Reading Hospital

If you’ve followed Berks County Eats, then you know that Julie and I have been expecting the arrival of our first child. Well, last Friday, he decided it was time.

On November 17, 2017, at 8:21 p.m., Jakob Laurence Brown was born at the Reading Hospital.

Mommy and baby came out of it happy and healthy, and we arrived home on Sunday evening, but not before Jakob joined us for his first Berks County Eats review.

After completing a three-week birthing class two months ago, Julie’s reward was a coupon for a celebratory dinner for two after the arrival of our baby.

On Sunday morning, just a few hours before we were scheduled to leave the hospital, a special menu was delivered to our room.

“You’re Expecting the Best. We Deliver.” When you’re delirious with joy at the birth of a child, you forgive menu puns, even bad ones.

The meal included a tomato mozzarella salad (also known as Caprese), choice of entree – either steak and shrimp or vegetarian stir-fry – and a three-layer chocolate mousse cake for dessert.

For the salad, our bowls were lined with thick-sliced mozzarella, which was then filled with cherry tomatoes, drizzled with a thick balsamic and topped with basil leaves for garnish.

The salad was very good, but way too much. We each only ate a very small amount so that we had room for our main course and dessert (we managed to sneak the rest home with us for later).

My diet had been thrown out the window over the previous two days, with meals that included:

  • Friday Lunch: McDonald’s chicken strips and fries
  • Friday Dinner: Famous Amos cookies and Icy Tea
  • Saturday Breakfast: French toast and home fries from Reading Hospital
  • Saturday Lunch: Meatloaf with mashed potatoes and carrots from the PA Dutch Farmers Market of Wyomssing
  • Saturday Dinner: A giant chocolate chip cookie

So while steak and shrimp was appealing, I thought the hoisin vegetable stir-fry was a more sensible option.

It was actually really good, all things considered. It wasn’t anything special, but the sauce had a nice flavor – a typical sweet and salty Asian stir-fry. The menu listed soba noodles as part of the meal, but they were missing. So it was all vegetables – peppers, squash and onions. I certainly wasn’t going to send it back (it’s a one-hour wait from order to delivery).

Julie, on the other hand, did all the work so no one was going to deny her the surf and turf dinner that she earned.

It included a small filet and shrimp with a baked potato and mixed vegetables (the same medley that was used for my stir-fry.

The steak was topped with gravy (meh) but was fair. It certainly was nothing like eating in a steakhouse. The steamed shrimp was ok, too, but nothing outstanding.

The hardest part about the meal was having to stare at the chocolate trilogy cake. The best part of the meal was eating it.

It was fantastic. The layers of white, milk and dark chocolate mouse melted together. There was the thinnest layer of cake on the bottom to add a little texture. And the pieces of dark chocolate on the top were the icing on the cake, so to speak.

If only we didn’t have to be in the hospital to enjoy it.

For anyone out there looking to deliver in the Reading Hospital and unsure about whether to take the birthing class: take it. If only for the chocolate trilogy cake.

While we ate, Jakob lay in his crib – a clear, plastic tub that we had wheeled next to us. It was our first real sit-down meal as a family, and Jakob’s first official Berks County Eats review.

It wasn’t the best meal we’ve ever had. But it is easily among the most memorable.

Dessert Lunch & Dinner Reviews

Kathryn’s Grille – CLOSED

Editor’s Note: Kathryn’s Grille is now closed. The restaurant originally cut back its hours before closing in early 2018.

Great restaurants have an identity. That’s the case everywhere, including Berks County.

Willoughby’s on Park is a high-end steakhouse. Tomcat Cafe is creative breakfast. Nonno Alby’s Wood Oven Pizza is…wood oven pizza.

For all of these, you know what you’re getting before you go. But there are many restaurants where, at first glance, it’s a little harder.

Kathryn’s Grille, one of Berks County’s newest restaurants, falls into the latter category.

The Douglassville restaurant is located just off westbound Route 422 in a small shopping center formerly home to Amity Ice Cream and OVO BYOB.

It’s a cozy spot with mostly tables for two and a few four-seaters. It’s also one of the nicest dining rooms around: minimalistic in its decor with soft grays and blacks that give it a slightly upscale feel.

But something about the menu just doesn’t seem to fit. It features fried appetizers and wings (50 cents on Sunday), assorted burgers and sandwiches, and eight entree options.

The entrees themselves are an interesting mix. There’s a New York strip steak, seafood options including crab cakes and grilled salmon, and a couple Italian specialties (chicken Parmesan and chicken marsala).

Meanwhile, the sides – fries, sweet potato fries, coleslaw, apple sauce, etc. – scream diner.

For my entree, I decided on the filet beef tips over egg noodles. They were tossed with a blend of mushrooms (cremini, shiitake and domestic, according to the menu) and caramelized onions.

At first, I wasn’t really into it. The noodles on top were very dry. But as I dug deeper, I found increasingly vibrant flavors as the onions and mushrooms soaked into the dish. The steak was fine, but it needed those other flavors to really elevate it.

On the menu, it listed that the meat and mushrooms were in a caramelized onion beef gravy. While the onions were present, there was no gravy. It wasn’t until I was writing this review and looked at the menu again that I realized that gravy was advertised. No wonder the noodles were dry.

None of the sides really paired well with the meal, but being forced to choose one, I went with the day’s special, a vegetable medley of roasted peppers and squash.

Even while we sat there, I joked with Julie that “vegetable medley” is code for vegetables that need to be used before they go bad. The peppers were actually very good, and it was certainly an interesting mix, but not something that I would order again.

I suppose I could have done a side salad, but then I would have preferred that as an appetizer, not a side.

Among the appetizers available is the French onion soup – the only soup with a permanent place on menu. It sounded like a good way to start the meal.

Our waitress asked if I would prefer it in a crock or a bread bowl. I had no choice but to go with the traditional crock.

The soup was topped with a combination of Swiss and Provolone cheeses. The soup itself was good if a little salty, but I thought the cheeses didn’t work as well with it as a more traditional gruyere. They didn’t melt very well and didn’t complement the flavors of soup in the same way.

Provolone cheese was a key ingredient in Julie’s entree, the “Dip It” prime rib sandwich. It was a typical French dip with a glass of au jus for dipping.

It was a good sandwich. The roll was excellent, soaking up the au jus well. I wouldn’t call it the best French dip around, but Julie enjoyed it.

Sandwiches are served with house-made chips. These were excellent. The small waffle-cut chips were well-salted, bite sized and perfect for snacking.

Toward the end of our meal, the owner (I assume) came around and stopped at every table to ask how their meals were. He then dimmed the lights slightly “I don’t want it to feel like a cafeteria.”

I guess “cafeteria” is one thing that Kathryn’s is not.

But I’m still trying to figure out what it is.

Here’s what I do know about Kathryn’s: The sandwich was good and so were the chips. The beef tips needed that gravy. The French onion soup left something to be desired. And it was $40 for our meal.

So where does that leave us? Conflicted. It’s a restaurant with potential, but it’s lacking something. Hopefully they can figure out what that is.

Kathryn’s Grille
1 Park Ln
Douglassville, PA 19518

Kathryn's Grille Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Closed Lunch & Dinner Reviews

Gourmand Cafe (Via Delivery Dudes)

As you might have already heard, there is a new addition to the Berks County Eats family – a baby boy! He’s due around Thanksgiving, but chances are he will make his grand entrance a little before that. (We’re just hoping he bakes a few more weeks!)

About a month ago, I was in the hospital and since then have basically been a home-body. The good thing is, I am pretty good at entertaining myself. The bad thing? I would love to be doing more active things! But I’m not, and this is just life’s way of telling me to take some time to relax before Baby B. arrives. (That’s the nickname for our little bundle.)

Thankfully, I’m still able to go out to eat so I can still be a part of the BCE experience. But when you’re stuck at home and kind of tired of leftovers and the same old stuff, you really want to have something yummy from outside the house.

Enter Delivery Dudes. Delivery service has been around for a long time. Think about all those pizza places delivering right to your door. Or even as far back as the milk man.

Delivery Dudes came into the Reading area in 2015. With so many independent restaurants popping up in Berks County, it is a much-needed service. It helps these businesses reach beyond the crowd that walks into their brick-and-mortars. And it helps busy customers that are looking for something other than their everyday lunch or dinner.

About a month ago, I was having a craving for Gourmand. I am not supposed to be driving, and without a ride to the Gourmand Café on Berkshire Blvd. in Wyomissing, I decided to order take-out through Delivery Dudes.

I ordered the tuna melt and their featured hummus.

The tuna melt arrived as an open-faced sandwich. I was pleasantly surprised because that also meant that I would be saving the second half for later. The melt is made with a house-made tuna salad, melted Swiss cheese and tomato on a toasted marble rye bread.  The salad was good and hearty, not runny at all. The rye bread was a nice addition and added a different kind of flavor to the sandwich. The sandwich is also served with their house-made potato chips which are always a favorite of mine.

The featured hummus looked amazing. I have to be honest though, as the baby is growing, it’s harder for me to eat a lot in one sitting without feeling REALLY uncomfortable. Pair that with the fact that I forgot that the sandwich comes with chips, I just couldn’t eat any more so I saved the hummus for a snack.

When I finally got around to the hummus, I loved it! The simple hummus was garnished with (I believe) roasted red peppers sautéed onions, and spring onions. The hummus came with house-made tortilla chips which were also amazing! The tortilla chips were fried and puffed up in the process, making them even more delightful.

So how does Delivery Dudes work? You’ll find a list of all participating restaurants on the website. Click on the restaurant you want to try and browse the menu. Add items to you cart and check out.

There is a $5.00 cash delivery charge per restaurant on all orders, no matter the size. If you choose to pay by CC, there is a $2 processing fee.

When I finished check-out, it gave me a delivery window of about 45 minutes. Boy, I was glad I was thinking ahead because when a pregnant woman is hungry, she wants it NOW!

Right on schedule about 45 minutes later, the delivery person pulled up in front of the house and brought the food right to the door. I added a tip to the total, which ended up being just under $25.

I have to admit, when I’m the only one ordering, $25 for lunch is kind of a lot, but it’s all about convenience.

It’s a great service if you’re ordering lunch for the office, a meal for the family, or dinner for you and your friends. But for one person, it’s not just practical.

That said, DD is providing a service and a great service at that. I’ll just make sure to order with Zach next time.

BCE Rating
Food: Very Good
Service: Very Good
Ambiance: N/A
Price: Reasonable (A Little Pricey w/ Delivery)

Gourmand Cafe
945 Berkshire Blvd
Wyomissing, PA 19610

Delivery Dudes
deliverydudes.com/reading

Lunch & Dinner Reviews