Vetri

vetri-onion

Mario Batali dubbed it the best Italian restaurant on the East Coast. Alan Richman said it was the best Italian restaurant in the US. Gourmet included it in their top 50 in the country. Craig LeBan gave it 4 bells and called it “our very best”. Needless to say, Vetri doesn’t need a publication like this one to confirm it’s greatness. It’s great. But it is also very, very expensive. The only dining option, every day, is the $135 fixed-price tasting menu. If you want to pair wines with each course, that’s another $90. Unless you’re a bonafide blue blood Main Liner, this isn’t a casual night out.

So, the real question here is not whether it is great, but whether it is worth it. $135, of course, affects everyone differently. But, based on one experience, the opinion here is that, if you can swing it, it is worth going at least once, because this is one of the most unique and special dining experiences in the area.

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Rosalita’s Fresh Mexican, Malvern (Frazer)

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There’s something about the space in the Lincoln Court Shopping Center (the one with Giant; why don’t they just name these places after the flagship store?) that’s on the right side, across from the QVC outlet. Something that says “this must be a Mexican fast-casual restaurant”. Seriously, is it written in the real estate contract? As far back as I can remember, this has been a Desert Moon or a Mesa Grill or some such semi-chain creation.

It’s unclear whether the latest tenant, Rosalita’s Fresh Mexican, has any connection to these other places, but it appears not. This is an independent, single-location place, started by a few local (non-Mexican, as far as I can tell) guys, although it does have the trappings of a chain in the making. For now, at least, it’s not.

Enough of all that, however. Let’s get to the food. According to Rosalita’s website, they have been “generating buzz for their pork”, so we tried some soft tacos ($6.95) with their 10-hour smoked carnitas (which are also marinated in spices for 24 hours) and their signature salsa, a smoked jalapeno and tomato number. Each taco also included pico de gallo and some shredded lettuce, and there was a side of tortilla chips.

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Le Bus Bakery Outlet, King of Prussia

le bus bread

File this under the “who knew?” category: In King of Prussia, just off Henderson Rd. (near Renaissance Blvd.), sits the commercial bakery and offices for Philly favorite breadmaker Le Bus. In addition, there’s an outlet store attached!

It’s almost strange to call this an “outlet,” because it’s much more than that. Almost all the bread has been cooked that day (day olds would be clearly marked), but instead is the result of overruns or bakery imperfections, which are still darn tasty. They serve breakfast (pastries, breakfast sandwiches, coffee), as well as lunch (salads and sandwiches), and carry just about all the breads that are made by the bakery.

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Christopher’s, Wayne

christophers-wayne guinness pork

Perhaps the most controversial restaurant review Main Line Dine has ever written was that of Christopher’s in Wayne, which posted shortly after the site launched in 2003. This review was ruthless, wasting little time calling out Christopher’s as “a terrible restaurant… [where] you won’t get a decent meal.”

There was nothing more to this review than what it was; no below-the-surface grudges existed. It was fairly based on several poor experiences, which were documented with clear examples. The most egregious concerned a dish of ravioli that was so undercooked it was crunchy, then re-served without sauce (and still crunchy, btw) after sending it back. (After posting the review, we actually got several notes from Chef/Owner Chris Todd inviting us to revisit, but it was too late. This was unforgivable stuff – not “worth another try” stuff.)

Readers, for the most part, agreed with our assessment. Friends who read it concurred wholeheartedly. Though some commenters on the site thought the review was overly harsh, they rarely offered anything other than a halfhearted defense.

So why was this review controversial? Well, it was from 2003, and remained on the site, unchanged, through 2011. As the years went by, and Christopher’s remained open — which, of course is not necessarily an indication of good food, just good business — the reviews began to change. More often, when someone left a comment about Christopher’s, it was something along the lines of “What is your problem? This place is pretty good”. My one buddy, who was perhaps the most ardent supporter of our original review, even conceded that he and his wife now go regularly and enjoy it for what it is – a casual, quick bite.

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Armenian Delight, Broomall

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The Newtown Square / Broomall area is an interesting one for Main Line food-lovers. It’s likely that many people who live on the true “main line” (especially blue-bloods) don’t think of NS as a place to go for food, despite its proximity to just about every town between Bryn Mawr and Paoli. That said, there are some extremely interesting food options here, many of which are somewhat under the radar on the food scene.

Perhaps this is due to the fact that restaurants and food stores in this area tend to be very traditional and less trendy that what you might find on the Line. We’ve previously discussed the fantastic selection of Italian-style pork sandwiches along the Route 3 corridor, and old-school Italian restaurants like Valentino’s remain quietly successful after all these years. Along those same lines, Weinrich Bakery (which, for some reason, we’ve yet to profile on MLD) offers a great selection of traditional German (and PA Dutch) specialties like butter cake. A little further down Route 3 lies Armenian Delight, a small storefront selling Middle Eastern groceries and prepared foods.

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