More than six months ago, I bought a Groupon for Bistro at Our Town when they were located on Swedesford Rd. in Exton. They closed that location and re-opened in the Shops at Main Street, very near Appetites on Main and (conveniently for a BYOB restaurant), across the street from the state liquor store.
We tried to go there for dinner on a Sunday, but I discovered that they serve only brunch and close at 3pm on Sundays. So I reset and tried again on a Thursday night. When you walk into the large airy space, you can tell that they are trying very hard (despite their largely non-functional website from which you cannot see their hours or their menu or the fact that they are BYOB). They've decorated with lots of restored rustic furniture and wall frescoes to give it the feel of a large open air piazza. Good job except that it was lit too brightly, and they failed to cover the industrial-grade steel sheeting and ductwork at the ceiling level.
The place is well-staffed with friendly and earnest young wait staff; they make up in attitude what they lack in experience. There was a good sized crowd for a Thursday night and we really wanted to like this place. With our nice bottle of Cabernet from the state store, we were poised to enjoy.
The menu is, in a word, odd. There is a section of "gourmet" macaroni and cheese entrees, there is a big section of boneless skinless chicken breast entrees, and a handful of pasta dishes (they were out of the stuffed shells). In the "meats" area they offered only meatloaf and roast pork. No on-bone meats of any sort to be found, despite the menu's listing of "roasted half-chicken with rosemary and lemon" which sounded wonderful but is in fact just another boneless skinless chicken breast entree. It's distressing in general how most restaurants now serve only the blandest chicken dishes.
One wait staff person brought us some triangle shaped bread things, in a nice presentation on a wood plank and dusted with aged Italian cheese. It was kinda like pizza dough without the toppings, but a little soft, white, and undercooked for my tastes. Our main wait person did warn us that the pizza entree on the menu was "not special." I did take some leftover bread home and doctor it up to make some decent home pie, pictured below.
Because they seemed proud of their mac-n-cheese dishes, we selected a "gourmet trio" of them as an appetizer -- one each of regular, pesto, and sun-dried tomato. Each was tasty enough, but overcooked and undercooked at the same time. The pasta (penne, not elbows) was cooked too soft, but the thin white cheese sauce was undercooked. Geez, if I am gonna step it up from Kraft mac-and-cheese from a box, I want a crusty browned surface on my dish. None found here.
Another specialty appetizer seemed to be their "fried kale" and we tried it. Out came a big square wooden bowl filled with nicely sauteed kale spiced generously with salt and garlic. Very nice touch was the inclusion of a half lemon to squeeze over the greens. This dish succeeded on every level.
For entrees, we chose a a chicken parm and the roast pork. We actually were getting full from the bread and appetizers; portions are big. The chicken parm was fine, but no better than you'd find in one of those places that does pizza, hoagies, and a few pasta dishes. The roast pork was a disaster; it may be the worst entree I've ever been served. I'm pretty confident that it came from a piece of pork that once was tasty, but it was so grossly overcooked that it had turned hard and dry. Extra au-jus style gravy that the helpful waitperson brought could not rescue this dish. I quickly decided that, because I was not that hungry, I'd have it wrapped to take home and see what I could do to doctor it back to usefulness, perhaps in a soup or casserole. It was served with some skin-on potato wedges that were just about perfect.
Conclusion: nice space imperfectly rendered; nice kids working there not fully skilled at table service; goofy menu and broken website. Ambitious food that does not deliver. They claim to be a caterer and also a concierge service; perhaps they've taken on more than they can competently handle.
We had a nice time despite all that and I still really want to like this place. But with all the grand dining choices available a few miles south in the heart of West Chester, will I go back? Maybe for brunch.
[UPDATE: This restaurant had too many problems, including a bad location - it's now closed]