New bistro boasts Main Line fare

By Brandon Desiderio
February 1, 2012

Ella’s American Bistro, which is located in Wayne, provides a menu of enviornmentally-conscious entrees.

Ella’s American Bistro opened up on Sugartown Road in Wayne in mid-December.

Located in Devon Square Shopping Center, the upscale bistro boasts a modest menu of environmentally-conscious entrees, featuring sustainable, local and organic cheeses, vegetables and meats. The restaurant befittingly has a green and brown aesthetic, utilizing dark woods and warm greens to complement its “go green” philosophy.

The restaurant owner, Cortright Wetherill, Jr., also owns  Devon Hill BMW; Ella’s executive chef is Matt Schuler, who previously held the positions of chef and instructor for Bryn Mawr’s Viking Range Culinary Arts Center.

On my visit, my guests and I were immediately underwhelmed. As college students on sometimes severely strapped budgets, the limited menu constrained our dinner options to the price range of about $25-$30 each. One of Ella’s saving graces, however, was its competitively priced $2 bottomless sodas and iced tea – not normally something that is still seen in many restaurants, especially on the Main Line.

My first guest chose the cream of potato soup (the soup du jour) and the lobster macaroni and cheese; the second chose the southern buttermilk fried chicken as well as the soup. In addition to my more modest selections (a sirloin burger with grass-fed beef hailing from Ironstone Spring Farm in Lancaster, as well as the frisee salad special), each meal had its own unique charm. The basket of fries that were included with my burger, for instance, wasn’t a traditional basket. Instead, it was a mini frying basket. My cole slaw and ketchup were also in shot glasses, which was an interesting touch.

“Basically, it’s very Main Line-esque, meaning that there’s not a lot on the menu and it’s a little bit pricey,” Jennifer Persia, sophomore elementary and special education major, said. “The food was very good but it’s not really somewhere I would go on a college budget. Maybe on a date, possibly.”

Her words seemed to relate well to the atmosphere and patrons of Ella’s. We went on a Friday, and yet the majority of the patrons appeared to be in at least their mid-30s to mid-50s.

“I think it has some kinks to work out,” Trevor Cross, sophomore biology major, said. “But it was good  for a yuppie restaurant.”

Although Ella’s claimed a casual dress code, the majority of its patrons were in semi-formal attire, perhaps echoing Radnor Township’s higher income bracket residents.

Overall, the atmosphere of the restaurant is very relaxing, with soft lighting and plush booths and chairs to keep you comfortable and you won’t be waiting long for your meal to arrive. My party’s meals arrived in little to no time at all, even despite the busy nature of the night. Our appetizers were out almost instantaneously and shortly thereafter, the main course followed suit.

From a college student’s perspective, however, the restaurant is very limiting in its offerings and it’s not the place to go if you’re looking for a fun, adventurous night out. As the “American” bit in its name implies, the menu  largely consists  of meats, cheeses and fried goods that have become the cornerstone of American cusine.

For young professionals or maturer couples, though, Ella’s fits the bill. It’s relaxing, has a menu which is shy of anything too exotic or outwardly alien, and has a full bar – including a $450 bottle of Cristal if you’re so choosing.

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Brandon Desiderio

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