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“Unexpected Alchemy”

Blue Moose Restaurant & Cafe
Ranked #1 of 90 Restaurants in New Hope
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $10 - $30
Cuisines: American, European, British
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Breakfast, Reservations
Description: We are an intimate BYOB in the heart of New Hope, Pa. We offer locally sourced and creative New American cuisine!
Bucks County, Pennsylvania
Level 6 Contributor
113 reviews
72 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 131 helpful votes
“Unexpected Alchemy”
Reviewed October 7, 2012

Years back, a delightfully eccentric friend at the BBC had my wife and I over for an intimate dinner of roast beef with Yorkshire pudding -- classicly boring dishes. Yet, what we experienced was food alchemy. Using powers normally reserved for the Almighty, he transformed this most pitiful of offerings into a spectacular and memorable feast.

It appears that the Almighty has journeyed across the Pond. I stumbled across the Blue Moose while searching for a simpler alternative to our regional favorite, Brian's in adjacent Lambertville. Blue Moose's menu certainly doesn't impress, with nary a trace of exotica or molecular manipulation. However, such seemingly boring staples as shepherd's pie and pork shank land on your table as culinary masterpieces. Ingredients are local, oozing freshness, and no shortcuts need apply. Even the beef in the shepherd's pie, normally a dumping ground for leftover bits, has nary a trace of fat, gristle or tendon. But this is just a foundation from which emerges succulence and a melding of subtleties into a delicious whole. Alchemy, or something close, has found a new home.

When my wife went to the loo and eyed a posted review, things became clearer. The chef, Skylar Bird, is barely out of his teens. As a promising 14-year-old, Bird had participated in the founding meetings of the Bucks County Foodshed Alliance, a slow food group which has since gone on to stimulate regional wholesome agriculture and establish farmers' markets. Bird then opened a small restaurant in his parents' home, initially obtaining produce from the Wrightstown Farmer's Market.

With success came the move to a tastefully converted row home in central New Hope. It's staffed by kindred souls -- young, chipper, helpful and friendly. In all, it's the sort of food experience that would be creating serious buzz if it were in, say, San Francisco. Except here, at $25 prix fixe, it's priced so almost everybody can afford to participate.

Downsides: 1) Word's gotten out, so it's not always easy to get in; 2) parking can be difficult and is metered until 9 PM (bring lots of quarters); 3) cash or check only; and 4) the website bills the Blue Moose as "the youth-run restaurant," giving it the appearance of a superior place by kiddie standards when in fact it is top drawer by the most exacting adult yardstick.

If you consider Alice Watersism to be the Buddhism of the food world, then Blue Moose is closer to Zen than is Brian's. Both are outstanding disciples, yet treading different paths. Try both.

  • Visited October 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
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Helpful?
2 Thank Cochon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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562 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • Danish first
  • English first
  • French first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Level 4 Contributor
27 reviews
17 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
“BRAVO!”
Reviewed September 28, 2012

Last Sunday evening my husband and I had dinner at this cute little café. It’s such a unique idea for a restaurant and from the décor to the location to the servers it’s simply charming. We made reservations and it was a good thing because the place was fully seated. Since it was Sunday night, I wasn’t expecting it to be but I think the secret is out.

We opted to sit on the deck outside because it was a little warm for me in the restaurant, we were the only ones out there. It occurred to me that every place in New Hope seems to need a good power wash. The deck could have been a little nicer decorated with proper lighting, but we didn’t care. If you mind that sort of thing; then just stay inside because it’s adorable inside. (I realize, that’s nit-picky but I want to give a comprehensive review)

The food…oh, delicious! We started with salads which were the perfect size, dressed well and not stingy on the pecans. My main course was the braised ribs, they were tender and flavorful, zesty and well seasoned. They came with julienne carrots and this savory butternut squash puree. The puree must have had a gallon of butter in it because it was just marvelous. Serving size on my dish was huge! I had about 1.5 cups of mashed potatoes made from scratch. I felt bad because I couldn’t take them with me and I couldn’t have eaten them all. My husband had the fettuccine which was a more appropriate serving size and equally yummy. We shared a brownie for dessert, one on the best I’ve ever eaten.

Our check was a mere $49 bucks, which included 2 dinners, 1 dessert, coffee & tea! On the way out we were offered our choice of free pastries which we declined because we were just stuffed! This place is great and we will definitely visit again. I highly recommend this establishment to all.

Well done to this youth run BYOB!

  • Visited September 2012
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank NM18976
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chadds Ford, PA
Level 6 Contributor
130 reviews
57 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
“Interesting restaurant - great food”
Reviewed September 24, 2012

We joined 4 friends for a late Saturday dinner - this is a real gem. Great food, BYO and prices that can't be beat. 2 courses for $20 and 3 courses for $25. Lots of choices, fish, meat, veggie options. All prepared and served by a very young staff- cehf is 20 serers are all teens. Bread and desserts are baked on premises delicious. Worth a try and trip to New Hope for.

  • Visited September 2012
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank redbubbie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Most awesome BYO in New Hope”
Reviewed September 20, 2012

We discovered Blue Moose by accident in April and we've gone every week for either dinner or Sunday brunch (we live about 45 minutes away). We have never been disappointed, yes it is a youth run restaurant - but the staff is the most motivated and pleasant bunch of servers I've ever encountered. The menu features much locally grown produce and Chef Skylar makes scrumptious bread & desserts I've ever had! We try something new each time we come, except I am partial to the latest Salmon entree, I must admit - I've had it a few times. The carrot puree is to die for and the soups and salads are impressive. The portions are generous and the prices are unbeatable. Make a reservation, this gem gets sold out Fridays and Saturday each week! Last night I had to take home the beef, lentil samosas with apple chutney - my daughter insisted on it!

  • Visited September 2012
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Cogana
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lambertville, New Jersey
1 review
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“The BEST!”
Reviewed September 19, 2012

Once again a delicious meal at the cafe blue moose!!! I tried the new vegetarian dish tonight and it went straight to the top of my list with it's mouth-watering butternut squash! Also enjoyed the new desert, pumpkin squares with a cream cheese frosting next to a heaping scoop of coffee ice cream. This restaurant is one of kind in that it not only puts out excellent food night after night, but is also training, preparing, and inspiring the youth it employs to continue to persue culinary careers! By far my favorite place to go in New Hope.

  • Visited September 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
2 Thank Justin16
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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