The Saint James serves up heavenly fare
by Larry Nichols
Nov 08, 2012 | 286 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
<b>PEPPERONI FLATBREAD</b><i> Photos: Scott A. Drake</i>
City dwellers might want to bone up on Mapquest and their navigational skills to find The Saint James — 30 Parking Plaza, Suburban Square in Ardmore — but the treasure is well worth the hunt. Tucked into the center of Ardmore’s snazzy retail district (you might want to dress up a bit), this newly opened American bistro helmed by Chef Michael Schulson seems to be the talk of the suburban town, as it was packed with enthusiastic patrons on a rainy Tuesday night.

We soon found out why: Almost everything we tried was top-notch.

The raw bar tower ($50) is a fine way to start a meal, with shrimp cocktail, two kinds of oysters, jumbo lump crab and Maine lobster with all the appropriate trimmings.

Also, the parker house rolls ($6 and worth every penny) where phenomenal. Seriously, we mean that. They’ll give even the best dinner rolls your mothers or grandmothers serve up at Thanksgiving a hard run for their money.

The smoked trout dip ($9) was another excellent appetizer. The smoky flavor of the hearty dip on house-made bagel chips did a stellar job of tempering the flavor of the trout. And the pepperoni flatbread ($12) was amazing, its crispy crust and substantial slices of thick pepperoni simultaneously satisfying our inner child and our grown-up tastes.

The pasta menu had some familiar comforts and bold creations. The spaghetti and meatballs ($17) could have benefited from a better-seasoned meatball. It was almost there but fell a little short. The spaghetti itself was excellent. A couple could have a perfect “Lady and the Tramp” moment with the hand-cut spaghetti. If you want to experience a really adventurous pasta form, try the wild mushroom lasagna ($16), a worthy alternative to the traditional dish, overflowing with great mushroom flavor, greens and garlic.

The entrées at The Saint James took things to anther level. The rib-eye steak ($28) was nothing short of red-meat heaven with crispy shallots. The pork chop ($25) was phenomenal, thickly cut and topped with wonderfully buttery garlic crumbs.

Desserts are serious business at The Saint James. Even if you get something simple like the warm chocolate chip cookies ($6), which are huge, warm and soft with just the right amount of crunch, you will fall in love. Then there are the pies. You don’t get a slice — you get your own entire pie that necessitates a wingman to finish. The maple pecan pie ($12) was slightly over-caramelized but still great. Even better was the roasted yam pie, which was velvety and triggered early Thanksgiving flashbacks for the second time that evening. Do yourself a favor and spring for the scoop of ice cream ($3) with your pie. It’ll make your toes curl.

You should seriously consider doing your Christmas shopping at Suburban Square, if for no other reason than to drop into The Saint James.

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