Citron, Bryn Mawr

November 10th, 2004

818 Lancaster Ave.
Bryn Mawr PA
610.520.9100

Citron has closed and been replaced by Carmine’s Creole Kitchen.

Rating: 3 Silver Spoons out of 5

Overview: Latin-influenced continental bistro in the heart of Bryn Mawr. Citron recently brought in chef David Grear — formerly of Philly’s La Terrasse — who lowered prices and raised the consistency of the cuisine.

Food: Grear’s specials are interesting and complex — for example a filet of grouper with blackberry sauce or a “tournedo of beef” — two petit filets served over mushrooms and artichokes. The regular menu choices are simpler but tasty — a pork chop comes sliced over risotto and “California” steak frites is well-prepared. Although Citron is billed as a “tapas” joint, the selection of smaller plates was surprisingly limited.

Service: Although new chef Grear has brought with him improved cuisine since our initial visit to Citron years ago, the service on a recent visit was far worse. We were seated in what has to be the most uncomfortable booth in the history of mankind — clearly the space was so poorly designed that there was not room for a full size dining booth at the end of the row. As a result, we were stuck with tiny benches and enormous poles taking up most of the room underneath the puny table. (This undesirable booth is closest to the door opposite the bar, if you go.) When we asked to be moved to an empty table, we were told that the empty one right near us was about to be taken and they would let us know if another became free. To our discontent, the table we originally asked about was never occupied the rest of the evening. To make service matters worse, two people at our table finished drinks during dinner and found extreme difficulty in procuring another glass. After finally getting the attention of our waitress, it took an even longer time for her to arrive back with the fresh drinks. These types of service miscues really can be the difference when it comes to encouraging return visits to a restaurant — while the food certainly warranted another visit to Citron, the service did not.

Value: Since moving all the entrees below $20, Citron has certainly improved its value proposition. Specials, however, were all over $20 with a filet special finding its way up to $27. In addition, the wine list would better compete with BYOBs in the area if there were a few more bottles in the $20s and low $30s. Lastly, when paying $40-$50 per person, one expects the service to be a bit better.

Details:
# of times we’ve eaten there: 2
Reservations: Yes
Cards: Yes
Bar: Full

5 Responses to “Citron, Bryn Mawr”

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  1. Alicia says:

    Carmine’s is by far my favorite destination for a special night out. Each and every time I go, not only is the tasting menu different, but outdone by the previous visit. The new location is still settling in, and although I prefer the more serine atmosphere of the last venue, the old citron with the new music looks to be promising. Creative drinks, festive (and loud) band, and good service makes this even sweeter now that it’s closer to home. I will have to find another place for quiet dining, but who cares when the food is THIS good.

  2. […] In late December, Carmine’s Creole Cafe chef/owner John Mims plans to move from Narberth to a the space currently occupied by Citron (818 W. Lancaster Ave., Bryn Mawr), where it will feature live music and a liquor license. Mims then plans to turn the Narberth space into Margot, a BYOB serving New American fare with Cuban touches. […]

  3. Stew Keener says:

    I think they have packed it in. I live nearby and have tried it twice. Both times with bad service but the last time with comical food efforts. They burned my crab cakes and flipped them over to hide the burnt parts. The other parts of the meal went about the same. I think they meant well but it seems that quality control doesn’t exist and they don’t really care.

  4. Brian says:

    May 2006

    I went there with a large group of people (About 13) on a Saturday evening at 7 pm. We did of course have reservations, so the restaurant SHOULD have been prepared to serve a large group.
    Upon arrival, the decor and atmosphere of the restaurant is great, and we were immediately seated at our table, which was prepared and waiting for us. However, this is where the good service stopped.
    It took forever to get our first round of drinks, the waitress submitted the wrong salad orders, and the food runners who brought out the salads didn’t know which was the mixed green salad, which was the greek salad, etc.
    Our main course arrived in stages, which was quite embarassing. About 8 of us were served our entree, and waited politely for the others to be served. About 2-3 minutes later 3 more were served, but the others were still waiting. Finally, about TEN MINUTES after the first dish was served, our final dish was placed on the table (our host and mentor who was paying for our group was last served. Too bad tip was already included in the bill)
    We never saw the server again to get more beverages, and we had to flag her down from across the room for more wine.

    The food was tasty, and I would love to try some of the other dishes on the menu (I had the lobster ravioli which was great) but you can be certain I will never return to this restaurant because of the service. The portions were a bit small (6 ravioli?? Come on, I’m a grown-up!)and the prices a bit high.

    If you’re looking for a good place to eat in Bryn Mawr, KEEP LOOKING. Although the food is good, you will have a miserable evening at Citron!!

  5. Martin says:

    Nov. 2005. OK, so the food was all right … but it wasn’t memorable and it was way overpriced … the service was so slow I thought the waitress had quit her job in the midst of the evening … the tables for 4 are barely big enough for 2 (puny is an understatement) … and the wine list is made up of truly mediocre wines that are outrageously overpriced. For the first time ever, I recommended that my family buy wine by the glass … and what a mistake that was too – at $9.00 a glass for less than half a glass of house wine.

    To top it off, after waiting nearly 20 minutes after an obviously finished meal with no attention whatsoever from the waitress, I had to go up to the bar to get my bill. And when my VISA statement arrived at the end of the month, Citron had overcharged me. Luckily I had my copy of the receipt and the VISA folks credited my account for the overcharge.

    I won’t be going back to Citron and you can bet I don’t recommend it to my friends.

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