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Dec 17, 2008 03:27 PM

Duling Kurtz House

I was just taken to a perfectly pleasant lunch there today. It was deeply ... ordinary. Did I just have bad luck?

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  1. You had exactly the same experience I had about 4 years ago. The place could have changed a lot since, but I am not at all surprised by your comments. Just had lunch today at another similar place, the General Warren Inne, and found exactly the same thing -- deeply ordinary. People often speak of the two in the same sentence, because they have such similar characters -- nice, old-fashioned, comfortable for the blue hair set, and (your words are really right on) deeply ordinary.

    2 Replies
    1. re: FrancisdeR

      I went there again today, this time for dinner. It's not getting better (someone had told me that dinners were better than lunches). And for the price, nearly $80 a person with 1/4 bottle of wine per person (and from the bottom of the list at that), I felt badly treated.

      I had been out the night before to Birchrunville, where I had FAR better food for a lot less money although the wine was not on the bill (BYO).

      Nice rooms, pleasant enough waitress, though not particularly skilled. But so "past it". Sorry, folks, but I just don't see them justifying their Zagat's food rating.

      1. re: FrancisdeR

        I've come to not rely on Zagat's at all. First of all, so many of the published comments are from years gone by. Secondly, as someone who has filled out the Zagat survey a couple of times, I can tell you that my responses are "iffy" at best. How can I remember how much I paid for a meal at XXXX Restaurant? Finally, who knows whether the majority of folks writing about any given restaurant have a vested interest in the outcome.

        I'll take my advice from CH over Zagat's ANY day!

    2. I worked in the Exton/Downingtown area 20 years ago and the comments remain the same. "Overpriced" was, however, the third qualifier for us young professionals who then found the $40 lunches well out of reach.

      It seems to be more of the "comfortable old shoe" institution where the retired crowd can enjoy what they did years ago, consistent and unembellished. DKH been there forever but is never mentioned as a venue for exciting new cuisine. I'll bet the menu looks much as it did in the late 80's, and before.


      1. Back in the days before the restaurant explosion in Chester County, Duling-Kurtz was one of very few "fine dining" venues in the area. Although chefs have come and gone over the years, D-K has remained fairly stodgy, expensive and predictably mediocre. I put it in the same category as General Warren Inn, Ship Inn, and Mendenhall Inn. I find no reason to dine there when there are so many better choices sprinkled throughout the county.

        4 Replies
        1. re: CindyJ

          Well said, Cindy. From your list, all but Mendenhall are used by my employer as entertaining venues, and I have found your conclusion is painfully accurate. Only the most enlightened at work (and those with the biggest budgets) get out as far as Nectar. I've been trying to steer people to Trattoria San Nicola, with some success.

          At one time, I might have added Vickers Tavern to your list, but over the weekend, I heard some very positive things. I've got to get out and try it to form my own judgment.

          1. re: FrancisdeR

            Trattoria San Nicola -- that's a new one for me. Say a bit more about it, please.

            1. re: CindyJ

              Sorry I didn't reply sooner. It is on business 30, 2 doors east of where King Rd intersects. If understand it is an offshoot of a Berwyn restaurant. It is a serviceable Italian (which makes it stick out from what's available out here, I've been sorely disappointed by what I've had in Chester Co), miles ahead of its ex-neighbor, Basil's. Reasonable prices, not BYOB.

              Now does a night a month (week?) of opera. Sorry, I love opera, and I love Italian food, but together, that's a bit of sensory overload for me.

            2. re: GreaseFire

              Went to Vickers last night. I live around the corner, and it would be a shame if there were a decent restaurant close to home that we were not regulars at.

              No fear, and it's not a shame. OK food, but bordering on mediocre. And, although they seem to have brought prices down, still awful expensive compared to the high end competition.

              Their bar is a wonderful room. If they were smart, they would offer high quality bar food and people like us would flock there on cold winter nights. The hoyty-toyty fake-French image is not working. There was Dover sole on the menu (was it $45?). I felt tempted, I know you have to pay a lot for the real thing, but the place was so empty I wondered if there was enough business to trust that the fish was fresh.

              There were two (obviously expense-account from local businesses) tables filled when we went.

              Too bad. There is a real need for decent local places in Northern Exton / Lionville.

          2. I worked there for a short time as a dishwasher and kitchen prep person back in 1984. I thought the prices were really high and the food was okay then.....and I worked in the kitchen! I remember dinner for two (with drinks) being $100-$120 or so. That and the owner (one of them...the one that actually ran the kitchen) was a real jerk. That's why I said I worked there for a short time!

            I moved from the area (lived in Eagle and graduated from Downingtown High School) permanently back in 1992. I transfered from Penn State to University of South Florida. I used to stay there with my parents during the summer and the holidays when I wasn't in college. I also lived outside of Allentown, PA (Schnecksville) during junior high back from 1980 to 1983. I miss everything up there but the winters.....and I couldn't give up the saltwater fishing and the Florida Keys!!