You know what I'm craving? A little perspective. That's it. I'd like some fresh, clear, well seasoned perspective. Can you suggest a good wine to go with that? --Ratatouille (Pixar, 2007)

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Out of Wynnewood and into winning cuisine: Finding good eats semi-closeby! (The Kettle and Teresa's Next Door)

Lately, I've gotten tired of settling for the same few restaurants within a few miles of my house. Everything feels boring and old; I can't find a menu I haven't already picked through at some point in my 18 year food marathon. Sadly, I'm also super lazy-- going all the way into the city is a pain. This post is a double feature (one brunch, one dinner) of restaurants I found in areas just a few minutes outside my bubble. 

BRUNCH: The Kettle, (1 Brookline Boulevard, Havertown, PA)

The Kettle has quickly risen through the ranks of my favorite places to eat on weekend mornings for a few reasons. Firstly, the menu really does accommodate those who want a true brunch. If you're caught in between wanting breakfast and lunch, you can scan the menu and find a fair array of omelettes and griddle offerings sitting next to soups and sandwiches. The menu isn't huge, but, as far as I know, everything printed is done well--and that's what counts. As far as breakfast, the corned beef hash and eggs never fails, as seen below with the eggs presented over easy (you pick your preparation) on top. 

If you're leaning more towards the lunch side of things, the burgers and sandwiches can't be beat. Seen below, The Kettle Burger is a simple angus burger that can then be customized with a selection of cheese and toppings. Mine below had cheddar and fried onions--definitely a winning combination. Sandwiches also rotate on the menu, and there are usually a few specials. Farther below is the regular reuben sandwich, which always shows admirably. 

If I have a complaint with The Kettle it would be that the service is often spotty. It's not really their fault, sometimes, the place is just packed and the staff kind of scrambles around doing their best to keep things moving. But, last breakfast, I sat on outdoor seating to skip the lengthy line of those waiting for the indoors tables...and I walked into a wall of said poor service. Our coffees were never refilled, it took a while to get our order taken, and getting water mid-meal was a pain. We were basically forgotten about. Nevertheless, if you can avoid sitting outside and still deal with the mediocre service, The Kettle can really put out some great meals. 

DINNER: Teresa's Next Door, 124 N. Wayne Ave, Wayne, PA

Teresa's is a large restaurant that's been effectively split into two smaller ones. Upon entering the front door, you're asked to choose between the higher end "Teresa's Cafe" (it's not really a cafe, it's a serious restaurant) and "Teresa's Next Door," which is cutely dubbed a bar, fits the billing of the trendy brewpub that is blowing up all over America. Don't think too hard--just walk into Next'll be happier in the slightly more casual setting. 

Teresa's is the most elegant "bar" you'll see these days. With a humongous, elegant, and well stocked actual bar accompanied by booths and stand-alone tables, Next Door offers classic pub food (burgers, sandwiches, steaks, etc.) but with some outliers in between. Things like summer scallops and frenched pork chops elevate what would be a regular pub to the next level. Next Door even prides itself on having quite a few cheese offerings, allowing customers to create a cheese plate all their own. 

Favorites can be found all across the menu, from the special game burger that rotates occasionally (when I dined it was the goat burger seen below) to the to die for thai-ginger wings farther below. All meats were cooked to perfection, and the pomme frites served alongside them are some of the best fries anywhere. 

Finally, if you aren't full from all your cheese, pubby starters, and killer sandwiches or fancy plates, you can sample from the most surprisingly delicious section of the menu: the desserts! Below, a mini apple pie with ice cream wowed us all. How can Teresa's cover so many bases? By showing the ability to show restraint in appearance yet variety in flavor, Teresa's shoved it in my face that it is way more than a pub or bar--it's a whole new type of restaurant...and one that I'll need to go back to!