A really special birthday dinner at Gilmore's Restaurant West Chester
My daughters gave me two $100 Gift Certificates to Gilmore's for Mothers Day. (I think they were a special at the time for $80 each). We used one of them last night to celebrate my birthday. I was a little concerned because while we have been there at least a half dozen times previously, last night was the first time under their new format. For those interested, the website was updated recently to reflect the small, medium and large plates. Both my husband and I had one of each. I had a lovely mushroom cappuccino consume' - a really nice presentation and much larger than I was expecting. My husband had a scallop pate.' My next course was a salad and his was pig's feet although since they were boned and not shaped like feet, you wouldn't have known what they were. For my entree I had the poached lobster special which was absolutely delicious and had a special flavor - I think a hint of vanilla. This isn't on the regular menu but I think it used to be on the old menu periodically. My husband had the fish special. We both had the cherry pastry and ice cream dessert and decaf cappuccinos. I think the total bill including tax and tip were about $150. Admittedly, this could have been considerably less with a cheaper entree and had we split a dessert and skipped the cappuccinos. The service was excellent. Special flutes were brought for the half bottle of champagne we brought as well as wine glasses. I don't think they charge for corkage and unlike some of the byobs we have been to, they do pour your wine as well as open it. A special place for a birthday and I think the price was reasonable for what it was. The only downside and it is West Chester not the restaurant is that the parking meters still operate on Saturdays from 5 pm to 10 pm. Wasn't expecting that and didn't have enough quarters, but there was a nearby garage that charged us $5. A lot less than it costs to park in Center City. One final thing that is nice - the owner comes to each table to chat for a few minutes.
Hi Faye -- Happy belated birthday! I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed your birthday dinner. I was at Gilmore's in August with my family, celebrating my birthday, and I have to say I was somewhat disappointed. That was our first time there since the change to the "small-medium-large plate format" and I really like the concept. Like you, each of us ordered one dish from each category. My take was that the food was all good -- but not great; certainly not up to what I had come to expect from Gilmores. I no longer remember what everyone ordered, but I do recall that for my entree I ordered a chicken dish with truffles. It was truly unremarkable -- there was hardly even a hint of truffle, and the sauce (madiera?) wasn't as good as some of the pan sauces I've made at home.
It's also quite likely that Peter Gilmore wasn't there that evening, because I know he almost always comes to each table to chat with guests, and we didn't see him at all that night. I'd hate to think that our meals were less than expected because he wasn't there, but maybe that had something to do with it.
I haven't written Gilmore's off, and I hope to return soon. But I also hope that my next experience there will be up to the standard I remember.