Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Review: Twenty9, Malvern PA

About a month ago, there was a host of offerings on Groupon-type websites to get a 3-course meal for two at Twenty9 ($98 value) for $44. I grabbed one and we had the chance to use it on the Sunday after Hurricane Irene swept through Chester County PA.

16 Great Valley Parkway, Malvern

Twenty9 is a bit of a high-end restaurant, offering appetizers that average around $10 and main courses between $20 and $30. It's located in an office park in Great Valley, just off Route 29 near the intersection with Route 202 in (technically) Malvern. Formerly the site of Flanigan's Boathouse, it's a lovely building, inside and out, and I can imagine it gets busy on weeknights when the office park is filled with people. On this Sunday, despite nice weather, it was pretty quiet there.

Chic interior

We debated a long time over the excellent choices for appetizers; I settled on the fried calamari with a sweet/spicy dipping sauce. It was quite excellent, smartly served in a paper cone secured in a wire basket, and the sauce was a nice departure from the usual marinara. And it was a HUGE portion well suited for sharing.

FEBE (fellow enthusiast for bargain eating) chose the rare tuna appetizer. It came on a three-sectioned plate, each of which had two lovely slabs of rare tuna with a little pile of slivered greens and a mandarin orange garnish. Winner! My calamari was very good but without a doubt I will order the tuna on my return trip.

Tuna appetizer

For my main course I chose the $29 honey-chipotle glazed ribeye. I ordered it "medium" and it came with some sauteed red & green peppers and a curious oven-crisped flour tortilla that encased mashed potatoes. It was a tasty, albeit weird, side dish. The peppers were "meh." The steak was fine, perhaps cooked just a tad beyond ideal.

Honey-chipotle glazed Ribeye

FEBE (pronounced "Phoebe") chose the tilapia with scallops. It was a tilapia filet sauteed with some crabmeat, perched on a large bed of mashed potatoes. Three huge scallops and some green beans were on the side. This dish was pretty good overall - the tilapia was tasty if a tad under seasoned; the scallops were excellent. However, mashed potatoes is an odd starch for fish; rice would have worked better. Also, I'm not really fond of meats or fish served on top of the starch. Lots of places do this and I'm not sure why.

Tilapia with scallops

The three-course deal included desserts. I passed over the very tempting cheesecake with fried banana and chocolate ice cream for the more conventional cheesecake with no additions beyond some caramel sauce. It was good, but not crazy good. Wish I had tried the more adventurous one. FEBE got some flourless chocolate torte with two small scoops of ice cream. She enjoyed it; I tasted it and found it too dry and not sweet enough.

Twenty9 has a warm and chic interior (if you are comfortable in a dining room where there is a bar with TVs in the center). Service was outstanding. For our dining experience, we found something that is common -- the appetizers are SO good that the meal following does not quite measure up.

The appetizers get a 9, the main courses get a 6, and the desserts get a 6, the service was a 10, and the ambiance gets an 8. Overall, a 7.5 experience. We had a thoroughly nice time and I got to take home some steak and some fish for another meal. I would not run back there at full price, but at $44 this was a steal. We also learned that you can BYO wine on Sundays and Mondays. I went and bought two more coupons for the $44 deal at DoubletakeDeals.com

Twenty9 on Urbanspoon

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