Kennett Square is a lovely town near Longwood Gardens and the Brandywine Valley. It also happens to be the "Mushroom Capitol of the World" and rightly so judging from the number of farms and warehouses visible from driving down any of the local highways.
I've been to Portabello restaurant three times and ate their food once at the must see Mushroom Festival in September. Their booth has the longest lines and for good reason.
This is simply one of the best culinary values I have ever had. The owner and head chef wears the full regalia while supervising his staff in the semi-open kitchen. Tables are covered in cloth and the atmosphere is warm and welcoming.
The name of this restaurant brings about a certain expectation in Kennett Square. We sampled local fare from a number of local establishments during the mushroom festival and none of them come close to Portabello.
The attention to detail is in all of their food. We are on the vegan side of vegetarian and essentially "cheat" when we order their cream of mushroom soup. I live on the Chesapeake Bay in MD and all the local restaurants have an informal competition on cream of crab soup. Any serious restaurant worth it's salt in our area knows the importance of that measurement.
Portabello is clearly the king of the hill. We tried soup from the establishment across the street and from other vendors at the festival. Foodies will immediately know the difference as well between a first class Gordon Ramsay level restaurant and the pretenders.
Their bread for starters is "imported" from a bakery in Brooklyn NY. They bring a basket with gourmet infused olive oil, infused butter, and a gorgonzola hummus that will stop you in your tracks. My kids devoured all of this on our first visit and they consistently turn away what they call "spicy" food. Not this time. They both ate gourmet mac and cheese in a modern bowl garnished perfectly.
I could end the review here with this statement: There is LOVE IN THIS FOOD.
But I won't. There is more. Being vegan/vegetarian we asked the chef to "whip us up" a mushroom sautee. No problem. We asked on two different visits and got two slightly different variations both of which were off the charts. A medley of different types of exotic locally grown mushrooms on a base of portabello.
Second time, we took my uncle from the midwest. We had mushroom crepes which are filled with a creamy chunky heaven like mixture of exotic mushrooms in incredible perfectly seasoned sauce.
We also had the portabello fries with horseradish on the side. We watched other dishes come out of the kitchen and wished we actually weren't vegan. There are a number of meat dishes that deserve checking out. I witnessed some sandwiches they made on my first visit and I desperately wanted one after I was full already.
The owner and his wife are incredibly friendly people. We were so enthusiastic that they spent more than a fair amount of time talking with us at our table. They are rightly proud of this restaurant. The staff is well trained and full of smiles.
This is one of the best restaurants I've been to. We eat out several nights a week as commuters in a large city with no time to cook. We only go to restaurants with love in their food. Portabello is one restaurant we'd love to have closer to our home. We will drive the three hours to see Longwood for Christmas or other times and stop by.
This is a bring your own wine restaurant due to unusual liquor laws. This is a common situation in this area with restaurants. Go to the super Giant in Kennett Square and grab your favorite wine or beer. They are happy to serve it for you in an ice bucket.
This is a MUST VISIT restaurant.
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