Azie On Main

21 07 2009

Now for the proper Azie on Main post. As I said a few days ago, Matt and I ate there for the friends and family soft opening. Matt knows a lot about the Win Signature Restaurants but I had never been to one and I had very high expectations.

We arrived at the second-floor location in Villanova and immediately noticed the outdoor seating. Having an outdoor option always improves my opinion of a restaurant, even before I’ve walked in and tasted the food. If it hadn’t been threatening rain, we would have chosen to sit outside.

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The staff was accommodating and friendly from the moment we walked in the door. Part of it was probably because that was the point (to practice pleasing the patrons) but I do believe that everyone we interacted with, especially our server, was sincere and excited about working there. I asked a few questions about the menu and our server’s answers were spot on.

The decor was warm and inviting. It wasn’t over-the-top but a great deal of thought had obviously gone into the design, which focused on dark woods and deep reds. The lighting was varied–a bit bright as you walked in but dimmed in the main dining room, which was also lined with windows that allowed in a nice amount of natural light.

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We started with a cocktail, the Jinger Caiphirina, made with fresh ginger, lime, cachaca, ginger liqueur, corn syrup, club soda, and ginger coin. It had a smooth flavor and the ingredients were mixed with a nice balance.

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We chose the Sauteed Fois Gras (with Fuji apple confit and honey balsamic flavor) and Spicy Tuna Crunch sushi rolls for our appetizers. Both were delicious. The bonito flakes on the sushi rolls were a nice textural finish and the tuna was spot on: like room temperature butter. The fois gras was seared but creamy with the apples complimenting every bite.

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We both ordered fish for our main course. The pan roasted halibut with lobster and cheese risotto was yelling, “Choose me!” and of course I couldn’t resist. This dish was incredibly rich and creamy with flaky halibut placed on top. The miso beurre blanc was intense but was mixed with the creamy risotto like that’s where it had belonged all the time. I was a bit confused about the fried tempura batter as garnish–it didn’t taste bad, it just wasn’t necessary. Overall this was a huge winner of a dish.

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Matt selected the miso-broiled black cod with sweet potato mash and fava beans. I commented that the plate almost looked like a play on a traditional American meal: meat, starch, green vegetable. The colors were so vibrant and a strong contrast from the tower of food that I ate. This cod was absolutely perfect: golden brown miso crust action but flaky and juicy throughout. Matt liked the cod much better than the halibut. I thought that they were both scrumptious.

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I almost considered the dessert as an afterthought, unfortunately, because I was so full of great food at this point. I ordered the fruit fondue–the perfect light ending that I needed. All of the fruit (strawberries, blueberries, pineapple, kiwi, mango, grapes, melon) was fresh and the marshmallows a nice playful touch.

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I can’t find the name of Matt’s dessert anywhere right now, and I did not write it down, so here are two photos and I will try to explain:

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The outside was a chestnut cream that we call “marron” because that’s what it is called in Japan. It reminded Matt of a Japanese tea sweet because of the rich, creamy, nutty and smoky flavor.  The inside was like a vanilla meringue and a green tea creme anglais was drizzled all around. Matt was in love. I think he would like it if I gave birth to one of these some day. I tasted it and thought it was a fascinating concept and just an amazing-looking dessert, but it wasn’t entirely to my taste. Matt was really, really, in love with this dessert.

We had an amazing experience here and plan on returning. I even showed the menu to my mother, who is very picky about where she will spend her restaurant money, and she is excited to try it as well. The menu is so extensive that there is a price-point for all budgets. Soups, noodles, and rice go from $2-$12 and cold and hot appetizers range from $8-$25. The main courses are varied and range from $14-$38. Our total meal (with two more cocktails and an espresso at the end of the meal) would have been $147. Not bad. Not bad at all.

Thanks to the Win team and Azie on Main for having us! We’ll be back!

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4 responses

21 07 2009
Adina Katz

This all looks delicious! I’m definitely putting this one on my list of places to try.

22 07 2009
exploreandeat

We’ll go with you!

28 07 2009
JD

Do you recommend any particular seating inside? Thanks for a very thorough review!

28 07 2009
exploreandeat

I would ask for a table in a back/main room by the windows. Very cozy but bright. Thanks for the comment!

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