Restaurant and Bar
20 East Lancaster
Perched on the banks of the Brandywine River in a
beautifully restored paper mill, Firecreek manages to preserve the
building's structural integrity -- an impressive array of steel and stone --
while infusing it with exciting modern touches. The décor is dynamic yet demure,
impressive in scope yet still managing to maintain an inviting degree of warmth.
There is also a bustling open kitchen and ample space for al fresco
dining in warmer weather.
But there is infinitely more to this restaurant than meets
the eye. Gastronomically as well as visually, it offers something for everyone.
Like its elder sibling, 333 Belrose in Radnor, which was previously reviewed, Firecreek
majors in American fare with a decidedly southwestern flair. And the food is
very good, indeed.
Your first port of call, however, will undoubtedly be the
attractive bar, the perfect spot for a preprandial libation. My advice... be sure
to try one of the establishment's exceptional "elemental" martinis. "Air," for
example, combines Hypnotic liquor, Three Olives Orange Vodka, and pineapple
juice ($8.00);"Wind" blends Grey Goose Pear Vodka and pear-infused syrup
($10.00); and "Ice" companions Three Olives Citrus Vodka, limoncello, and
lemonade in a fascinating frozen delight ($8.00). Well, you get the idea.
Firecreek also offers a first-rate wine list, with
the 2007 Carneros Creek "Reserve" Pinot Noir ($45.00) and Mt. Eden "Wolff
Vineyards" Chardonnay ($44.00) particularly recommendable. By the glass, try Washington
State's Pacific Rim Riesling ($8.00) or Hayman & Hill's "Reserve" Cabernet
But getting back to the cuisine... As noted above, when it
comes to the restaurant's culinary offerings, there is something for everyone.
Confirmed carnivores and members of the meat n' potatoes club can feast on
filet mignon with sauce béarnaise ($32.00), New York strip steak with cabernet demi
glace ($34.00), Angus Delmonico ($32.00), grilled steak frites ($21.00),
and 18-ounce rosemary-garlic prime rib of beef ($34.00) -- all right on the
Conversely, those more adventurous of palate may contemplate
a number of well-prepared seafood items. The salmon, for example, is dusted
with red chilies, kissed by poblano cream, set on a seabed of spicy black
beans, and crowned with a tiara of pico de gallo ($24.00). There's just
enough heat to tantalize the palate, and just enough cream to keep the spices
from running amuck. A perfectly integrated presentation.
The swordfish is blackened -- just enough -- and arrives at
table on a sumptuous pillow of smashed yams surrounded by a ribbon of
smooth-as-silk black bean purée ($26.00). Another winner. I also like the
grilled jumbo shrimp accompanied by lemon-herb orzo and roasted tomato ($26.00).
The crustaceans are pristinely crunchy and at the peak of good health, though
marred by a touch too much salt.
In the starter department, I'd recommend the white ale
steamed mussels garnished with fresh orange and fennel ($9.00), the crispy
calamari with cilantro-lime aioli ($9.00), or the arugula salad adorned with
goat cheese, red beets, and delicately assertive black peppercorn-raspberry vinaigrette
($8.00). And, when it is available as a special, the retro iceberg"wedge" replete
with all the usual suspects -- diced tomatoes, red onion, crumbled bacon, and a
fabulous blue cheese dressing ($11.00) -- is definitely not to be missed... ditto
the zesty, seasonally-driven gazpacho ($7.00).
Given the quality of the food, I don't consider Firecreek's
menu to be horrendously expensive by any means. But if you want to go a bit
easier on the pocketbook, or are just in the mood for a more casual meal, you
can't go wrong choosing an item from "...Between the Buns." The Carolina pulled
pork sandwich with house-made barbecue sauce and coleslaw ($15.00) is
absolutely benchmark; and the cheeseburger is spruced up with Havarti &
caramelized onions ($12.00). There is also a salmon burger ($14.00) and grilled
chicken breast dressed in applewood smoked bacon, avocado, jack cheese, and
And since you're saving a buck or two, you might want to add on
a side ($5.00). The creamed spinach is just creamy enough, the garlic-parsley
fries are positively addictive, and the lumpy buttermilk mashed potatoes
conjure up a host of childhood taste memories.
Desserts are simple but seductive. Go for either the
homemade cookie ice cream sliders or the comforting and comfortable apple cider
donut bread pudding with cinnamon anglaise.
Whether dressing up or dressing down -- for whatever occasion
-- Firecreek Restaurant and Bar should be right at the top of your dining
The Artful Diner
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The Artful Diner Diner is an independent, freelance food writer. His latest review can be seen on his weblog at http://www.artfuldinerblog.com/. An archive of past reviews for nj.com as well as reviews for restaurants around the country and the world can be found on this Web site at http://www.artfuldiner.com/reviews .