With spring upon us and summer on the way, 333 Belrose’s bucolic surroundings and tastefully artsy interior — still fancy enough for people who enjoy a nice pricey bottle of wine — is the perfect backdrop for the fun California-inspired menu, which changes every few weeks on the whim of chef Carlo deMarco and whatever fresh ingredients happen to inspire him.
It doesn’t hurt that Tuesday and Thursday are half-price wine nights at this Radnor restaurant.
Speaking of cocktails, there is some serious mojo working behind the bar at Belrose. We recommend the Dark and Stormy ($9), a simple but effective concoction of ginger beer and dark rum.
Every dish we sampled went well above and beyond expectations from beginning to end. Appetizers such as the pork carnitas tacos ($12) alone made us glad we made the trip, with its layers of bright ingredients and textures from the guacamole to the pickled red onions. The crispy salt and pepper calamari ($13) had the added bonus of pumpkin-seed aoli and fried jalapeño chips to make it stand out. The togaishi seared ahi tuna ($12) was a lovely splash of Asian flavors.
Soups and salads were a delight too. It’s easy to see why Carlo’s black bean soup ($7.50) is a perennial favorite as it was note perfect, pleasantly spicy with pico de gallo and lime cream rounding it out. The grilled octopus and arugula salad ($14) contained some of the best octopus we’ve had anywhere, and the rest of the salad perfectly supported it.
The entrées were nothing short of spectacular. The jumbo lump crab cakes ($32) were superb. The pan-seared golden tile fish ($31) was nice and flaky-enough of a treat on its own, but it dove further into food nirvana by showing up with Mexican steer corn and red pepper chili sauce. We made a mental note that when we go back, our entire meal will be nothing but pork tacos and four helpings of Mexican street corn. The Applewood smoked pork chop ($27) was another favorite among us, with steaming-hot brown sugar baked beans and bacon-infused collard greens.
Desserts at 333 Belrose were cruelly decadent. Peanut butter oreo pie ($8) — please stop. You’re killing us. We want to leave now. Bread pudding with whiskey sauce ($8) — this is not fair. Could not resist. Damn!
This isn’t the first time we’ve been super-impressed by a restaurant far flung from Center City. But if 333 Belrose is indicative of the kind of talent that sets up shop outside the city, we could learn to love the suburbs.