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Anybody out there tried The Vine and Fig in Doylestown?

I hope I'm getting the name right-- it's where McGlinchey's used to be, across from the County Theater (what a good spot). A new owner is there, and he seems serious. Feedback?

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  1. Vine and Fig Bistro is the best kept secret in Doylestown. My husband and I ate there for the first time this evening. The Chef/ owner took over McGlinchey's six months ago and has been gradually upgrading and redecorating to make the change to Vine and Fig Bistro. I guess his new awning and signage will arrive in a couple of weeks, the final stage of the renovation will take place and then it will officially change to Vine and Fig Bistro.
    The chef's enthusiasm shows in his cooking. We had mussels in a light tomato herb broth as an appetizer which was very tasty. A dish I would definitely order again.The mussels were very fresh and tasted as if they were just plucked from the sea. We both had seared salmon over a celery root puree' accompanied by steamed snow peas. The salmon was tender and the celery root worked well. The snow peas were steamed perfectly. For dessert We had a pear puff pastry tart served warm with a caramel sauce. It was simple and delicious. Although the menu at this point was limited, it is a good way to serve fresh food and keep the costs down. This is smart in a difficult economy. Entree's were between $15.95 and $18.95. I would have preferred more interesting bread.
    We arrived early, 5:30 since we were going to a 7 pm movie across the street. By 6:30 the restaurant was almost full. The service was prompt and friendly. Apparently there is a lovely garden for outdoor dining when the weather warms up.
    In a nutshell I wood describe the experience as fine food without being fussy in a casual atmosphere. It is nice to see someone raise the level of food in Doylestown. I believe the chef has a vision for this place that over time he will achieve. There is still room for improvement in the dinnerware, glassware and cutlery. I did notice some nice wine glasses coming out for those who knew to bring their own wine. At the moment this restaurant is BYOB. Only soft drinks are available. I look forward to trying this place again.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Parisjfk

      I like it a lot! Casual, not fancy dinnerware, just fin cuisine!
      I do go back every month.
      The owner is a great person and love to cook, love people, work hard to make you happy (does matter to him a great deal).
      This is quality, fresh, and the deserts are sublime.
      Not your typical Italian, more like a NY interpretation of the European cuisine.
      It does remind me of the quality that Jack Colmaire did at Cafe Arielle's when in D-town.
      (now AriellesCountryInn.com)
      The outside (on Back) is very nice a little like in New Hope.
      The view of the cinema is a top.
      PS it is a nice place you still can bring your own wine!

      Just try it, you will come back. Most people do.

    2. Had lunch today (Oct 2011) with the breakfast menu. My friend and I both really love breakfast, so we were jazzed to find out breakfast was served all day. Unfortunately, our experience did not live up to the promise of the place.

      Food:
      We had coffee, and 1: an omelet with bacon, and swiss, fried potatoes, whole grain toast and a side of sausage; 2: "thick sliced" French roast. With our meal we had a side of bacon and a side of sausage.

      The food was both exceptional and disappointing. The omelet was exceptional, stuffed with cheese, bacon AND sausage and the potatoes were perfect, golden brown and tender inside.

      However...
      The rest of the meal was just terrible. The French toast was simply average, not "thick cut", certainly nothing special. The bacon was amazing for all the wrong reasons: it came all tangled and clumped greasily together, burnt to a crisp on one side of the clump, and almost raw on the other. One piece of toast was burnt, (the other was dark) and it looked like they'd tried to hide it under a large smear of butter.

      Service:
      Started OK, ended horribly. When I asked for coffee and a few more minutes to make a decision, the waitress went off in a slight huff. She brought coffee, and took our order well enough. She came over to refill our coffee, but took the reminder that we were waiting on the sausage with a little huff. Once the food arrived, she left our check and we became invisible. She never came back to ask about our meal, so we were left with the raw/burnt bacon and empty coffee cups. The waitress seemed to vanish, and even tho the restaurant became largely empty, she never came over to our table again. As we finished, our used plates sat on the table even as other servers bustled about. Although my friend had her coffee refilled, I asked for decaf which never appeared. We waited and sat with the dirty dishes and empty coffee cups and waited... and waited and waited... I wonder if they would have noticed had we gotten up as if we were leaving without paying.

      And it wasn't just us. The table to one side of us was also missing part of their lunch. The waitress was asked twice, and when she finally brought it, the couple was almost done, and they pointed this out. Again, the waitress was almost huffy, saying she didn't know it would take that long. When the patron didn't budge on sending the soup back, the waitress said she would leave it and not charge for it. Finally the patron gave in, and the waitress walked away.

      I'm undecided as to giving this restaurant another try. Their other menus look interesting and tasty, but the terribly unbalanced meal and terrible service make it unlikely.

      2 Replies
      1. re: ReaRev

        We had dinner there a couple of weeks ago. Service was just okay. My meal was terrible! I ordered the quail in puff pastry with a chanterelle "sauce". It is probably one of the worst meals I have ever been served. The puff pastry was raw and the chanterelle "sauce" was actually large pieces of rubbery mushrooms. Nothing sauce like about it. After I cut into the puff pastry, I had to send it back. I decided not to order anything else. My husband ordered a pasta dish that was as dry as I have ever seen.

        We have been to this restaurant once before and left unimpressed, but our friend was performing and we decided to give it another try. Won't happen again!

        1. re: crazyspice

          I agree it's not that great. He uses good ingredients and doesn't know how to combine them so there's balance. There's an overabundance of rich, creamy, mild flavors with no spice or acidity to balance them. In short, another amateurish operation with nice touches here and there.

      2. There have been a few other threads about The Vine and Fig Tree on this board. Most have been distinctly more positive than this one. We eat there fairly regularly and are very pleased with the quality of the preparations there. Nor have we had any issues with service.

        12 Replies
        1. re: famdoc

          No offense intended famdoc, but you also really like Copper Leaf Grill and few other people do.

          1. re: crazyspice

            No offense taken. But, I think you're mistaken about the proportion of people who like/dislike each. I think we tend to see the world through our own eyes, as biased as they may be. I'm as guilty of this as you. Both Copper Leaf Grill and Vine and Fig Tree are restaurants that are moderately-priced, largely locally-sourced and providing non-formulaic preparations. They're not Le Bec Fin and both you and I can prepare some of the dishes offered at each as well as, if not better, than the respective chefs at each. Particularly as regard Copper Leaf, my remarks have not been uniformly positive. My early remarks about Copper Leaf stand: it's not nearly as good as it was under previous owners. I was recently at Copper Leaf and was again concerned about unwrapped food staying out on prep surfaces near the grill. The chef there needs to be more conscious of food hygiene practices.

            The bottom line is, if I don't want to cook, want a BYO place, am perhaps seeing a film in Doylestown and want a reasonably priced place, where I can hear my dining companion(s) when they speak with me, both are good options. I've commented on a number of other area restaurants, some of which I like a whole lot more. Both places are doing an okay business, with many repeat customers, so not everyone feels negatively about them. Nuff said...

            1. re: crazyspice

              I've only had lunch at Vine & Fig Tree (3x), and I found it to be hit or miss. I don't recall what I had to eat, but I remember leaving the first time and saying that I'd give them a second chance, which must have been decent-to-good, because I went back a third time (ate outside on a nice summer day) and disliked the salad, but enjoyed the sandwich. I'll probably go back sometime.

              1. re: crazyspice

                Interesting observation crazyspice. I have noticed the same thing and with other establishments too.

                1. re: crazyspice

                  You might be pleased to know that Copper Leaf Grill has been sold and is reopening under a new name.

                  1. re: famdoc

                    I look forward to experiencing the new change. Thank you for the heads up!

                    1. re: famdoc

                      Name of it is Perfect Taste. They are keeping the wood grill. There is a big banner under the Copper Leaf Grill sign that says under new ownership. Haven't eaten there yet.

                      1. re: cwdonald

                        First review on Yelp, FWIW, is a 5-star positive review. Doesn't sound like a shill.
                        Probably should have a separate thread about Perfect Taste.

                        1. re: cwdonald

                          @cwdonald and @crazyspice:

                          Haven't been to Perfect Taste yet, but they now have a Facebook page with a sample menu:

                          http://www.facebook.com/pages/Perfect...

                          also, they have $25 for $10 and $10 for $5 coupons on restaurant.com

                          http://www.restaurant.com/rdc/perfect...

                          The menu doesn't appeal to me, but you guys might be interested. Please post your opinions after visiting.

                          A second, albeit disgruntled, Yelp review has appeared. Apparently, she tried to use a Copper Leaf Grill coupon and new owner wouldn't accept it.

                          1. re: famdoc

                            Here's what I posted on Yelp. Definitely do NOT recommend Perfect Taste.

                            Have you ever had a meal that was so bad it was almost comical? That was our experience with Perfect Taste.

                            We were looking for somewhere to go for dinner one night when our toddler was with her grandparents. Everywhere else was packed but Perfect Taste was empty at 5:30pm on a Saturday. They are BYOB so my husband went down two doors to the liquor store to get a bottle of wine.

                            Service was fine. The food, however, was downright awful. By the time we left around 6:30/7pm the place was packed and we both wanted to stand in the doorway and yell, "If you like good food get out now!"

                            The smell from the wood-burning grill hits you as soon as you walk in the door, so of course we both ordered dishes that are supposedly cooked on the grill. My tuna was chewy and didn't even have grill marks. How is that possible for something cooked on a hot grill? We should have known things weren't going to be good when we saw that all the entrees (except the seafood) are served with the same starch and veggie, in this case asparagus. In December. Yeah. We hoped the asparagus might be cooked on the grill but as soon as our plates were delivered we knew they'd just been steamed. They weren't even trimmed of their woody ends. My rice was obviously Minute Rice, and was sadly the best thing on the plate. My husband got steak au poive which couldn't have been grilled because there was no wood-smoked flavor or grill marks. Bland sauce with no descernible peppercorns or brandy, rubbery potatoes and the same ill-prepared asparagus.

                            At least the wine was good.

                            1. re: SarahEats

                              Yikes! Thanks for taking one for the team.
                              Maybe Marc and Teresa should consider buying back the place.

                              Hey, Chowhound team...seems as if we should break off the thread about Perfect Taste from that of Vine and Fig Tree....