Let’s face it, foodies: summer was kind of a culinary void, a strange absence of all the gustatory glory we love in all the places where we dine for family time, camaraderie, celebratory meals, …
Let’s face it, foodies: summer was kind of a culinary void, a strange absence of all the gustatory glory we love in all the places where we dine for family time, camaraderie, celebratory meals, romantic rendezvous nights and everything in between.
We tried to fill the void with take-out on the porch and an occasional table al fresco a la streetside, and sometimes, it just didn’t feel the same.
But fall has arrived and so has indoor dining, a timely combination for enjoying some of the creative new seasonal dishes local restaurants are cooking up. Diners can finally experience cozy tables, ideal autumn meals, even fireside seats – and some return to normalcy this chill-filled season.
I noticed that restaurants are excited to seat indoors at a 25 percent capacity and are already debuting seasonal dishes this week on their menus. Last year at this time, I had a hard time finding restaurants switching to fall items so early on. Here are some of the foods restaurants are making to celebrate indoor autumn dining on the Avenue and locally.
McNally’s (8634 Germantown Ave., 215-247-9736) is not only excited to be open indoors, but now open five days a week, Wednesday through Sunday. They just added back that Wednesday to the schedule and to celebrate, they are calling it “Guinness Wednesdays” with the Guinness Ploughman sandwich, a combo of Guinness-braised beef short ribs on a Kaiser roll topped with cole slaw. The sandwich special runs $12.50 and comes with a choice of one side. You can wash that down with a Guinness and some Guinness Stout cake for dessert.
Chestnut Grill & Sidewalk Café (8229 Germantown Ave., 215-247-7570) just rolled out a fall Fuji Apple Chicken Salad, a mixed green salad topped with grilled chicken, sliced Fuji apples, dates, bleu cheese crumble and candied walnuts, finished off with a house-made apple cider vinaigrette for $14.50.
Iron Hill Brewery (8400 Germantown Ave., 215-948-5600) always uses lagers and ales each fall to come up with unique dishes and this month, to celebrate Oktoberfest, they’ve created the Jaegerschnitzel. The dish features pan-fried pork cutlets, herb schnitzel and roasted mushrooms with a Wee Heavy ale sauce for $17.30. Wee Heavy is a sweet, Scottish-style ale. Chefs suggest pairing the dish with a pint of Vienna Ale.
Cake (8501 Germantown Ave., 215-347-6887) seems to always have cupcakes on hand but the iconic greenhouse is really in the fall spirit with their Pumpkin Brown Butter Sage Mini Cakes made with orange cream cheese icing ($6.)
Tamarindos (726 Bethlehem Pk. Flourtown, 215-619-2390), known for its unique Yucatan cuisine, is celebrating fall with a two-pound whole red snapper pan seared, fried or oven baked with a parsley, white wine and garlic salsa reduction. The fish is served with rice and beans at $36.95.
Night Kitchen Bakery (7723-25 Germantown Ave., 215-248-9235) always takes advantage of seasonal dessert spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. Now, they are featuring the local favorite Pumpkin Pound Cupcakes ($3.50) as well as sticky buns in apple and cranberry ($2.50). This week marked the kick-off of pumpkin and pecan pies on the weekends only ($28 each, serves 6 to 8.)
McMenamin’s Tavern (7170 Germantown Ave., 215-247-9920) is upping the sweet factor with a Pumpkin Fritter. Back by popular demand, the fall fritter is a twist on the traditional funnel cake, infused with pumpkin and pumpkin spice and topped with powdered sugar ($6).
Chestnut Hill Brewing Company Taproom (8231 Germantown Ave., 215-247-0330) specializes in gourmet pizza, and for the fall they are featuring the Brussels Char, or what may be the best way ever to eat Brussels sprouts. The pizza ($15.50) is topped with fontina, ricotta, charred Brussels sprouts, caramelized onions and aged balsamic vinegar. Even the kids might be tricked into eating this one.
The Lucky Well (111 E. Butler Pk., Ambler, 215-646-4242) may be big on BBQ, but it came up with a great take on another fall comfort food classic with its Pimento Cheese Grilled Cheese, created by chef Dan Norman, a melty, slightly spicy appetizer served on thick marble rye with tomato chutney for a little semi-sweet kick ($10.)
Tavern on the Hill (8636 Germantown Ave., 215-247-9948) continues the fall veggie kick with its Slow Roasted Cauliflower and roasted veggie entrée for $19. The cauliflower is served with other farm fresh vegetables, including grilled squash, baked sweet potatoes and a curry yogurt on the side. This dish is vegetarian and gluten-free. Note: Tavern on the Hill is still carry-out or delivery only.
Mount Airy Tap Room (300 W. Mt. Pleasant Ave., 267-766-6668) is up and running seven days a week now, with patio and indoor dining. The Tap Room just added a popular Fall Kale Salad to the menu, a healthy dose of baby kale, spiced pumpkin seeds, dried fruit, goat cheese and an orange and sage vinaigrette ($12).
Campbell’s Place (8337 Germantown Ave. 215-242-1818) now has Braised Short Ribs on the menu, a hearty fall dish served over mashed potatoes with braised vegetables ($19.50). The neighborhood bar and resto has also completely overhauled its cocktail menu for the fall to create five festive new drinks, including the Spiced Apple Pie with autumn spice agave syrup, and the Harvest Moon with amaretto, bourbon and cinnamon ($11-12). Their Pumpkin Spice is made with Stoli vodka, Godiva white chocolate liqueur and pumpkin puree syrup ($14).
Fatty’s Bar & Grill (812 E. Willow Grove Ave., Wyndmoor, 215-233-5909) is mixing up its own fall cocktails, with a special signature drink that changes each week. Last week, it featured an Apple Cider Sidecar, ($12). This week, check in for the latest drink creation, to be determined.