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Kimberton Inn
2105 Kimberton Road
Kimberton, Pennsylvania
(610) 933-8148
www.kimbertoninn.com

I must confess I have always been somewhat leery of restaurants that appear to derive a lion's share of their income from weddings, banquets, and other large gatherings and/or sundry corporate feeding frenzies. In my experience, the food served up at such establishments is usually eminently forgettable, the environs less than sparkling, and the service strictly amateur night.

How very fortunate, however, that the Kimberton Inn is such a marvelous exception to this general rule of thumb. Not only does this cozy Colonial enclave acquit itself admirably with regard to larger parties, it also provides the perfect romantic venue for couples wishing to celebrate that special occasion. Indeed, this stately structure, originally constructed in 1796, charms patrons with its impeccably maintained rustic ambiance, cozy crackling fireplaces, and comfortably intimate bar/lounge.

Be that as it may, however, it is the lovingly prepared and beautifully presented cuisine that remains the center of attention. Offerings are artistically innovative without being anachronistic; they beguile the palate without bewildering the eye, clearly demonstrating the kitchen's commitment to componential and proportional restraint.

Superb starters include coconut shrimp served up with orange-mustard and zippy soy, honey-lemon dipping sauces ($7.95). The crustaceans are at the peak of crunchy good health, and the dipping sauces provide the perfect complement/contrast to the light coating of exotic coconut.

I also highly recommend the roasted tomato risotto accompanied by crisp and delightfully flaky phyllo purses filled with ultra-creamy local chèvre cheese ($7.95) and smoked Maine salmon roulade adorned with arugula, snow pea shoots, brioche croutons, and an incomparable fresh dill emulsion ($8.95).

Greenery, though, should not be dismissed out of hand -- as it often is in fine restaurants -- as the salads here make excellent preludes to any meal. And the star of the show would appear to be "Probably The Best Salad You Will Ever Have" ($5.50 with entrée), an appetizing amalgam of red leaf lettuce and baby spinach tossed with a sweet sesame-walnut dressing adorned with tart apple slices, toasted sunflower seeds, and aged Gouda cheese. My nod, however, would undoubtedly go to the heart of Bibb lettuce salad ($4.50 with entrée), tender, buttery leaves adorned with cucumber, tomato, and finished with a marvelous homemade Roquefort dressing.

When it comes time to select your entrée, bear in mind that the kitchen is particularly adept at piscatorial pleasures. The pan-seared sea trout ($25.95), for example, arrives on a sensuous seabed of roasted pepper, spinach, and Parmesan risotto and is surrounded by an exquisite pool of herb-tomato coulis; the North Atlantic salmon filet ($26.95) is set atop a tender pillow of fingerling potatoes and consummated with fresh dill and lemon butter; and the perfectly broiled sole is stuffed with diced seasonal vegetables and finished with a light lobster cream sauce that gently caresses rather than smothers the object of its affection.

For those with heartier appetites, you can't go wrong with the tender and succulent five spice pork tenderloin (24.95), roasted rack of New Zealand lamb with an herb-mustard crust and heady port wine reduction (full rack $34.95; half rack $24.95), or 7-ounce center-cut filet mignon luxuriating in a flavorful red wine glaze.

Desserts, of course, maintain the same highs standards as their predecessors The bittersweet chocolate mousse ($6.00) is silky and smooth and packed with rich nuances of flavor; the warm caramel apple tart with vanilla ice cream ($5.75) is a homey treat; and the lemon tart ($5.50) is locked in the loving embrace of a beautifully textured almond crust and embellished with whipped cream and raspberry sauce.

The restaurant also boasts an extensive wine list. By the glass, I would recommend the 2005 Domaine Salvard "Cheverny" Sauvignon Blanc from France ($7.50) or the 2005 Valpolicella from Italy's Allegrini. Bottle-wise, the 2004 Puligny-Montrachet from Verget is exquisite and Chateau Montelena's 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon ($75.00) is heady and decadent. You will also find a very nice selection of single malt scotches, bourbons, and cognacs for your postprandial drinking pleasure.

Whether dining for business or pleasure, the Kimberton Inn is the perfect dining venue for any occasion.

March 2007
The Artful Diner

The Artful Diner is an independent, freelance food writer.  His latest review and an archive of past reviews for restaurants around the country and the world can be found on this site on the REVIEWS page.

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