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Nov 1, 2009 06:48 PM

Copper Leaf Grill (ex-Just Eat By Brown Gold)--Buckingham

We just paid our first visit to the newly-rechristened Copper Leaf Grill in Buckingham. This space has been, for many years, Just Eat by Brown Gold, a favorite of many Bucks County diners. Marc and Theresa BrownGold recently sold the restaurant to a young man who is, at 25, a veteran of several Bucks County restaurants. The BrownGolds spent about a month transitioning Dominic, the new owner, teaching him some of the secrets of their success.

Some comparisons of Copper Leaf to Just Eat are necessary and will be dispensed of quickly, as the new restaurant deserves to be judged on its own merits.

I think most JustEat regulars would agree that much of the flavor of that space was a direct result of the personality and energy of its owners. Theresa was always in the front of the room to welcome guests, to circulate among the tables and to jump in and assist the wait staff. It was Theresa's art that graced the walls of JustEat. In front of the grill, Marc was a commanding presence, insuring the quality of everything that came off the grill or out of the kitchen. His comfort in that positions insured that, even on the busiest nights, he could greet regulars and talk a bit about the specials.

When we visited, the room was about half full and the wait staff was busy, but we were seated immediately. The menu (inspect the entire menu at consists of starters, salads, mains and a "bistro" menu of economically priced entrees. The Copper Leaf has continued JustEat's tradition of offering a $30 prix-fixe three-course meal. The grill was manned by a chef who also took care of plating dishes coming from the kitchen and veggies/sides coming from the stove in the rear of the dining room. Although not overwhelmed, he took on a great deal of responsibility, meaning he was moving non-stop all evening. Our only apprehension is that the grill chef will need to learn to determine doneness without touching food on the grill. We also noted that the wait staff and several kitchen staff needed to be available to serve and bus tables, perhaps because they were a bit short-handed.

We shared a generous appetizer of smoked trout over arugula ($9), which was served with a dollop of horseradish cream and a handful of haricots vert. The trout was nicely smoked, but not overwhelming.

We each went the fish route, with one of us ordering Opa ($25), which had been grilled and then served with mashed potatoes and asparagus. We had not seen Opa on a menu since a visit to Maui, so it was refreshing to see a Pacific fish being offered instead of the usual tuna or salmon. The portion was generous...perhaps 3/4 lb. of fish.

I had the cod served over soba noodles in a soy-based sauce ($20). Enjoyed this, but found the portion a bit small.

Service was attentive and Dominic seemed eager to have his guests well taken care of.
Copper Leaf continues JustEat's policy of BYO (we enjoyed a 2003 Syrah from the Novy Family Vineyards in Sonoma).

Our first impression of The Copper Leaf Grill is a very positive one. Once all the pieces fall into place, a personality will emerge. JustEat regulars will miss Marc and Theresa's influence, but Dominic obviously sources his ingredients from quality suppliers (I was pleased to see servings of fish individually wrapped when removed from the refrigerator to be prepped for the grill) and offers a varied menu at prices that are entirely reasonable for the present economic environment.

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  1. We are excited to try Copper Leaf Grill. We will be celebrating my birthday there with a group of friends on the 28th. Thank you for posting your review.

    1 Reply
    1. re: crazyspice

      Have a happy birthday and please report back your experiences at Copper Leaf.

      By the way, I think "Opa" is actually spelled "Opah"
      However it is spelled, you should try it if they are offering it when you go.

    2. I'm glad to hear that it sounds good so far. I can't not comment on your saying that the grill chef will need to learn to determine doneness without touching food on the grill. As far as I know, that IS how you determine doneness on the grill. He could wear a glove, though, so it looks better.

      1 Reply
      1. re: watercress

        My wife and I enjoyed our first experience at the new Copper Leaf Grill. As fans of Just Eats, we were happy to see the menu maintained the spirit of Marc's, and the same friendly faced staff we were accustomed to at JE. We did, however, notice a large party get a little out of hand as the evening progressed. The staff remained cool, but it was a bit uncomfortable to witness.

        I had the three course tasting menu, and my wife enjoyed the rack of lamb. We loved everything, but the lamb was amazing. We didn't stay for dessert, but found out that everything is still made fresh in house. On our way out we met Dominic. Although he was busy, he made time to shake our hands and seemed genuinely interested in our experience. We're so happy to have this little neighborhood gem!

      2. We just ate at the Copper Leaf and were very disappointed. To start, the salads were extremely bland. When asked how it was by the waiter, I told him "underwhelming"; he apparently couldn't have cared less and didn't ask why. The lamb was probably the worst rack of lamb I have ever had, with a distinct (in a bad way), but hard to pinpoint flavor - Coleman stove fumes is as close as I can come to describing it. As loyal weekly patrons of local Doylestown restaurants, we were hoping to add Copper Leaf to our list but sadly we won't be going back - ever.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Dtownfoodfan

          We were there a couple of weeks ago and also had a very disappointing meal. The service was the worst we have experienced in quite a while! I agree the dressing on the salads was terribly bland. Our steaks were overcooked and the portions were not in line with the prices they charge. One thing I noticed while we waited an excruciating long time for our food to be served, there were dishes sitting under the warming lights for a long time. We definitely will not be returning.

        2. I visited Copper Leaf Grill just after it changed hands and was disappointed. The short ribs were rubbery and lacked flavor. The wait staff was enthusiastic (everything was described as "awesome"), but the reality fell short.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Bob Cross

            Went back to Copper Leaf Grill for a second visit recently and have a few impressions:
            Upon entering the restaurant, you will see a blackboard with a series of questions and answers designed to inform guests that the restaurant is no longer owned by Marc and Theresa and to reassure guests that the spirit of the restaurant remains, as does many menu items. Although nearly full, we were seated promptly and greeted cordially.
            Our table ordered several of the available salads, all of which appeared fresh. However, the root vegetable salad included undercooked beets (decided not to return it, however) and a dressing described as "pumpkin seed." There were whole pumpkin seeds, still in their shells, scattered through the salad. Bizarre. Not sure whether to pick them up and crack them open with my teeth or push them to the side of the plate.
            Opted for the side of the plate, as I didn't feel the crack and spit approach was particularly appetizing. Our table had several of the fish selections, all of which were fresh, but none particularly distinctive. The lobster claw was part of the prix-fixe menu and was tasty, although small.

          2. I was there on Wednesday and experienced all of the positives that everyone above has commented, and none of the negatives. The smoked trout salad was wonderful (I hate horseradish but this was so sweet and subtle that I loved it). (Next time I'm going to bring an overoaked Chardonnay to go with the smoked fish)
            I had ribs from the prix fixe menu and my wife had grilled swordfish. Both were excellent and the server was very professional and friendly.
            I recommend this place to everyone.