Finally made it there last night and I can say that I am highly impressed.
While the Mexican mural is still lurking outside, the interior has been very tastefully updated, with a small private area for large groups. One change however was the arrangement of the booths, which were a bit snug, but certainly not unmanageable, just not a feeling I like when I plan a belly buster of a meal.
My guest and I sat down and were immediately greeted by our waiter who opened our wine and listed the specials, seafood being the highlight, with the salmon provencal piquing my dining partner's interest. The menu was unique, with a good mix of salads, several dishes highlighting slightly unique ingredients. While our waiter was tied up, another waiter came over and took our order. We asked if the 'individual pizzas' would be a good idea to split as a first course. He said certainly and we ordered the Tuscan Salami pizza, with several Italian meats, aged provolone and the house made marinara. Let's just say the size of this pizza was understated. Six generous slices came out, and while these were delicious, with thin charred crust and scrumptious sauce (definitely commenting that it tasted like my Italian grandmother's pasta sauce), the portion does not really fit a table of 2 who intends to order full dinners. Regardless, a great opener.
My guest got the salmon provencal, served with garlic mashed potatoes and grilled asparagus. Very simple yet everything was executed to perfection. There was some sort of tangy salsa on the plate that didn't seem to fit, and I'm curious of the chef's thought in including it. However it was neatly lining the side of the dish and did not interfere unless you wanted it to. I ended up getting the grilled pork chop with a wild mushroom Madeira sauce, served with the house-made gnocchi and roasted winter vegetables. At $19, this entree was a steal, but to say I would have paid $30 for is also true. Gorgeous thick-cut pork chop on the bone, light grill char on the outside and a succulent inside was great on its own, but add the light gnocchi and softness of the roasted sweet potatoes and parsnips, big wow. The only complaint was that I didn't have any bread to sop up the velvety mushroom sauce with! Service was a little on the slow side, but I wasn't in any hurry, and the ambiance, for me, was simple and elegant, particularly if you knew this place in its last incarnation. Definitely a spot that I will visit again and again!
Afterwards, I wanted to check out the MBar located next door, so we popped in to grab a quick drink there. For those who remember it, the bar section of this establishment wasn't much to look at, but had pool tables dart boards and other games. The 'game area' has been converted into a lounge feel, big couches, huge fireplace and comfy chairs, with the bar section complete with 3 or 4 plasmas. It was quiet for a Thursday night and my guest and I sat by the fireplace and enjoyed a drink. Not sure what kind of following this place will get, but it has a very chilled out vibe and could definitely be something that grows with the hipster crowd.
All in all, very impressed with this new jewel of Conshohocken!
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