Margot, Narberth

February 14th, 2007

232 Woodbine Ave.
Narberth, PA
610.660.0160

Overall: Margot is a lively neighborhood restaurant with original, creative cuisine that belies the location. Although an early visit showed a few flaws, this restaurant should quickly blossom into one of the finest area BYOBs.

Food: Margot claims to be modern-American with flavors that promise bold innovation, and the food delivers. The starter we tried — “Sweet Potato Pancakes” ($8), which appeared in a tower with caramelized apples and chipolte & chive sour creams — was an excellent blend of flavors and textures. The sweetness of the apples paired beautifully with the spicy chipolte cream, and the crispy on the outside/soft on the inside potatoes melted in the mouth.

The “Duck of the Day” ($23), a confit-style grilled duck breast with tequila lime glaze served on a bed of garlic mashed potatoes and sauteed asparagus, was simple but excellently prepared and completely tasty; the slightly sweet, crispy skin matched especially well with the creamy, pungent potatoes. I was slightly disappointed in the “Pork Medalliions in Shiraz Reduction” ($17), served with creamy Asiago polenta, sauteed haricot verts and pine nuts, but only because the menu’s description had me expecting greatness. I did find excellence in the polenta, but the pork was a tad bland, and, although I am a big believer in quality over quantity when it comes to food, I was shocked at how little pork this dish included — just two thin, tiny medallions. (For comparision, the plate of duck came with three times as much meat.) Regardless, the dish was enjoyable, especially when combining pork, polenta and reduction in the same bite. I might also nitpick that the hard tips of the haricot verts (green beans) were not trimmed, creating a little bit of friction in my mouth; this seems like a detail that should have been handled in the kitchen.

While we did not sample the Whole Wheat Linguini with sun-dried tomatoes, wild mushrooms, peas and asparagus in a light cream sauce ($19), Margot scores points for offering the healthier whole wheat pasta option.

Lastly, we tried the Ghirardelli chocolate challah bread ($6), which was probably the best bread pudding I’ve ever eaten (although, honestly, that is not saying too much). The rich chocolate, slight spices, whipped cream and warm (though it could have been a tad warmer) bread made a wonderful combination. The only shame is that there wasn’t any fine espresso to go along with it (just average drip coffee).

Ambiance: Although Margot describes itself as “intimate and candle-lit”, it is better pictured as a bustling neighborhood bistro. Neatly designed with bold colors, an open kitchen and white tablecloths, it is great for a upscale but casual night out. It is rather loud when full — only a problem when seeking out a quiet evening — and there are a few bad tables, especially for two people. (Avoid at all costs the table that is bordered by the front door, the waiter station and the bathrooms.)

It should also be noted that there is a porch out front for finer weather, which should be quite pleasant, especially with the quiet neighborhood location. That same location, however, makes it quite difficult to find adequate parking (only street is available), so plan accordingly.

Service: Staff is extremely friendly and dilligent, if a bit inexperienced. Margot herself also stopped by to say hello, which certainly added a personal touch not always available at even the smallest restaurants. There were a few minor flaws — we were never brought a bread basket even though the table next to us received two, and it took a little to long to have our wine opened, but nothing took much away from the experience.

Value: Starters are $7-10 and entrees run from $15 (meatloaf) to $27 (Filet). Factoring in the creativity, presentation and quality of food, the entrees are priced appropriately, and the BYOB factor makes this an excellent value. Expect to pay around $30-40 per person, depending, which — based on the quality of experience — is a mighty fine deal in our book.

Details:
# of times we’ve eaten there: 1
Reservations: Yes
Bar: BYOB
Credit Cards
web: http://margotbyob.com (cool site!)

14 Responses to “Margot, Narberth”

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  1. Steve says:

    Went to Margo on Friday and they were closed. There was no sign indicating that they were on vacation or undergoing reservations. I’m hoping we didn’t lose one of our better restaurants.

  2. jraezer says:

    Just visited last night and I am bit confused why everyone has found this restaurant to be so good. We ate a light late meal so only had a full sampling of appetizers and side courses.

    The Food: I was highly disappointed with the food overall. The baby arugula with roasted beets and goat cheese salad was possibly the best dish but was a bit too oily and had only a few beets to add to the flavor. The cornmeal scallops were lacking a delicate touch with a heavy sauce that dominated all the other flavors. The baby bok choy was fresh but lacked any real flavor. Overall, I felt as though the food had been thrown together without a true understanding of the interplay of flavors.

    The Setting: Set in the middle of Narberth the restaurant is cute and bright from the outside. Inside, the restaurant was quite busy and a bit loud but certainly bearable (not as bad as Theresa’s in Wayne). The decor was a bit overdone (and a bit tacky IMHO) with a darker green walls and some exposed brick and a fairly open kitchen.

    The Service: The waitress was very sweet and did an excellent job.

    Overall, the food was mediocre, but perhaps my expectations had been set too high.

  3. dana says:

    For our first night out post-baby, we chose Margot. We figured, “close to home, heard good things…” We were not disappointed. Although we had to wait a few minutes for our table (10 – 15 maybe?) and the service was a bit slow, the food was EXCELLENT. We ordered the goat cheese salad (delish), winter salad (good, though I might prefer a spiced candied walnut instead of plain), the risotto cakes (yum) and the shrimp/chorizo (very good) to start. Then for dinner we had the mahi-mahi special and the bolognese. We were literally about to lick our plates when we realized we weren’t at home.

    Highly recommend and WILL race back.

  4. Dianne says:

    We have been there twice had appetizers, entrees and desserts each time and were very pleased with or meals and have started recommending it to friends. We loved the crab cakes, the duck, the parsnip puree, the meatloaf and the coconut cake and I still daydream about the warm pumpkin cake with caramel sauce I had on my first visit. Oh and the french fries with the summer burger were exceptional.

  5. Anoop says:

    Our first visit to MargotBYOB was a treat. It was a quiet tuesday evening, the service was warm and friendly, and the food was just fantastic. The duck of the day was very tender and I was equally impressed with the presentation. My wife was delighted with the pumpkin soup starter and Margot’s apple walnut and sour cream pie was delicious. I’d recommend this to my friends and we’ll definitely be back there soon. A very cozy place for an autumnal evening.

  6. Robert says:

    Returned for a second visit on Fri evening with 2 couples. Very noisy. Food average. My risotto cake appetizer hard and dry, and steak entree, although of good size, was sliced too thin. Prepared in a way I can’t describe. Grilled ? Broiled ? Won’t run back. For $ 90.00 per couple, 2 courses each, and 1 sweet and 1 coffee for the table, food should be better. Wine glasses are tiny. If you want to own a BYOB, at least have proper glasses. Reidel not required, but proper size bowl would be nice. Service was pleasant. For almost the same money, I can go to Sola or Blackfish and get very good food.

  7. Sierra says:

    Have dined at here several times with friends and reccently held a dinner party for 18pple for work. It has always been a wonderful dining experience each time. The staff was very patient with our large group of chatty friends and very helpful. The food came out quickly and cooked correctly (rare, med-rare, etc). Love the warm goat cheese salad, the duck, scallops and pretty much everything else we have tried there. I reccomend it to my friends – a dangerous practice on the snootie/foodie main line and no one has stopped talking to me!

  8. Robert says:

    Decent neighborhood BYOB. Went there for a first time with a buddy to kill a couple of good reds while our spouses were out of town. First night for new menu so no specials. Wanted duck, but none on the menu. Settled for seared tuna which was raw in the middle even though I requested medium. Couldn’t be cut with a fork. Sawing with a knife seemed to work. Pleasant, but somewhat inexperienced waitstaff. Took forever to be served main course. Maybe because of new menu kitchen was slow. OK noise level. Wines were the highlight of the evening. Worth another try, but doesn’t rank with my favorites.

  9. Amy says:

    My boyfriend and I dined at Margot on its opening, and while our experience was “okay” then, the restaurant has since become a favorite. This past weekend:

    Appetizers – the risotto cakes are a must with a clean flavor and crispy breading. If you like creole-inspired, go for the grilled shrimp (two) and chorizo – the shrimp are big and both are grilled perfectly. Entrees – the crabcake always tastes very fresh and was jammed with crabmeat and the pureed parsnip is a nice fit, although bok choy is uneventful. The black pepper-crusted filet had a nice, peppery taste and was cooked perfectly to order (medium rare). Based on earlier trips to Margot I’d recommend: Margot’s gouda-stuffed meatloaf – a huge portion of comforting goodness; and, the citrus garlic roasted chicken and couscous – standard but good quality. Only negative entree is the pork medallions in shiraz reduction. The pork was bland and of small portion and the gravy tasted a little like packet gravy. Service – always friendly (though they can get busy) and they hustle, and Margot often serves the entrees in a friendly manner.

  10. Anne says:

    I recently dined at Margot with a friend. Our appetizers, the salad with warm goat cheese and the butternut squash soup were excellent. We had brought a bottle of champagne and were very disappointed when we were informed that they did not have champagne glasses. Unfortunately our meal was very disappointing after our appetizers. We ordered a side order of the risotto of the day, a wild mushroom risotto, which was okay. For entrees we had the pork medallions with shiraz reduction and the Margot’s Veal Sauce. The shiraz reduction overwhelmed the flavor of the pork and was too sweet and too salty. The vegetables served on the side were also too salty. My friend was very disappointed with her entree, the veal sauce. It was okay, but nothing special.
    For dessert we split the bread pudding. Although we were told it is a favorite of many customers, we did not agree with this. It was very gooey in the center, basically like cake batter.
    The interior is cute and cozy, but I would not recommend this restaurant for anyone wanting an excellent dining experience from start to finish.

  11. Ann says:

    After reading about Margot in a Philadelphia Magazine daily e-mail I received, I decided to make a reservation for dinner on a Saturday night; the restaurant is small so I definitely recommend making one. Finding a parking spot on the street can be difficult. The food was great but not inexpensive. The staff was friendly. If you go, be sure to save room for desert.

  12. Susan says:

    We went to Margot’s on a whim one night to check it out. The four of us had an assortment of salads, appetizers and a couple entrees. The meatloaf entree was flavorful- mashed potatoes were perfect. The pork medallions was also a slight disappointment for us. The wine reduction was great and the polenta had you wanting more. You now get more medallions than the reviewer implies. However, they need to do something with the pork. It’s just doesn’t reach the level- a little dry and bland – still a dish I would get again. We had a crab/asparagus soup which was wonderful. Margot’s mom made a desert that was warm and delicious. The atmosphere is comfortable and friendly. Margot also introduced herself to us – a very important detail. We shared a few moments with her and learned a bit more about the place. All in all, a very enjoyable and pleasant experience that I’d like to repeat.

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