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OK - my Ambler/Blue Bell area foodies - Help me with this one!

Betharu Aug 22, 2010 07:03 PM

I am planning a dinner with my friend/boss in November. We are celebrating 10 years of working together. The secret of our success ... a good meal and a nice California Sauvignon Blanc ... but I digress.

Want to go somewhere special - not our usual hangouts which include Mirnas in Blue Bell and Bocelli's in Gwynedd.

Would like to keep it close to the Blue Bell area - say a 15 minute radius.

My 1st thought was Brassiere 73 in Skippack. I've been told, if you can get a table near the fireplace, its pretty cool. Anyone had this experience?

Also high on the list is DeTerra in Ambler.

We are both into wine but I would rather not go to a BYOB this time. Otherwise, we are pretty flexible on menu choices except no sushi or Mexican!

Put on your thinking caps! I'm counting on your help!

P.S. Loved the idea of getting together for a dinner! Count me IN!!!!!


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  1. s
    seagulls1 RE: Betharu Aug 22, 2010 07:25 PM

    Radice just 3 blocks off 73 on 202 north has gotten very good reviews on their food. The grand opening bugs should be smoothed over by now, certainly by Nov.

    1. AmblerGirl RE: Betharu Aug 23, 2010 05:05 AM

      My vote would be for Bridget's, they have a good bar and wine list, great service and atmosphere, really good steaks. Thats my go-to special occasion place.

      If Deterra is on the company credit card, that is a good choice too. The atmosphere is amazing. They have a really nice patio with an outdoor fireplace that always looks so inviting.

      I do really enjoy Brasserie 73, and it does have a nice atmosphere, both indoor and outdoor (they have a beautiful patio so great choice if the weather is nice).

      I haven't been there in years but I recall the Skippack Roadhouse being really nice as well.

      1 Reply
      1. re: AmblerGirl
        Betharu RE: AmblerGirl Aug 23, 2010 05:51 AM

        Radice is a possibility although my friend was there and said there were still some major bugs in the service - entire drink order for the table wrong - food coming out at different times for the table. I have not been there so hopefully by November, the kinks will be worked out.

        I have never been a Bridget's fan - thought it was very overpriced.

        Anyone been to the West Avenue Grill "2" in Dresher??

      2. crazyspice RE: Betharu Aug 23, 2010 05:55 AM

        Since Skippack is in play, I would give some thought to Parc Bistro. I really enjoy Bridget's as well. I have been to Dettera a few times and each time I walk away feeling like it is way overpriced for just average food.

        1. i
          ilovesummer RE: Betharu Aug 23, 2010 05:55 AM

          I agree with comments about Radiche....not high on my list...
          Deterra has new menu that is supposedly more reasonably priced...
          Hear that West Ave grille is good...tho not much atmosphere and REALLY loud!
          I put in a vote for PARC BISTRO if coming to Skippack....interesting food...beautiful space...

          8 Replies
          1. re: ilovesummer
            Betharu RE: ilovesummer Aug 23, 2010 07:52 AM

            Wow - I must be weird - I like Parc Bistro but have never thought it was great. I've had a couple of dinners with friends there. I would compare it to a higher end Broad Axe Tavern.

            1. re: Betharu
              Jdbc RE: Betharu Aug 23, 2010 10:28 AM

              I personally would pick Deterra over Bridget's. I think Bridget's is more expensive, and in my experience lately the food's not as good at Bridget's

              1. re: Betharu
                Chefpaulo RE: Betharu Aug 23, 2010 05:41 PM

                You must have been there on an "off" night when Bill wasn't cooking. I'll also vote for Parc Bistro - IMHO leaps and bounds above Broad Axe.
                If you and boss are really good buds, share a lobster, asparagus tip and wild cherry risotto appetizer. Its too much for one person but a great starter creation to seal a friendship. And the Blackberry Napoleon is not to be missed, if available.
                Brasserie 73 is good but pricey and Fiesole disturbingly so for the quality of fare.

                1. re: Chefpaulo
                  ilovesummer RE: Chefpaulo Aug 23, 2010 06:21 PM

                  thanks...didn't think i was crazy with the parc bistro rec.....always have had GREAT meals there and innovative....my last two times at broad axe were so disappointing...that they are off my radar for now...

                  1. re: ilovesummer
                    crazyspice RE: ilovesummer Aug 24, 2010 05:21 AM

                    I don't think Broad Axe has had a decent review since it re-opened. I love Parc Bistro!

                    1. re: ilovesummer
                      Betharu RE: ilovesummer Aug 24, 2010 04:43 PM

                      I'll have to give Parc Bistro another try - maybe I just wasn't with the right crowd! Sometimes the meal loses something if you aren't with people who appreciate culinary creativity or a good glass of wine!

                2. re: ilovesummer
                  AmblerGirl RE: ilovesummer Aug 24, 2010 06:35 AM

                  I heard the same thing about Deterra's menu, that they repriced to ensure all entrees are under $30, many under $20. I think that makese sense and is a smart move by the owners, they have been getting some bad word of mouth about the prices. I do personally lke Deterra (I know some do not on these boards) I would never pay the outrageous prices that were on the "opening" menu. I remember seeing a gorgeous veal chop that a patron next to me at the bar was eating and when I investigated it on the menu I almost fell over when I saw it was around $40.

                  1. re: AmblerGirl
                    truffles2 RE: AmblerGirl Aug 24, 2010 08:46 AM

                    I do like Deterra. If you are looking for lower cost fare there, I highly recommend their pizza. A friend and I have made a habit of going for pizza and wine once a week after yoga. Our favorite is the arugala and fig pizza. Perfect combination of savory flavors, all on healthy crispy wheat crust. Give it a whirl!

                3. c
                  curly girl RE: Betharu Aug 23, 2010 11:10 AM

                  Hi Beth - your dinner plans sound like a lot of fun. Congratulations on having a friend for a boss. That's quite an accomplishment nowadays. I have not personally been to Deterra, but a friend of mine was just there and said he had a great time - said his dessert was awesome. They have a really nice outdoor patio dining area that looks inviting. As far as the menu, I did look it over the last time I was in Ambler and most of the entrees were on the high side, but they also had a few less expensive offerings. I also thought of From the Boot, but that can get very crowded and noisy. If you decide to go with a BYOB, I would give my highest recommendation to Mina Cucina Rustica in Springhouse. Have been there several times and each time the food and service were outstanding. We took wine, champagne and limoncello for after dinner. Another choice would be The Stone Rose Restaurant in Conshy. We had dinner there last week and it was awesome. Try the Short Rib/Mac and Cheese appetizer and would also recommend the Scallops. Great service too. Count me in for a Chowdown if we find any others that are interested in meeting somewhere one evening or afternoon. Enjoy your get together

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: curly girl
                    Betharu RE: curly girl Aug 24, 2010 04:41 PM

                    Thanks CG - I will honestly say the secret to our success is that we enjoy a good bottle of wine (and save the really good stuff for each other!), make sure we have "friend" time outside of work - whether its a round of golf or a nice dinner, and realize we will only have work for 10 or more years but will be friends forever!

                    She loves Mina and frequents it often. I have not been yet and would love to try but probably will save that for another night.

                    I have not heard of The Stone Rose. I'll have to look them up.

                    Which leads me to think of another possiblility - Spring Mill Cafe.

                    1. re: Betharu
                      curly girl RE: Betharu Aug 24, 2010 06:27 PM

                      Stone Rose is on Fayette St (Butler Pike) in the center of Conshy. Spring Mill Cafe is on my restaurant "bucket list" but I have not been yet. I believe they are a BYOB but I could be wrong. They are just up the road from where I work in Conshohocken, which reminds me of a few other places that you may want to try - Pepperoncini Restaurant & Bar on Poplar St in Conshy. Excellent food and they have a nice wine selection. Right now they are offering $10 off bottles of wine on Thursdays. There's also The Fayette Grille (BYOB) with a prix fixe menu - Starter, Entree & Dessert for $34. Thankfully you have until November to make your choice.

                  2. t
                    truffles2 RE: Betharu Aug 23, 2010 01:15 PM

                    Like some others, I thought of Bridgets. IMHO, they are a good choice for Tapas and wine (over the regular menu.) And they have valet parking which takes some of the hastle out of going to Ambler.

                    The addition I would make to your list is the often overlooked, Trinacria. This is very upscale and authentic Italian. Gnocci of the day, lots of fresh fish filleted at the table, excellent veal and eggplant dishes. If you are a wine lover, they have a serious wine list and the owner is knowledgable and attentive in making recommendations. The dessert cart is irresistable, as is their limoncello aperatif. Not a cheap venue, but highly worth it for a special occasion.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: truffles2
                      Betharu RE: truffles2 Aug 24, 2010 04:42 PM

                      I've never been to Trinacria but my friend is not a fan. I have suggested it several time for our Xmas dinner.

                      Keep the suggestions coming! These are great!

                    2. b
                      Betharu RE: Betharu Oct 27, 2010 03:48 PM

                      Well - the choice was made. We have reservations (she doesn't know yet) at

                      Brassiere 73 in Skippack - table by the fireplace!

                      Thanks for all the suggestions and I will report back!

                      By the way - The Stone Rose looked very cool and is definitely on my list to try!

                      1. PattiCakes RE: Betharu Oct 28, 2010 10:31 AM

                        I kinda like Bocelli, in Gwynned. BYOB, nice atmoshere, and willing to make a fuss if you tell them it's a special dinner.


                        2 Replies
                        1. re: PattiCakes
                          Betharu RE: PattiCakes Oct 28, 2010 12:03 PM

                          Patti - I love Bocelli's but it is a place we frequent quite often and I wanted somewhere different!

                          But I always recommend Bocelli's to people.

                          1. re: Betharu
                            PattiCakes RE: Betharu Oct 28, 2010 01:54 PM

                            Ooops. I missed your original mention of Bocelli's. For cozy ambiance, how about Joseph Ambler Inn?

                        2. k
                          ken from conshy RE: Betharu Oct 28, 2010 01:59 PM

                          One more to consider - San Marco. I have had a couple of meeting there of friends/business associates. Good wine list and excellent food. There is also a piano bar for before or after.

                          9 Replies
                          1. re: truffles2
                            AmblerGirl RE: truffles2 Nov 2, 2010 02:46 PM

                            I had one meal there and it was overpriced and the service was dreadful, there was so much preferential treatment given to the regulars it made me so uncomfortable. I live less than 5 minutes from there and will never go back.

                            1. re: AmblerGirl
                              Jdbc RE: AmblerGirl Nov 2, 2010 04:40 PM

                              I have to agree with AmblerGirl. I've been to the bar at San Marco when there was just us and maybe two regulars. We were pretty much ignored while the regulars where fawned over. I'm also only about five minutes away, and I hesitate to ever go back.

                              1. re: Jdbc
                                Chefpaulo RE: Jdbc Nov 2, 2010 07:04 PM

                                Yes, overpriced it is but I had the mixed fortune of taking my dad there and evidently meeting up with the greenest of greenhorn bartenders. Being my birthday, I ordered a Glenfiddich on the rocks. What arrived was a hefty brandy snifter with crushed ice and NO LESS than six ounces of my favorite single malt. Yikes! I could neither finish it (sob) and still safely navigate dear dad home, nor did I have the nerve to ask for a doggie bag. When the bill came, dad offered his sub-vocalized expletives over $126 for two (in 1999) before we ventured forth. Never have I returned but at least have a tale to tell.

                                1. re: Chefpaulo
                                  barryg RE: Chefpaulo Nov 6, 2010 07:18 AM

                                  Getting off track but this often happens to me when ordering whiskey or scotch neat from people that aren't real bartenders. Most recently at the Kimmel Center before a show I ordered a Canadian Club neat (best they have), and got a 4-5 oz pour for $9 or whatever it was. Great deal!

                                  At weddings, this happens all the time too. One I was at recently, I ordered something neat and the guy filled a highball glass to the top! Of course at an open bar this is just wasteful and undesirable, I'd rather have gone back after a normal drink and gotten something else.

                                2. re: Jdbc
                                  JanR RE: Jdbc Nov 6, 2010 06:40 AM

                                  A few years back, I posted a very annoyed review about sitting next to two suits at San Marco, one of whom was shouting on his cell phone for 15 minutes. The waiter did nothing but fawn over them. I never returned.

                                  1. re: JanR
                                    cgarner RE: JanR Nov 6, 2010 12:09 PM

                                    Is it the waiter/waitress job to tell a rude customer to get off the phone?

                              2. re: mr.goodfood
                                cgarner RE: mr.goodfood Nov 3, 2010 12:51 PM

                                *insider alert, my Pop is friends with Leo. I hesitate to ever say anything about San Marco because I don't want to appear to be a schill... but I've always thought that the family was quite gracious whever I've been there, even without my Dad. (oh and the food IMHO is fantastic, pricey, yes but still I think very good)

                                1. re: cgarner
                                  bucksguy14 RE: cgarner Nov 3, 2010 01:12 PM

                                  Sounds like you're confirming the comments about the service differences between regulars and "others"!

                                  1. re: bucksguy14
                                    cgarner RE: bucksguy14 Nov 4, 2010 09:41 AM

                                    I know, and I really didn't mean to do that. I've gotten good service going there with a date as a "non-regular" too

                              3. b
                                Betharu RE: Betharu Nov 4, 2010 09:27 AM

                                Very much looking forward to dinner tonight. I requested a table by the fireplace - perfect night for it!!!

                                I'll report back tomorrow.

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