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Dettera’s Less-is-More Philosophy Works Wonders

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Jeffrey Power’s roasted cauliflower steak could make you stop craving meat—well, almost. Nestled in a pool of saffron-laced cream, it was the centerpiece of our Dettera experience. Caramelized, crisp and coupled with a handful of farro and candied micro-carrots, it perfectly dis-played the executive chef’s considerable skill with a short list of simple ingredients. 

While Dettera isn’t a vegetarian restaurant, Power does have the utmost respect for ingredients. He uses seasonal produce only, follows migratory patterns of seafood along the East Coast, and buys all-natural meats without growth hormones or antibiotics. As a result, his food program goes well beyond simply establishing relationships with local farmers.

On a sleepy Tuesday night, we trekked to Ambler to put his “less is more” philosophy to the test. Vibrant blue lights pin-pointed the location. Its interior was equally stimulating, with splashes of moody maroon accented with Cubist paintings and grounded by wooden floors and beams. 

Power’s classically French, paper-thin tuna tartare came with a poached, sous-vided egg, and his summery spin on Rome Point oysters were accented by an icy granita scoop made with Kaffir lime and black pepper. But it’s Dettera’s hand-cut pastas that have garnered the most buzz. 

The ricotta cavatelli, the arugula fettuccine and the sweet-potato ravioli feature such novel additions as toasted pistachios, hedgehog mushrooms, and hearth-roasted tomatoes, to name a few. Al-dente ribbons laden with decadent braised duck, pancetta and Parmesan compelled us to break the night’s no-meat rule. The extensive wine list, seasonal cocktails and amazing desserts further elevate the experience.

129 E. Butler Ave., Ambler, (215) 643-0111.

Hand-cut sweet-potato ravioli with pork ragout and pistachios//photo by tessa maria images

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