Birthdays only roll around once a year (a good thing at my age), so we always try to make it memorable for each other. Last year, even though it wasn’t a milestone, Russ bought tickets to the Longwood Gardens Fountain & Fireworks show “Monet in the Garden.” Originally, I was going to treat him to one of their fountain and fireworks shows for his birthday back in mid-May, but they were sold out. Well, either way, both of us got to enjoy(?) it for someone’s birthday.
Our original plan was to celebrate beforehand with a special dinner at Longwood’s fine dining restaurant, 1906. Apparently however, they close that restaurant early (like mid-afternoon early) on the days when they have the fireworks concerts. So after a little research, we found Brandywine Prime at the location of the historic Chadds Ford Inn less than 5 miles from the gardens. Ironically, that is the same restaurant I dined at with my parents after a trip to Longwood around 25 years ago!
The best laid plans right? You may recall from a previous post that it rained so hard that day, and never got out of the 60’s (in mid-July!!) so we grudgingly changed our plans to eat a quick pizza on our way to Longwood Gardens. It poured pretty much the entire show 😦
But I guess we’re gluttons for punishment because almost one year later we got tickets for another Fountains & Fireworks show and revived our plans to dine at Brandywine Prime…
A short clip of this year’s spectacular fireworks display.
From the time Brandywine Prime opened in February of 2007, it has been a unique dining destination, a restaurant that brings distinctive American fare to the charming and historic Chadds Ford community. It has been lovingly modernized to offer a comfortable dining experience. One of the reasons for Brandywine Prime’s success has been the willingness by the owners to adapt and change based on what customers want and expect.
It’s rustic charm and casual atmosphere can be attributed to the fact that it is situated in the beautifully restored 300-year-old Chadds Ford Inn. The superb traditional American fare of steaks, chops, and seafood, brings an elegant and upscale touch to the restaurant. Everything is made from scratch including their own bread and desserts. They place an emphasis on prime steaks and chops and seasonally changing seafood selections that arrive daily.
After an hour-and-a-half touring Longwood Gardens (the weather was sunny and hot this year), we arrived a few minutes early for our dinner reservation, and were shown immediately to an upstairs corner window table. Due to the somewhat early time, only one other four-top was already seated, but the place was filling up quickly when we left.
But let’s get down to the reason we came. The Food. The meal was fantastic!! Our very friendly and seasoned waiter started us off with glasses of the day’s featured wine, a Grenache Red. Shortly thereafter, we were served a basket of still warm, crusty bread accompanied by soft triangles of butter scattered with a red sea salt (apparently a restaurant staple).
I zeroed in on the Jumbo Lump Crab Cocktail from the Raw Bar section of the menu. Holy Moses, the bowl was brimming with the largest lump crab I’ve ever seen—and I’ve eaten a lot of it in my lifetime! The succulent morsels were atop a bed of wakame seaweed (not visible in photo), and garnished with red sea salt and an artisan olive oil, with a side of wonderful cocktail sauce.
A coworker with Russ informed him that the Kennett Square Mushroom Tart was phenomenal so that’s where he started. Filled with a triple cream brie, local sautéed mushrooms are topped with truffle oil and microgreens; each bite literally melted in your mouth (I know, because he gave me a taste).
For entrées, Russ opted for the 14-ounce Milk Fed Veal Chop from the Steakhouse Grill section of the menu. It was served simply with butter-braised French green beans with herbed butter and their homemade BP steak sauce. While he had declared my appetizer as the winner of the two choices, he claimed the chop was the BEST veal he can ever remember eating, and told the waiter too. He also couldn’t pass up a side of Truffle Parmesan Fries that came with a nice crisp, a touch of salt, lots of grated parm and a side of ketchup.
I stuck with the seafood theme and chose the Grilled Faroe Island Salmon, which was wild caught and artfully plated with tender asparagus, salt-roasted beets, pesto vinaigrette and a Meyer lemon aioli. Yes, it was quite good, but I had to agree, Russ won the entrée round with his veal chop.
With zero room left to even consider coffee or dessert, we paid the bill, which was by-the-way a bit pricey, but well worth it. So if you ever find yourself in the Chadds Ford Chester County, PA area, treat yourself to some fine dining at Brandywine Prime—and take in a stroll through Longwood Gardens…