Intimate yet energized, and set amid the busy nexus of Conshohocken, Imbibe Food and Drink is the borough’s newest culinary entrant. The restaurant, helmed by talented chef Sean Weinberg, who also operates Restaurant Alba in Malvern and Biga Pizza + Beer in Bryn Mawr, took over the space formerly occupied by Stella Blu.
The cozy, 42-seat, rectangular space situated on a busy corner, has been lightened-up with soothing two-tone gray painted walls and tasteful touches that reflect what Weinberg calls “a northern California bistro vibe.” By day, light filters in through large paned windows. At night, a twinkling stream of cars crossing the busy Fayette Street Bridge is a focal point.
Weinberg’s director of operations, Steve Fulmer, runs the kitchen, producing an abbreviated menu of items meant for splitting. Among them are tempting toasts topped with cremini mushrooms, smoked trout or fresh tomato and basil; and lamb meatballs atop ricotta pancakes slathered in a vivid cilantro green goddess dressing. Calabrian-inspired crispy pork belly gets lacquered with a tamarind glaze.
Photo by Amanda Z Chase.
Just as he imparts at his other two restaurants, Weinberg continually focuses on his love for Italy. At Imbibe he delves into homemade pastas, such as zucchini and fried squash blossom garganelli studded with capers, and a filling rigatoni gets ladled with a rich chicken and sage ragu. Four main plates round out the menu, including a fresh late-spring-inspired Carolina trout with roasted garlic sunchoke puree. The black bean glazed short rib spotlights the Eastern hemisphere’s umami flavorings that also emanate from its miso-cauliflower puree.
“We want this restaurant to be a mix between Alba and Biga, meeting somewhere in the middle,” says Weinberg. “Those two places are more Italian-driven, whereas this one is like someplace you’d find if you were visiting San Francisco—Italian in its sou.”
With a name like Imbibe, it’s only natural for the well-stocked 12-stool bar to carry sensible selections of wines, beers and cocktails. Weinberg relies on the expertise from his beverage manager, Sam Glass, previously of Redstone American Grill, who goes deep into his viniferous offerings of red, white, pink and sparkling wines. Beers go from usual suspects (Sly Fox Pikeland Pils) to on-the-fringe ales (Wicked Weed Pernicious IPA). Signature cocktails like his lime and grapefruit-dashed Hemingway Daiquiri, and the piquant, gin-laced Juniper Bloom, are sunny seasonal refreshers.
This casual and approachable bistro is just what the neighborhood has been waiting for.
101 Ford St., West Conshohocken, (484) 368-3330.