Rehearsal dinner in Phoenixville / Audubon?
I'm headed to the Valley Forge area for the first time in my life this weekend, before getting married there next year. I need to scope out locations for our rehearsal dinner (20-30 people) and so far on my list I've got 'Epicurean', 'General Warren Inne', and 'Bistro on Bridge'. Seems like quite a variety in terms of cuisine and atmosphere. Are there any obvious or awesome places I'm missing?
I don't know if they can accommodate your size group but Daddy Mims Creole in Phoenixville is a 'must consider' for cuisine and ambiance. Chef John Mims (formerly of Carmine's in Narberth) puts out some incredibly creative fare. Maybe they have an upstairs room. Check it out.
My (now) wife and I had our rehearsal dinner at Majolica in Phoenixville a few weeks ago. Andrew put together an -awesome- experience that everyone raved about at an extremely reasonable price. The 6 course menu was "famliar" enough not to scare off the less adventerous (with little or no experience with anything close to fine dining), but different enough to offer them a new experience and to satisfy the foodies as well. Downside is the small space - we only had 13, which was fine, but the back room would likely be hard pressed to fit 20. There's more space, if they're willing to book the entire restaurant for you, but not everyone would get to be in the same area.
Highlights of the menu:
Butternut squash soup. Herbed spatzle. Pumpkinseed oil...
Seared sea scallop. Fingerling potato. White corn emulsion. Truffle...
Escargot flatbread. Asparagus. Pancetta. Garlic confit...
And while only intended as a palate cleanser (not on the menu presented), the cucumber sorbet served was, by several accounts, the best dish of the night.
My only criticism is that Andrew isn't the best in the customer service department - it was tough to get hold of him and nail down the details, his stated preference was email communication when (in my opinion) interactive conversation is often a better vehicle, but responses were extremely slow. Likely the result of being a chef/owner and trying to do everything himself, when there is only so much time in the day.
Good luck with the planning!! Planning our wedding made me go crazy, and in the end, several things didn't go as planned and the entire day was still excellent, so don't drive yourself insane like I did!
There are a ton of good restaurants out this way, not sure which ones do rehearsal dinners, but we love Becca's & Marly's.(both BYO's- we refuse to pay a 300% upcharge while being forced to chose off sad wine menus) as for places with liquor, I went to one over a year ago at Baxter's in Phoenixville, but they have since closed and I recently noticed there are permits and such on the door, maybe a new place to try since I'm sure it will be open by next year and maybe looking to cut you a break? We had dinner at French Quarter Bistro in Royersford recently and loved their home-cooked funky menu. Bistro on Bridge is cute, especially in the warmer weather, right in the middle of the block and with an upscale but open feel, and the Epicurean is my parents favorite spot- so naturally I've never liked it, but it should not be held against the restaurant!!!