It was the menu—not quite like anything I’ve seen before on the Main Line—that sparked my urgency to dine at Peppercorn, the recent reinvention of Georges’ in Wayne. Among the items that grabbed my attention: the pretzel-crusted rainbow trout, alongside eccentric choices like Spanish octopus with cilantro oil, and brown-buttered cranberry tortelloni.
Karen and Herb Lotman reintroduced Peppercorn in early September—this time without Georges Perrier, who reigned over the place for 12 years. They wisely enlisted the help of restaurant-management virtuoso Aaron Kavulich and David Murray, a mod-American chef with a sharp skill set and a gregarious personality.
The rustic bar area has a beamed ceiling, wooden communal table and fireplace. The dining room, meanwhile, is dressed in luxurious patterned fabrics and mirrored accents, while the seasonal garden room boasts full-length windows.
But it’s the subtle creativity of the New American cuisine that defines Peppercorn’s impressive evolution. Less confined to classic formulas, it tiptoes into more imaginative realms with local ingredients and an ever-changing global slant. I fully expect Murray’s fried chicken thighs appetizer—sandwiched between petite pumpkin waffles with shishito peppers—to be imitated nationwide. As for his 18-ounce Australian lamb shank with mint spaetzle and huckleberry lamb jus, let’s just say you’ll be licking your fingers clean. And I couldn’t get enough of the fried Brussels sprout leaves, cleverly paired with bacon bits and mustard-cider dressing.
Drinking at the new Peppercorn continues to be good fun. There’s a namesake pepper-infused tequila margarita that’s dangerously delicious. Dessert, too, offers stimulating quirks—like a perfect sphere of crystalline, caramelized sugar that unleashes a decadent tsunami of crème brûlée custard when broken. Served with a shot of rich chocolate milk, the chocolate-hazelnut Neapolitan showcases the chef’s aptitude with pastry, yet also with a whiff of childlike whimsy.
503 W. Lancaster Ave., Wayne, (610) 964-2588, peppercornmainline.com.