The aromas wafting from the busy kitchen of the Black Lab Bistro give only a hint of the of the delicacies about to tempt our eager palates. A server easing by our table with plates in hand shares a knowing smile. Sensing our interest, she lingers just long enough to let our eyes rest on the halibut special, pan seared with lobster claw and lemon thyme buerre blanc, and the award winning bistro crab cakes. She glides by explaining both are receiving rave reviews. That’s it! We vow to order halibut and crab cakes. We truly believe it, until the next server passes our table. Now it’s the ancho seared bison with tomatillo salsa, chevre cheese and chile mole, and the porcini dusted chicken on a bed of gorgonzola cream penne with rapini we're considering. This is going to be difficult.
Scanning diners at an adjacent table sharing plates of spicy tuna tartare, duck gyoza dumplings, and almond crusted brie with kiln dried cherry sauce, one thing becomes abundantly clear, we want to sample everything. Our server asks if we have any questions about the menu or this evening's special offerings. "Just one" I ask imploringly. "What should I order?"
The mythic Phoenix rising from the ashes is an apt symbol of the much touted renaissance taking place in historic Phoenixville. New eateries, pubs, brew houses, and retail venues are joining the fray to create a hip and bustling destination for the thirty-something crowd. Small towns offer a charm and character malls can't duplicate. A creative vibe. An individual flavor. Manayunk experienced it’s boon on the backs of it's restaurants. Phoenixville is doing the same, and at the heart of the migration to "restaurant row" lies the ever popular Black Lab Bistro.
For seven years, the Black Lab Bistro has been a truly unique voice on the restaurant scene. Eschewing trends while still being on the cutting edge is a fine balancing act Chef Guy Clauson has deftly mastered. “Over the years, my philosophy has remained the same, simply use the finest available ingredients to create the most flavorful dishes. The menu items are comprised of combinations of colors, textures and flavors designed to compliment one another and to appeal to the senses on many levels. The greatest compliment I receive is from self confessed "foodies". They feel compelled to tell me the menu offers so many great choices they have a hard time choosing just one.
To add to the dining experience, richly painted butternut colored walls and dark wood room dividers give way to lofty tin ceilings creating a classic "bistro" feel. French doors will allow for al fresco dining (weather permitting). Open and airy yet still cozy and intimate, it is the perfect destination for lunch with the boss, getting together with old friends or date night with that special someone.
Phoenixville may be "up and coming", however; the Black Lab Bistro has already arrived. New menu items including the pepper seared ostrich with pomegranate demi-glace, or lamb roulade stuffed with spinach, sun-dried tomato and goat cheese with curry scented pan sauce, and especially the truffle lobster mac and cheese, are must haves.
Diners are invited to bring their own wine, beer or champagne. Reservations are recommended with the exception of Friday and Saturday night when they operate on a first come first seated basis.