Azie on Main, Villanova

789 E. Lancaster Avenue
Villanova, PA 19085

Preview: On July 15th, we attended the “friends & family” opening night of Azie on Main, the newest member of the Win Signature Restaurants group (others include Teikoku, Azie in Media and Mikado ThaiPepper). Located on the old Maia 2nd floor, Azie is truly beautiful: warm earth tones, fresh flowers and wood accents make the space both spacious and inviting. The décor is more subtle than places like Nectar or Blush, but is no less suited to a romantic evening or need-to-impress business lunch. Especially lovely is the long table located in front of the sushi bar – a shining wooden table that, when we were there, was simply set and had a long row of potted grass running down the middle.

Since it was a soft opening, we were given limited (though still rather ambitious) drink and food menus. For cocktails, I was torn between the Green Street which consisted of green tea infused gin, lime juice, Midori, and muddled cucumbers, and the Mojito Lichito, a mojito with lychee puree, mint leaves, lime, brown sugar, sake and rum. After highly recommending the mojito, our sever explained that the cocktails were created by a mixologist specially brought in by the restaurant to make drinks that would be delicious, complementary to the food and truly memorable. The mojito did not disappoint – I wouldn’t be surprised if it became one of their signature drinks.

The food offerings were just as creative as their cocktails. Fish clearly dominated the menu, both as sushi and as cooked entrées. Familiar dishes like oysters, shrimp tempura and pan roasted sea bass were placed alongside more innovative fare such as pan roasted halibut with lobster & cheese risotto and miso beurre blanc and a “New Philly roll” (shrimp, kobe beef, gruyere cheese and eel sauce). Don’t eat fish? There is still plenty to choose from, including lo mein with chicken, vegetables and tofu, chicken teriyaki and a truly delicious foie gras with fuji apple confit and honey balsamic sauce. (One word of advice for people who want to try the foie gras: ask for a fork! It’s almost impossible to eat with chopsticks.) All told, the Azie on Main menu is so diverse that everyone should be able to find something appealing.

The evening was run very much like a dress rehearsal in a play: it was meant to prepare the kitchens, waiters/waitresses, other restaurant staff and diners for a real dinner service. Our server, though clearly nervous, was excellent. He was attentive, able to answer any questions we had about the food or drinks and was able to make quick and tasty recommendations. For example, they didn’t have a type of wine that my dining partner usually drinks, but he was able to recommend one that was very similar and just as enjoyable.

Overall, the night went very well: the food was beautifully presented and tasty, everyone was attentive and helpful and the atmosphere was lovely and comfortable. As can be expected on an opening night, there were a few small hiccups related to food execution and service — but these were minor issues that should be ironed out with time. Personally, I can’t wait to go back soon to see the “real thing”!

Meals served: Lunch (Monday – Friday), Dinner (Monday – Sunday), Brunch (Sunday)
Cards: Yes
Reservations: Yes via phone or on OpenTable

Bala’s Avril BYOB to Open Aug 5

Avril BYOB will open in Bala Cynwyd on Wednesday, August 5, offering Northern Italian and Southern French cuisine.

Menu items include fresh-baked breads, Wild Mushroom Barquette with Sea Scallops $12 and Seared Duck Breast with Peach and Endive Tarte Tatin $22. A Bistro Menu will offer Espresso Foie Gras $16 and Bistro Steak Frittes $26. “Petit” plates range from $8-$16. “Grande” dishes average $18-$26.

Full Press Release after the jump, or view the menu here.

Continue reading Bala’s Avril BYOB to Open Aug 5

The Latest Freehouse Rumor

Here we go again…

The rumor mill is telling us that The Freehouse has been sold to the owners of JD McGillicuddy’s, and that another outpost of the popular Irish pub will be coming soon to Wayne. Former Villanova basketball standout Eric “The Assassin” Eberz, who was last seen (by us, at least) bouncing at the Ardmore “cut-cuts” location, is rumored to be taking on the daily operation. (edit: rumor confirmed by Michael Klein)

We can’t say that we are thrilled about another faceless mini-chain that focuses more on drink than food joining The Great American Pub and The Boathouse in Wayne, but the failure of The Freehouse to execute an interesting gastro-pub type menu has led to this.

Continue reading The Latest Freehouse Rumor

Azie on Main Opening Tomorrow AND accepting Maia Gift Cards

Azie on Main, which opens this Friday July 17th in the upstairs part of what used to be Maia, announced today that they will be offering a $25 discount to anyone holding a Maia gift certificate (through 8/31/09). It’s a nice idea, especially because the owners have no affiliation with the restaurant group that owned Maia.

MLD attended the soft launch of AoM last night, so check back soon for a report.