5 Favorite Entrees of 2018

Our annual end-of-year tradition continues as we take a look back on the best things we tried this year. Today: our five favorite entrees of 2018.

Brocmar Taco – Brocmar Smokehouse

When we visited Brocmar Smokehouse for our first blog of 2018, it was a relative newcomer to the Shillington Farmers Market. When we left, it was our new go-to spot for barbecue in Berks County thanks to the inventive Brocmar taco – a fried Johnny cake topped with choice of meat, coleslaw and barbecue sauce. Between return visits to the market and sandwiches at Brocmar’s Reading Fightin Phils stand, it was probably our most-visited restaurant of the year. Read Full Review

Savory Grille Five Spice Duck Breast

Five-Spice Duck Breast – Savory Grille

If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time, you know that duck – when done right – is one of my absolute favorite foods. The five-spice duck breast from Savory Grille may be the best that I’ve tried. At the time, I described it as one of the best dishes I have ever tried – thanks to the addition of blueberry compote and sauce gastrique that gave it a complex sweet and sour flavor. It was an absolute highlight in one of the best meals we had all year. Read Full Review

Sal's Pizza Style Stromboli Pizza

Stromboli Pizza – Sal’s Pizza Style

I’m not going to go so far as to say this is my favorite pizza in Berks County (that honor still goes to the Chicago-style pie at Romano’s) but it is certainly the most original pizza – or Stromboli – in Berks, and that’s reason enough to make the list. Taking a traditional Stromboli and using the top fold as the base of a pizza is brilliant. It’s also very good and something that’s worth trying at least once. Read Full Review

Fork & Ale Moroccan Chicken

Moroccan Chicken – Fork  & Ale

Hands-down the best chicken dish that I have tasted on Berks County Eats. The Moroccan chicken from Fork & Ale featured confit chicken in an incredible spice blend, served over housemade pasta. The addition of sweet golden raisins and crunchy chickpeas gave it additional flavor bursts and needed texture and helped make it one of the most memorable dishes we have tried. Read Full Review

Kwik Shoppe Pulled Duck Sandwich

Pulled Duck – Kwik  Shoppe

This may not have been the gourmet-style duck described above from Savory Grille, but I have to give kudos to the Kwik Shoppe for creating a fast-food style pulled duck sandwich that exceeded my expectations. The subtle sweet and tangy sauce and the crispy onion ring on top were nice additions. Is it a five-star meal? Absolutely not. But it’s a unique only-in-Berks County dish and that’s reason enough to make this list. Read Full Review

Best of Berks County Eats Entrees
Billy Burger earned the title of Best Burger

5 Favorite Entrees of 2017

Every December, we take a look back at our favorite dishes of the past year. We’re finishing our year-in-review with the main course. Here are our five favorite entrees we tried in 2017.

1 Potato Two – Eggplant Parmesan Spudwich

For the uninitiated, a spudwich is a sandwich where the bread or roll has been replaced by a deep-fried potato sliced lengthwise. The novelty of it was intriguing. But the taste, that was amazing. It was messy, it was greasy, but it was delicious. The fried eggplant, tomato sauce and cheese may not have been as much of a standout on its own, but in a spudwich, it was memorable. Read Full Review

Billy Burger & Bakery – The Ranch Burger

Billy Burger earned the title of Best Burger

The last time a burger made our end-of-the-year favorites list was in 2014 (Frank and Diannah’s). This year, Billy Burger made the cut with its Ranch Burger. The burger starts with lettuce and tomato, but then it gets crazy with the addition of a grilled poblano pepper and buttermilk peppercorn ranch dressing. The cool ranch mixed with the mild pepper and a well-cooked burger made it one of my favorite handhelds of the year. Read Full Review

Cosa Pizzeria and Restaurant – Ragu alla Bolognese

Cosa's ragu bolongese has layers of flavor from the sauce, homemade pasta and herbs

Cosa is a newcomer to Berks County – opening in the former Basil Restaurant and Pizzeria location outside Sinking Spring. The ragu alla Bolognese was a stand-out dish. Featuring house-made pappardelle pasta tossed in a veal and sofrito ragu, I became an instant fan of Cosa. Read Full Review

Folino Estate Vineyard and Winery – Drunken Pasta

The second pasta dish on the list is nothing like the first. The drunken pasta at Folino Estate is infused with red wine to give it a distinct purple hue, then it was cooked in wine (for good measure) and served with chicken and shaved Pecorino Romano cheese. It was unlike anything that I have ever tried, and it’s a must-try (and I’m not even a wine lover). Read Full Review

Willoughby’s on Park – Dry-Aged Ribeye

The 20-ounce dry-aged ribeye at Willoughby's on Park

This year, I saved the best for last. It’s almost not fair to compare a steak from Willoughby’s on Park to anything else in Berks County because the high-end steakhouse feel of Willoughby’s is unlike any other restaurant experience in the county. And my steak, combined with the mission fig Cabernet reduction (for a non-wine drinker, I certainly ordered a lot of wine-infused meals) was about as close to perfection as I could have wanted. Read Full Review

 

Best of Berks County Eats Entrees

5 Favorite Entrees of 2016

Every December, we take a look back at our favorite dishes of the past year. This week, we’re ready for the main course. Here are our five favorite entrees we tried in 2016.

Andy Pepper’s – The “Thin Lizzy”

andy-pepper-s-thin-lizzy

Andy Pepper’s is among the top rated eateries in Berks County, and earlier this year, we found out why. My “Thin Lizzy” sandwich was easily among my favorite things of the year. It was simple: baby spinach, provolone, tomatoes, pesto and guacamole on a grilled flatbread. But it was fantastic. Read Review

Backwoods Brothers Authentic Texas Cuisine – Smoked Sausage

backwoods-brothers-pulled-pork-smoked-sausage-fried-okra

When it opened in 2014, Backwoods Brothers was a welcome addition to Berks County. I’ve returned since our review, and still can’t get over how good the smoked sausage is. (Don’t forget the fried okra on the side). Read Review

Dans at Green Hills – New York Strip Steak

dans-at-green-hills-ny-strip-steak

Want the recipe for a great dinner? Perfectly cook a New York strip steak, then add truffle butter. “Savory and smooth” was how I described it in my blog, and I don’t think I could describe it any better. Read Review

Firefly Cafe – Vegan Pulled Pork

firefly-cafe-vegan-pulled-pork-sandwich

Three words I never thought I’d use in the same sentence: vegan pulled pork. But then I tried it at Firefly Cafe, where they use jackfruit as the meat substitute, and it was every bit as good as the real thing, and better than at some barbecue places. Read Review

Rocco’s Wood Fired Pizza – “Bee Sting” Pizza

roccos-bee-sting-pizza

Opened in spring, Rocco’s Wood Fired Pizza is one of Berks County’s newest pizza places, and after tasting two of their unique offerings, I’m ready to declare it among the best. The “Bee Sting,” featuring San Marzano tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, hot sopresatta, raw honey (the bee) and crushed red pepper oil (the sting), it was absolutely delicious. Read Review

Entrees Features Stories

5 Favorite Entrees of 2015

December is a time to look back and reflect on the year that was. Berks County Eats is taking a look back at the best of the best from more than 50 restaurants that we visited in 2015. This week: Our Top Five Favorite Entrees. 

Appetizers and dessert are great, but there’s a reason the main course is called the main course. Here’s five entrees that stood out from 52 Berks County Eats meals this year:

Heirloom – Bison Steak

bison-heirloom

Heirloom is the only restaurant to appear on all three of my “Best of 2015” lists, and it earned every spot. Because of the ever-evolving menu, you probably won’t find it on the menu when you go, but the bison steak was one of the best meals I have eaten anywhere. It was roasted like pot roast, easily pulling apart with my fork. Read Full Post

Jukebox Cafe – Cinnamon Roll French Toast

jukebox-cafe-cinnamon-roll-french-toast

I love cinnamon rolls. I love French toast. I am in love with the cinnamon roll French toast from Jukebox Cafe. Two cinnamon rolls grilled like French toast and topped with strawberry syrup: what’s not to love? While I don’t advise eating this for breakfast every day, I do advise trying it the next time you’re in Boyertown. Read Full Post

Chen Vegetarian House – Mango Chicken

chen-vegetarian-house-mango-chicken

There is no chicken in Chen Vegetarian House’s mango chicken, but that’s not important. Replacing the tofu with real chicken couldn’t have made this dish any better. The fresh slices of mango, the citrus sauce that coated the whole dish and just the fact that it was served in a hollowed-out mango shell made this one of my most memorable meals of the year. Read Full Post

Basil – Spinach Ravioli

basil-spinach-ravioli

Pasta is one of my favorite dishes for dinner. Basil’s spinach ravioli was my favorite pasta dish that I have tried in a long while. Mixing the spinach into the dough in addition to the filling was a great choice, and the red sauce, complete with plenty of basil, was perfect for the dish. Read Full Post

Romano’s  – Chicago Style Pizza

romano-s-chicago-style-pizza

Every year I celebrate National Pizza Month (October) by visiting as many pizza joints as possible. This year, I had four exceptional meals, but Romano’s was the best. I’ve been to Geno’s East in Chicago for authentic Chicago-style pizza; Romano’s doesn’t quite reach that level, but it is very close. Read Full Post

 

Entrees Features Stories

5 Favorite Entrees of 2014

December is a time to look back and reflect on the year that was. Berks County Eats is taking a look back at the best of the best from more than 50 restaurants and 10 festivals we visited in 2014. This week: Our Top Five Favorite Entrees.

We started with appetizers and we have already tasted dessert, now it’s time to dig in to the main course as we present our five favorite entrees we have tried in the past year.

Chicken-And-Biscuits-Chef-Alan-s

Chicken and BiscuitsChef Alan’s American Bistro

Comfort food doesn’t always have to be familiar. Chef Alan’s proves that with their chicken and biscuits, a unique take on a classic American dish. The dish looked beautiful, and it tasted as good as it looked. The biscuits were nice and flaky and the chicken breast was seared to perfection, but it was the sauce—a creamy broth crossed with Marsala— that really brought it together and took it over the top.

Dazed-And-Confused-Tom-Cat-Cafe

Dazed and ConfusedTomcat Cafe

Breakfast is an often overlooked meal, but when done right, it can be a memorable dining experience. The Tomcat Cafe does it right with creative dishes—with creative names—like the Dazed and Confused: two slices of French toast dipped in Fruity Pebbles and topped with strawberries, bananas, strawberry syrup and whipped cream. The sugary shortstack was half breakfast, half dessert, and all delicious.

thaiwat-evil-jungle-princess

Evil Jungle PrincessThaiwat

Not just the coolest sounding name of anything I tried this year, the Evil Jungle Princess at Thaiwat was delicious. Based on Thaiwat’s heat scale, I was prepared for a “stimulating kick to the lips and tongue,” and what I got was a sweet and spicy masterpiece, a blend of chicken and vegetables tossed with curry and coconut milk.

italiano-burger-arbor-inn

Italiano BurgerFrank & Diannah’s Arbor Inn

Frank & Diannah’s is one of the highest rated restaurants across all review sites, and our first Burger Night did not disappoint. The evening’s special was the Italiano burger, a thick meaty patty topped with capicola ham, roasted peppers and provolone cheese. At times it was like eating a pizza or a meatball sandwich, but always delicious.

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Pasta al Parmigiano Romano – Mangia Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria

Mangia’s Pasta al Parmigiano Romano is much more than spaghetti and sauce: it’s an experience. The tableside show starts when the chef carves a layer out of the 80-pound cheese wheel, then pours flaming grappa (Italian liquor) on the shavings to melt them. The fettuccine and sauce are tossed right in, allowing the cheese to adhere to every bite in this truly inspired dish.

 

Entrees Features Stories