Charlotte’s Restaurant Review

I took my parents to  Charlotte’s Restaurant in Newtown Square for their 56th Wedding Anniversary. The experience was  66-percent enjoyable. Charlotte's Restaurant Review

Charlotte’s has been open since 1981 at  3207 West Chester Pike, Newtown Square, Pa. 19073.

It may be Dad’s favorite restaurant. He loves –well, loved — their crab cakes with the champagne sauce.

Anyway we went there Saturday just in time to catch the early bird specials and as it was their anniversary I was the only one to take advantage of them.

I got the 12-ounce rib eye. It was perfectly cooked, smothered in onions and mushrooms, and was truly delicious. Mom got the veal piccata, also delicious.

Dad, as expected, got the crab cakes and gave it a thumbs down. I tasted them and have to agree. They were dry and not what we remembered.

Also getting a thumbs down were the drinks. Dad did not like his Manhattan and my house Merlot tasted boxy wineish. Cheap boxy wineish.

Mom did not complain about her Sprite.

At this point, I’d like to note the sides. The restaurant is generous with sides — the regular meals come with a salad and vegetable — and they were very good. The early birders also get soup du jour,  escarole in my case which was superb,  and a desert for which I picked an ice cream dish. The vanilla was smothered with strawberries and a liqueur sauce. I won’t call it gourmet but I certainly won’t complain about it.

The service was great and friendly.  The price was $85.41 not counting the tip, which I count as a very good bargain.

The bottom line in any restaurant experience is will one return. I think it is safe to say yes in our case. Dad might even give the crab cakes a second chance. I think I will stick to Sprite though.

Charlotte’s Restaurant Review





Old Original Bookbinder’s Becomes The Olde Bar

Old Original Bookbinder’s at 125 Walnut St., Philadelphia, reopened 4 p.m., yesterday, Jan. 9, as The Olde Bar under the auspices of Jose Garces.

On the menu will be snapper soup and New England clam chowder, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Bookbinder’s was opened at that location in 1898 by Samuel Bookbinder. It left the family in the 1930s when it was bequeathed to Jewish Federated Charities, according to Wikipedia.

John Taxin acquired it in 1945 and added “Old Original” to the name to distinguish it from Bookbinders Seafood House that opened in 1935 at 15th and Locust.

Taxin promoted his restaurant by offering free lunches to recruits sworn in at the nearby Customs House during World War II and the Korean War.

It became a success. A Bookbinders was opened in Richmond, Va. and a line of condensed soups remains marketed in its name.

Frank Sinatra was a regular patron.

The restaurant remained in business until it went bankrupt in 2009 except for three years starting in 2002 when it underwent extensive renovations.

Erich Weiss, a descendent of Taxin, is in charge of the beverage program.

The restaurant can be reached at 215-253-3777

Oh, Bookbinders Seafood House? It’s now an Applebees.

Old Original Bookbinders Becomes The Olde Bar

Old Original Bookbinders Becomes The Olde Bar

Pho Street, Delco Dining

Just had a real nice dining experience at Pho Street Vietnamese Restaurant, 204 Baltimore Pike, Springfield, Pa.

The price was very reasonable, and the food was tasty and quite different from the other area Asian restaurants.

Will Springfield become hip?

Fear not for right across the street is McGlone’s Stanley Kup Inn.

Pho Street, Delco Dining

Chinese Restaurant Success Secret

Chinese Restaurant Success Secret

A push is on to raise the federal minimum wage to $9.80 per hour from $7.25. One suspects that those who conceived of the idea know it will weaken  small businesses and destroy opportunity for the marginal worker. One suspects that those who have joined the bandwagon are clueless of the consequences.

The ones who truly care are the ones looking to get rid of it.

The biggest beneficiaries of the law are connected white suburban college kids on summer jobs. The ones most harmed are those upon whom business owners can’t afford to take a chance.

Here’s an exercise: The next time you go into a locally owned Chinese restaurant count the members of the waitstaff who are white. Now count the ones who are black. Based on the answer do you judge these restaurant owners racist bigots? Not if you have an ounce of sense. That waitstaff is almost certainly family, literally, working for the future. The kids are helping their parents with an eye on getting a college degree. The parents are helping the kids with an eye on them getting a college degree.

This is true not just for the Chinese but for most immigrant businesses. The help is not getting paid in the governmental sense.

Now suppose you come from a more unpleasant family environ, say, one in which all your siblings have different fathers. You certainly will face a disadvantage in getting a start in the business world. If you are of an entrepreneurial bent you will more likely find yourself selling drugs that food.

Ending the minimum wage would give the young with bad breaks a much better chance.  Economist Walter Williams explains it well here.

Most small business owners really are not exploitative and care  enough about the community to make small sacrifices for it. The only reason many don’t make jobs for the marginal and inexperienced is because they simply can’t afford it.

Some might make the reasonable-sounding argument that the minimum wage prevents sweat shops. Reasonable sounding, at least, until you start considering from whence comes the iPhone and underwear of the young hipster making that claim.

Anyway, here’s a compromise:  Raise the wage to $9.80 as the fools want, but let each business exempt five employees from it. Only a totalitarian can object to such an exemption.

Hat tip Elizabeth Stelle and John R. Bouder

Chinese Restaurant Success Secret


Italian Village, Our Return

We went to Italian Village, yesterday, for the first time since they were featured on Restaurant Impossible.

We didn’t know the restaurant at 902 MacDade Blvd, Milmont Park, Pa. before the Robert Irvine makeover, but we liked it before they got their national fame and we still do.
All praised the roasted peppers placed before us gratis and all regretted them not being filled. The shrimp lejon appetizer was tasty but could have used a couple of more shrimp. The meal came with a soup or salad and both were found to be satisfactory.
The main courses — shrimp scampi, baked pork canneloni and lasagna — were more than filling. The scampi was adequate, the canneloni was good and the lasagna was superb.
Maybe the menu could be larger.
That was a joke.
The menu could be found at their website. We didn’t feel it was overpriced.
Our waitress was nice. The atmosphere was comfortable and friendly, and the dining room was pleasant and spotless.
One down note — William Sr. who raved about his manhattan cocktail last time, was disappointed in it this time.
All the same, Italian Village remains a fine and fun neighborhood place.
Italian Village, Our Return
Italian Village, Our Return