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Philly Homegrown Profile: Charcoal BYOB

The Garden Salad at Charcoal BYOB in Yardley, PA is like no other garden salad you've ever had before. Complete with ramps, fiddleheads, beets and an earl grey 'soil' this salad screams spring. (Photos courtesy: D.Van Wert for GPTMC).

From the moment you walk up the stairs and into the dining room at Charcoal BYOB, prepare to be impressed. From the near perfect view of the Delaware River to the thoughtful seasonal menu, the innovative chef-brother team behind this 70-seat BYO in Yardley, PA does not disappoint.

Anton “Tony” Plescha began Charcoal as a family-run diner back in 1995, serving up a variety of diner favorites like turkey clubs and breakfast specials. In 2006, after a series of floods forced the diner to close, the Plescha family rebuilt the restaurant and hoisted it on stilts, high above potential flood waters. In 2009, Charcoal was redeveloped from the much beloved diner into an avant-garde dining experience by Tony’s sons, Mark and Eric Plescha.

Today, Charcoal is an outstanding example of seasonal ingredients being morphed into shear deliciousness through innovate technique. The brothers are fans of their immersion circulator (they recently taught a Sous Vide class at COOK), using it to craft dishes like their 72-Hour Short Rib – which we aren’t afraid to say, just might be the best short ribs in the entire Philadelphia region.

Other seasonal menu standouts include the Fried Snails, served on a bed of frisee with pea puree and bacon. And, for any vegetable lover out there the Charcoal Garden Salad is not to be missed – a delectable combination of pickled ramps, fennel, fiddleheads, roasted beets and an earl-grey ’soil’. That soil, by the way, was no joke. While playful and fun, it also amplified the earthiness of the beets and added an additional crunch and depth to the entire dish. The Lancaster Chicken Breast with cauliflower and morel mushrooms had an expertly crisp skin while the meat was still juicy and tender (a welcomed product of the immersion circulator we assume).

The creativity doesn’t stop with the savory courses. From playful combinations like the Parsnip Panna Cotta to the absolute decadence of the Chocolate Ganache, these desserts scream with originality. We would also be remiss if we didn’t mention that their Banana Pudding, with a hint of kaffir lime and crumbled chocolate chip cookie, incited a school girl-like giggle upon first bite.

Charcoal’s menu changes regularly and is inspired by the products grown at local farms near the restaurant. Aside from their standard menu, you can also opt for a 5 or 10-course tasting menu ($55 – $120) but must make reservations in advance. And, while you might not always be able to enjoy the dishes we mentioned above due to seasonality, whatever the brothers-Plescha are serving up, we promise, will be a treat for your palate.

And, if you’re traveling from outside Bucks County to feast at Charcoal, why not make a day of it? Our good friends at VisitPhilly.com have some great suggestions on how you can spend an action-packed day in the countryside.

Charcoal BYOB
11 South Delaware Ave
Yardley, Pa 19067
215.493.6394
www.charcoalbyob.com

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