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June 9, 2005
It was around 2:30pm by the time we finished touring Winterthur, so I was glad the restaurant was close at hand. The tavern sits right on the main road through Centreville, surrounded by attractive stone buildings and the sort of low-key commerce that prevails in the Brandywine Valley. Nothing is too big, too loud, or, heaven forbid, too obviously expensive. This is the domain of understated elegance. Here, the houses are set well back off the road behind a discrete screen of natural-looking (though no doubt painstakingly maintained) trees and shrubs.
In keeping with this, Buckley’s Tavern stopped short of seeming trendy or trying too hard. We seated ourselves, having been given a choice of sitting inside in a somewhat dark and pub-like (though smoke-free) bar area, a nicely decorated dining room, upstairs on a rooftop terrace, or out front on a shady front porch. We chose the porch, where the antics of warring sparrows in the nearby shrubbery entertained us.
A lanky jean-clad waitress set menus before us and took our orders for iced tea, then left us to peruse the offerings. Whoever wrote the menu has my wholehearted approval – it didn’t attempt to seduce or cajole with cutsie names or over-the-top combinations, but, instead, was merely intriguing. I was torn between a salad (the Vietnamese shrimp salad, for example) and sandwiches (the jerked chicken club, perhaps… no, wait a sec, the mustard-crusted chicken sandwich).
Although I knew perfectly well that a sandwich would suffice, I gilded the lily and ordered a roasted eggplant and lemon hummus platter for us to share. Much to my delight, it came with a great pile of pitted Greek olives. Better yet, Mom doesn’t care for olives. All mine – bliss! The pita bread accompanying the hummus was warm and soft, just the way I like it.
Mom had pine nut-crusted portobello served on focaccia and allowed me a taste – heaven, if you’re a fungophile. (I am.) Both sandwiches came with large sides of fries, which neither of us needed, but they were irresistible. My one quibble was that my "mustard-crusted" sandwich didn’t taste a bit mustardy, but that is not to say it was bland. I simply couldn’t discern the flavor I’d anticipated.
I had a long drive before me, so I didn’t sample any of the many beers or wines on offer. Perhaps another time – and I do hope there will be another time.
From journal The Brandywine Valley: Beauty & Grace
September 30, 2002
Since I am a true fungi-fancier, I felt that a Wild Mushroom Soup from the mushroom capital of the world would be in order. It certainly was! I can't identify the mushrooms in the soup but the broth was full of their flavor, yet it was delicate and a great starter. My friend selected the French Tomato Onion, a slightly different twist on an old standby that was original and full of tasty garlic croutons and plenty of melted gruyere cheese.
I also have an affinity for Asian food and so ordered the Vietnamese Shrimp Salad in this highly unlikely spot for a dish like this. It was very, very good with basil and mint stuffed shrimp rolls served traditionally on fresh greens with cucumber, tomato, peanuts, rice noodles and a top knotch spicy Thai dressing. My more adventurous friend chose the Spinach and Roasted Beet Salad that was loaded with fresh goat cheese, spiced pecans, red onion and a wonderful apple cider-shallot vinaigrette.
While the desserts sounded scrumptious, we both bowed out, knowing that if we planned to tour the rest of the afternoon we could not afford to feel over-indulged!
From journal The Brandywine Valley,Delaware
Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania
November 23, 2001
From journal Revolutionary Times