Last night my friends Chef Jared and Natalie Lamos and I tried out the Station Taproom (207 W. Lancaster Ave, Downingtown, PA 19335) because we’ve all heard such great things. My friend and realtor Joey Frey even says they have the best brunch around so I’ll be back soon to check that out. This place has been on my list for years and honestly I don’t know why it has taken so long to get here. Feel free to point and laugh…
The food was great, the beer was better, and the company was excellent! We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and some deep conversation over incredible food.
Jared is the sous chef at Brandywine Branch Distillers in Elverson and was previously a cook at the incredible Wyebrook Farms (I am probably going to do a blog post for them soon). There he worked under the talented Chef Eric Yost, owner of the new Suburban Restaurant & Beer Garden in Exton (next on my list!)…so suffice it to say he knows good food!
He and Natalie split the whipped ricotta (above) which was unreal. I HATE ricotta…well I don’t hate it but I actively avoid it. And after trying this I was like “are you going to lick the plate or should I…” it was that good. Picture cannoli filling with honey and almonds on top and crispy bread to scoop it up with. I’m taking my mom back ASAP for this, she’s going to love it. (NOTE: it is listed on the menu as an appetizer but is way more of a desert, order it after your meal and you’ll be in heaven)
My good friend and beer/wing connoisseur (thank you spell check) Mickey Herley commended the wings to me and man was he spot on. The wings were super crispy, like you can hear them crunch from across the room in a loud crowded bar kind of crispy. We got the honey jerk seasoning and it was really tasty, sweet and tangy. Fun fact, if you eat dinner with a chef he will try each sauce individually and try to detect individual ingredients and tell you how it is made which is both fun and educational.
Everything was really, really good. Everything. My friend Fred Donaghy makes fun of me because I always say everything is the best I’ve ever had, like “this is the best meal” “the best beer” “the best cigar” etc, but I really just try to soak everything in and fully enjoy myself. Which is exactly what we did.
I went for the special which was a braised short rib quesadilla with goat cheese. Anytime you say “pork belly” or “braised short rib” my reply will be “I’ll take two”. Again I avoid strong cheeses but Jared convinced me to try it with the Goat Cheese and BOOM! It was dynamite. Sweet and sour dipping sauce? I considered drinking it through my straw.
Jared had a house made ramen. I know…bar food…and they have ramen? But they did, and Jared, a trained and seasoned chef, said it was the best Ramen he can remember eating in a long time if not ever. The poached egg…perfection. The broth…deep and complex with an sneaky hint of lime which gave it a brightness without being overly acidic. Two thumbs up!
Natalie has been eating healthy and losing weight like the rest of us wish we could so she opted for the Zucchini noodles with pine nuts and blistered tomatoes. Being healthier didn’t mean less flavorful in this case because the whole dish was delicious. The zucchini noodles were like perfect al dente pasta without all the carbs. My friend Michele Mancini first turned me on to the idea of eating veggies like pasta and after I said “we’re cant be friends anymore” she convinced me to try it and she was spot on. Zucchini pasta, spaghetti squash, delicious and carb free.
Another thing I really appreciate is their focus on locally sourced ingredients when possible. I love seeing Conebella Farms on here because I grew up just down the road and Wyebrook makes the list too, really neat.
Oh me oh my, the beer list was not huge but man was it solid. I had (get ready for it Freddy…) the best beer I can remember ever having. Stone “Wootstout” Imperial Stout was ridiculously delicious, roasty and malty and rich. 13% ABV so buckle up buttercup! It was so delicious and fun to drink, I actually texted Fred right after and told him “I never want to drink any other beer again”. Of course…I will…but still, this was ridiculously good. It will remain at the top of my list for a long while I am sure, but I welcome contenders : )
This post is already pretty lengthy so I’ll just end by saying I’m always thankful for good food and good friends and last night I got to enjoy both! Food is fuel and sustains life but it is also a vehicle for community and pleasure and the enjoyment of life and people. We all share the commonality of eating 3 (sometimes 5 or 6) meals a day. I thoroughly enjoyed hanging out with these guys, talking faith, beer, food, family, and everything I between. Looking forward to the next one.
BONUS: Next door to Station Taproom the owners opened up The Bottle Room where you can sit and grab a beer, buy a bottle, a 6 pack, or fill a growler or crowler. I took home a bottle of Avery Coconut porter I’m excited to try.