and since my wife and I were just there last week for a wine dinner event that was first class from start to finish - I think it is an unusual and isolated event...possibly from a new employee perhaps?

                              I can only relate that we have arrived there prior to the 5PM opening and have been permitted to sit at the bar - without comment.

                              I would suggest you contant the owner - directly - and let her know about this.

                              1. re: pensage

                                I also had a previous good experience there at happy hour. Yesterday I did speak with the owner, who was very apologetic, responsive and accomodating. In fairness, it doesn't seem like this incident is in line with her philosophy or personality. So, we'll be giving Alison's 2 another try.