The table-to-farm movement has no more picturesque setting than this ambitious indoor-outdoor restaurant experience at Dean Carlson’s idyllic grass-fed animal farm.
It’s a special destination, with a butcher shop market and inspiring views of the Brandywine Creek from the covered pavilion, plus an Italian-accented menu overseen by Russet chef Andrew Wood.
He’s finally hired some help on the kitchen line, and begun expanding the menu, and even opened a pastry shop and café, Butter Scotch (1406 Hollow Rd.), across the street to feature Jane Urban’s croissants and desserts. And then there are the gorgeous summer rolls whose supple rice paper wrappers are stuffed with delicately poached lobster marinated in Korean chilies and honey, and then posed over a creamy lobster bisque enriched with port and saffron.
Most significant, though, he has happily married another restaurateur, Nui Kullana of Phoenixville’s Thai L’Elephant, and the cross-cultural influences have begun to appear in his cooking. It’s a decidedly Gallic flourish for an Asian inspiration, but in this sweet bucolic corner, it’s the genuine taste of a talented chef embracing the latest chapter in his life.
If you come with a group, they’ll make a “family dosa” as long as your table.
Hard to believe it’s already been a decade since the trendsetting debut of this locavore paradise for prepared foods, artisan cheeses, and evening tasting menu feasts put Kennett Square on every gourmand’s hot list.
My vote for Southeast Pennsylvania's best winery is unlike the rest.
And amazingly, you still need to plan a year in advance to book dinner at the 12-seat country table in the charming market dining room, and a few months out for the smaller butcher block square in the fluorescent-lit kitchen (my preferred choice.) But there’s good reason for the fuss.
The 10-course seasonal tasting dinners orchestrated by Aimee Olexy and her chefs are delivered with such seamless BYOB grace by her service staff that dinner here remains one of the region’s magical four-bell dining experiences.
And the Whip has always been a great destination for pub classics like shepherd’s pie, Welsh rarebit, a knockout double burger (the Black Mack), and “bubble and squeak.” Coll has brought more finesse and seasonality to the kitchen, with excellent takes on curry (made with local lamb), sublime short ribs, foie gras ravioli that harken back to her Asian fusion days, and her own twist on the Whip’s “luxury pie” (a special the second weekend of each month) filled with seafood in a rich lobster lemongrass sauce beneath a lid of mashed potatoes.
For dessert, there’s always the stellar sticky toffee pudding. It’s culled from the world-class cheese cellar of the Farm at Doe Run, located just a short gallop away.
Talented chef Anne Coll (Meritage, Susanna Foo) has upgraded the pub fare at this evocative British-themed tavern frequented by the horsey crowd.