New and exciting dishes for every palate at Wyncote
● By Steven Hoffman
Jim Pepple likes to say that the Wyncote golf course is one that a golfer can enjoy every day because the course presents such unique challenges that no two rounds would ever be the same. Similarly, the dining options are so varied at Wyncote's Rose & Thistle Room and the Ball & Thistle Pub that a person could eat there every day and enjoy the offerings.
During one recent weekend, executive chef Scott Hart prepared Angus prime rib that was slow-cooked to perfection in an Alto shaam oven; a New Zealand lamb shank braised low and slow until tender; yellow-fin ahi tuna rolled in panko bread crumbs; and appetizers like jumbo shrimp stuffed with crab imperial and finished with a citrus butter sauce or escargot a la bourgionne.
According to Pepple, there was a time when restaurants would rely on its basic menu offerings to attract guests, but now those favorites on the menu must be complemented with a variety of distinctive dishes. During one recent weekend, nearly three-quarters of all the orders came from the menu of specials that Wyncote was offering.
Hart is continually developing new dishes for every palate, and teaching his staff how to prepare them. He attended culinary school in Phoenix, Arizona and received further training in French-American foods with southwest influences at various restaurants in the Phoenix and Scottsdale area. Hart has worked for much of the last decade at Wyncote, first as a sous chef and now as the executive chef for the last six years. He has more than 18 years of experience in the culinary arts, and was given the freedom to introduce new items and to expand the dining options at Wyncote.
“We’ve always been known as a place for good hamburgers,” Pepple said, explaining that Chester County citizens, in general, still like their meat and potatoes. There are no fewer than five burgers on the regular menu, including a turkey burger and a bison burger. But Pepple and Hart are always eager to develop new signature dishes.
The prime rib and lamb shank have proven to be very popular selections.
Pepple explained that he always enjoyed the prime rib at Harry's Savoy Grill Restaurant in Delaware. He approached Hart about how Wyncote could produce the best results when preparing its own prime rib, and the chef said that the restaurant would need to get an Alto shaam oven for slow-roasting meats.
Once Wyncote got the oven and started serving the new prime rib and lamb shanks, one guest stopped Pepple and told him that the prime rib was so good that it rivaled the prime rib at his favorite restaurant in Delaware. Pepple knew right away that the guest was referring to Harry's Savoy Grill.
The restaurant offerings have always been an important part of the Wyncote experience. Wyncote offers a best-of-both-worlds experience with the Ball & Thistle Pub, which offers dining in a relaxed atmosphere that is reminiscent of a Scottish pub, and the Rose & Thistle Room, which is a beautiful dining area that can accommodate small or large groups. Patio dining is also available to enjoy sunny afternoons or warm summer nights. To complement the dinner offerings during the weekends, there is live entertainment most Friday and Saturday evenings.
Pepple said that if one of the staff members has an idea about how to improve the overall experience for guests, he encourages them to pursue it.
“I put people in positions and then tell them to think,” Pepple explained. “I have ideas, but half of what we do around here is other people’s ideas.”
In addition to the weekend specials, there are specials after 5 p.m. on Monday, which is Taco Night, on Tuesday, when crab cakes are available for half price, and Wednesday when burgers are half price.
Review the full Wyncote menu at www.wyncote.com or call 610-998-1414 to make a reservation.