Four Dogs’ spicy tuna//Photo by Tessa Marie Images.
In the sleepy historic village of Marshallton—halfway between West Chester and Coatesville—sits a charming converted stable with a hand-painted sign that bears four bloodhounds. Here, owner David Cox chats with patrons, directs servers, and runs in and out of the kitchen. I even observed him straighten a toppled flowerpot on the patio.
Four Dogs Tavern is definitely his pup—though it’s not so young anymore. The rustic-casual establishment next door to Cox’s more formal Marshalton Inn is well known for its juicy burgers, signature flatbreads and indulgent fondues. In the seven years he’s been in charge, Cox has elevated the American cuisine with a certain self-proclaimed French-brasserie elegance. Wild Burgundy snails in garlic butter, pommes frites with garlic aioli, and tender, artfully presented charred octopus highlight the appetizer selection. Local cheese flights are diverse and come with seasonal accouterments.
The creamy celadon-colored gazpacho is made with almonds, brioche, green grapes and cucumbers. It came garnished with shrimp, tomatoes concassé and a playful drizzle of smoked paprika oil. The roasted beet tartare was diced and shaped with precision into tangy bits of crisp crimson, topped with a complementary blend of smoked trout, horseradish and sour cream. One presentation well worth lingering over: a thick, smoky-rich slice of slow-cooked pork belly atop spiced honeydew melon with a mustard emulsion.
Incorporating local purveyors into his creations, Cox has something for everyone—including well-behaved dogs on the tavern’s patio, weather permitting.
1300 W. Strasburg Road, West Chester, (610) 692-4367.