The year 2019 was all about new dining opportunities in central Pa. Cafes, ethnic eateries, artisan shops and novelty food trucks emerged on the restaurant scene so fast and furiously I have probably missed a few. But that’s where your help as readers and eaters is needed in the comments section. Have you had a fantastic meal at an area eatery this year? If so, where?
4520 Valley Road., Enola, 717-695-7673
As a stay-at-home mom, Jacqueline Ferentinos never lost sight of her dream of owning her own restaurant. “Everything began falling into place a little over a year ago when a great space opened up,” said Ferentinos, who operates the business with husband ,Steve, “the behind the scenes guy”.
Inspired by cooking trends, Ferentinos has created menu items that literally make your mouth water. Breakfast at Valley Bistro was good enough to earn Harrisburg Magazine’s Simply the Best Breakfast 2019 (West Shore) award. The homemade chipotle hollandaise sauce cascades over braised short rib and shimmering poached egg in the popular Shortie Benedict ($12.95). If you still have room, the oversized, buttery crumb muffins are made in-house too. You’ll find that same simmered short rib in the grilled cheese sandwich ($10.95), consisting of rich flavors of simmered meat, caramelized onions, bbq sauce and arugula.
Olive Oil Grille
71 Erford Road, Camp Hill, 717-761-4455
The Mediterranean, health-conscious, homemade food at Olive Oil Grille has garnered people’s attention and appetites. At the assembly line counter, start with a bowl, pita or salad ($9.87). Choose a base, such as ancient grains, brown rice or a power blend of greens. To flavor the base, try one of the dips and spreads. Fire feta gets its mild heat from jalapeños and hummus. Braised beef and lamb come next but the lamb meatballs speckled with chopped fresh parsley are worth the slight ($1.65) up-charge. Finally, toppings like lemon slaw, herbaceous white beans or grenadine pickled pink onions and house dressings complete this conglomerate of varied ingredients.
3499 Market St., Hampden Township, 717-603-3992
When Doug and Debra Barry, owners of the Pizza Grille chain, launched their pilot eatery, Sandwich, they wanted to keep it as simple as possible. “Everywhere you go, including the grocery store, there are so many choices. It’s annoying. We felt this is the way people are leaning,” said Doug Barry.
Sandwich is direct and to the point. There are no preservatives or nitrates in any of the ingredients, including the meats, cold cuts and even the fresh cut French fries ($2). The melt-in-your-mouth fries are served with salt or Old bay seasoning, but for fifty cents extra get the earthy, pungent truffle dipping sauce.
As you might expect, Sandwich focuses primarily on sandwiches ($7.50-$10.50), categorized by meat or vegetarian. And there are protein plates (categorized by meat or shrimp salad), served with one side ($4.50-$5.75), one or two daily soups including chicken corn ($4.50), three lofty salads ($5.25-$9.75) with house-made vinaigrettes, and farm show thick milkshakes ($4), including a caffeine-stoked shake made with half ice cream and half cold brew coffee.
Dan Gleiter | [email protected]
3700 Market St., Camp Hill, 717-975-3800
“I’m trying to do my own thing. I’ve totally changed recipes to make them my own. I’ve pulled up the carpet, added laminate flooring and redid the walls and ceiling.”
So said Megan Seiferth, who owns and operates Market, located at the former Sophia’s on Market at the Shoppes of Hampden. The simplicity of the black and white decor and streamlined dining room echo the clean-tasting, fresh recipes.
“There have been a few people asking about certain items that are no longer on the menu but overall people have accepted the change,” Seiferth said.
One sandwich that did not get cut from the printed page is the egg salad on grilled house baked olive bread ($8). This straight-forward stack of luscious ingredients includes mixed leafy greens, a mashed egg mixture and distinctive olive-studded bread slices. The restaurant has been very well received and the freshness and simplicity of the baked goods, quiches, salads, sandwiches says it all.
5 S. 35th St., Camp Hill, 717-695-7930
The Korean eatery The Koop, the fourth of its kind, opened three months ago, around the corner from the neighboring Sandwich restaurant. There are a myriad of authentic Seoul-focused dishes here, including ramen based soups ($9.95-$12.95) and tofu stews ($11.95), appetizers such as Korean seafood pancake with green onion ($12.95), fried dumplings stuffed with vegetables and pork ($8.95) and bibimbap ($12.95) .a colorful rice bowl decorated with clumps of assorted vegetables, fried egg, shiitake mushrooms, carrots and choice of meat. However, the go-to item is the massively popular, crunchy, well-seasoned chicken: whole ($10.95 7-8 pcs), wings ($12.95, eight pieces; drumsticks are $12.95 for five pieces) or boneless ($10.95), with garlicky, spicy or sweet and spicy sauce on the side.
89 Erford Road, Camp Hill, 717-317-5550
There are six steps to creating a great bowl at this sparkling clean shop. Choose your base, pick your protein, mix-ins, sauce, topping and sprinkles. For a recently sampled signature bowl, (regular 2 scoops of protein, $9.95; large is 12.95 with two proteins) brown rice was the base, then spicy raw, buttery bites of ahi tuna and marinated salmon, fresh mango, edamame, sweet sliced marinated mushrooms, fresh chopped cilantro, wasabi aioli made with Japanese horseradish, pickled radish and fresh half of hard boiled egg and finally a garnish of fried garlic flakes and lotus chips. The ingredients from raw fish to marinated shrimp, chicken and steak are very fresh. And the toppings are unique, varied and authentic. I highly recommend a visit to this new shop.
825 Hogestown Road, Silver Spring Twp., 717-889-0111
Dwarfed by Deloitte and CarMax directly across the street, this brand new Indian eatery is a delight. “Seriously good Indian food” is the truthful motto here. The streamlined eat-in or take-out boxy cafe modernizes the menu by offering “craft your curry,” tikka grill and vegetarian bowls. The Tikka pizza offers super thin Naan crust and distinctive, exotic tikka sauce, fresh garlic, mozzarella, chopped red onions, tomatoes, chopped fresh cilantro. Add chicken for an additional dollar.
But don’t stop at the starters. For more comforting entrees try the creamy butter masala ($9.50), with big chunks of meat or chicken. The aromatic, cumin-scented sauce cascades over flavorful basmati rice. For value, generous portions and delectable fare, this shack is worth a visit.
2163 Market St., Camp Hill, 717-761-7610
Stacy Wright opened Stevie’s Bistro in June almost a year after a fire destroyed Cafe Uovo in the century-old building. Wright had been the chef and expert crepe-maker at Uovo for two years. “My heart and soul is in this building,” she said.
As the weather gets colder, fall items will shift into winter mode: apple cider will swap to hot chocolate and pumpkin crepes will morph into gingerbread. Benedicts have always been popular here and the spice ($10) certainly grabs your attention, beginning with grilled slices of baguette layered with avocado, chorizo and two perfectly poached eggs. Spicy chipotle laced sauce gives this Benedict a kick.
Wright uses a special blend of secret flours (gluten-free) to make light and crisp crepe batter. C’est le Brie ($8.50) is an exquisite crepe combination of rich Brie, sautéed mushrooms, asparagus, spinach leaves and tuck of chicken or ham for an extra $3. “We’re trying to create a more personalized experience,” Wright said. I say she’s nailed it.
Smoke & Pickles
30 S. Market Street, Mechanicsburg, 717-795-4852
Chef David T. Mills and wife Kelli own and operate an artisan butcher shop and eatery, located down a narrow side street in downtown Mechanicsburg. Having acquired tips of the trade from European butchers, Mills’ culinary passion and butchering skill is rooted in local and sustainable food that makes use of the entire animal from nose to tail.
Reviving the vestige art of butchering, Mills prepares farm animal to table meats that will enlighten your carnivorous appetites. Everything in his shop is made in-house, right down to the buns for his special dry aged beef burgers and the Not Your Pappa’s Hot Dog ($11.95), a unique, coarser blend of aged beef, pastured pork, and onion, garlic and paprika seasonings. This textured dog is topped with caramelized onions and pickled mustard seeds that burst with briny explosions.
Kanagawa Japanese Cuisine
41 W. Main St., Mechanicsburg, 717-697-5555
The spotlight at this Japanese restaurant is on Song Li or “Sushi Mike” as he is known by customers at Akitas Sushi in Lemoyne. He’s the guy behind the glass counter in the main dining room at this former Mechanicsburg bank building. Although not exactly fast-casual, customers sit up at the counter opposite the sushi chef and either eat in or take out beautifully assembled specialty rolls or novelty sushi burritos and sushi bowls. Shumai (6 pieces are $4.99) are succulent dumplings filled with ground and diced shrimp, the angel roll ($10.99) has a spicy blast of tuna at the center and flopped with yellowtail and red snapper over top. The shrimp tempura roll ($5.99) is laced with crunchy whispers of crisp tempura battered shrimp and thin batons of cucumber and avocado.
Source: Thanks https://www.pennlive.com/life-and-culture/g66l-2019/12/0c6064e05b5935/ten-best-new-restaurants-of-2019-mimis-picks-.html