A few years back, we used to go to Allison at Blue Bell fairly often, the food was great, we considered it more of a high end/special occasion place. Once they got their liquor license two years ago, we pretty much stopped going because of the cost, adding a bar tab to our bill would have made for too pricey of a night.
I heard that they were offering a fixed price mid week menu, and BYO with no corkage, so we decided to give them a try again. Well, it was a completely different experience than I have had in the past. Where it was more of a high end restaurant before, it now has more of a neighborhood feel. Pretty space (decor has not changed much), outdoor patio, friendly but casual service. I think the menu prices have dropped a bit too. While not cheap, most entrees are around $18-$22 which is fair. And the $30 fixed price menu is a bargain. For starters we god a roasted beet and feta salad, and gazpacho with fresh mozzarella. For entrees we got seared skate with homemade gnocci (gnocci were pillowy soft!) and a middle eastern style lamb dumpling dish. For dessert we got tres leches cake (topped with a deliciuos toasted marshmallow) and a summer berry cobbler. Everything was very tasty, nothing "oh my God!" spectacular but very very good. They had a nice small inexpensive wine list and my husband tried a glass of greek red wine he had never heard of before. All in all the bill was only $85 including tip, totally worth it for a nice dinner out.
I think Allison must be focusing her attentions on the new restaurant in Fort Washington. We had dinner there on Saturday (I posted about it earlier) and it was an "Oh my God!" amazing dinner. But, we paid for it, our bill was exactly double of what we paid last night. I think the main differnce is that Allison at Blue Bell no longer has that finesse as it did when Allison is at the helm. For example - my beet salad had great flavors but the knifework was lacking in that the beets were cut in irregular slices and the green onions were sloppily chopped. Not a big deal, but just something noticable in comparison to what we were accustomed to the last times we were there. Again, I like what it is now, I like that it is a bit more casual and affordable. I think it fills a nice little niche and I plan to resume my regular visits there!
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