First Look: MAIN & VINE in Villanova

May 29th 2018


For months after hearing the first whisper of the news that an upscale, Northern California-inspired bistro was coming to Villanova, we’ve been anticipating the opening of MAIN & VINE. On May 16, the restaurant finally opened its doors, and we didn’t delay scheduling a meal and going in for a firsthand look at the beautiful space in the high-end shopping center on Lancaster Ave., just a bit West of Villanova University’s campus.

The subdued, peaceful vestibule leads to a host stand, where a friendly greeting awaits guests. The seating options are numerous in the large, open floor plan: Find a spot at the large front bar, a comfy modern chair or upholstered banquet in the adjacent lounge, a traditional 2- or 4-top in the side dining room, a more intimate seat in the restaurant’s main dining room, or a cozy stool at the dramatic pizza bar in the back.

Sleek, modern touches abound in the carefully designed interior — abstract, nature-inspired art, art deco light fixtures and rich textiles, all in an elegant muted color palette with rustic wood touches.
The food and beverage options offer plenty to explore. The by-the-bottle wine list is deep, proffering only California wines ready for uncorking. The by-the-glass list is more tightly edited, but with something for every taste from West Coast heavyweights like Stags’ Leap, Conundrum and Foppiano.

Cocktails do not disappoint: clever seasonal twists on classics, as well as house specialties, are balanced and fresh. Think: the Napa Fashioned, with bourbon, strawberry shrub, rhubarb bitters and fresh basil or the First Crush, with rosé vodka, elderflower, crushed black grapes and lime, topped with sparkling wine. Glassware and ice are on point, sure to please guests who appreciate carefully crafted drinks. A curated list of craft beers and ciders is available on draft as well as cans and bottles. A handful of mocktails are a thoughtful touch for under aged guests or anyone avoiding alcohol.

The Clarksburg Sour with bourbon, smoked lemon sour, agave and a red wine float
Under Head Chef Charles Vogt, MAIN & VINE’s food menu is expansive and well-rounded. Though the Napa-style, super thin sourdough pizzas are the kitchen’s signature, there is so much more worth trying.

Raw bar options, garden-inspired crudité, cheese and charcuterie boards and other starters like achiote chicken tostadas and red Thai curry mussels are a great way to kick off a meal, or to just enjoy a snack during happy hour.

As Northern California cuisine is all about vegetables, it’s no surprise that there are a number of stunning salads, including a gorgeous Lacinato kale variety with quinoa, pea shoots, crispy shallots, avocado, pickled radishes and cucumber and a jammy egg with spicy ginger vinaigrette and sesame seeds.

The pizzas are unlike anything else we’ve seen in these parts: The lightly charred crust is paper-thin but still delightfully chewy and able to stand up to multiple toppings. The natural fermentation lends a hint of sourdough tang, and each pie is festooned with just the right amount of sauce, cheese, veggies and meats. Presentation is unfussy, with the pizza laid out on a simple wooden cutting board or rectangular white plate. Flavors skew vegetarian, with fabulous pairings like black grape and blue cheese with local honey and hazelnuts and Kennett Square mushrooms with leeks and roasted garlic béchamel.

Entrees, like adobo rubbed flat iron steak, Pennsylvania lake trout and spring pea agnolotti are great for a heartier dinner; kids’ options include plain cheese pizza, pasta with butter and a cheeseburger. Each day of the week presents a different choice on “The Family Table,” like organic fried chicken on Tuesdays and herb roasted prime rib on Saturday. Desserts are fun with a hint of kitsch, like a banana profiterole split with housemade gelato, caramelized bananas, candied walnuts, chocolate sauce and Luxardo cherries.

Whether it’s for a full-on celebratory meal or late night pizza and glass of bubbly, stop by MAIN & VINE for an innovative, delicious take on New American cuisine: It’s a little slice of wine country right here on the Main Line. Hours of operation are Sunday through Thursday, 4 p.m.–midnight and Friday and Saturday, 4 p.m.–1 a.m. Grab a rez via OpenTable.
For months after hearing the first whisper of the news that an upscale, Northern California-inspired bistro was coming to Villanova, we’ve been anticipating the opening of MAIN & VINE. On May 16, the restaurant finally opened its doors, and we didn’t delay scheduling a meal and going in for a firsthand look at the beautiful space in the high-end shopping center on Lancaster Ave., just a bit West of Villanova University’s campus.

The subdued, peaceful vestibule leads to a host stand, where a friendly greeting awaits guests. The seating options are numerous in the large, open floor plan: Find a spot at the large front bar, a comfy modern chair or upholstered banquet in the adjacent lounge, a traditional 2- or 4-top in the side dining room, a more intimate seat in the restaurant’s main dining room, or a cozy stool at the dramatic pizza bar in the back.

Sleek, modern touches abound in the carefully designed interior — abstract, nature-inspired art, art deco light fixtures and rich textiles, all in an elegant muted color palette with rustic wood touches.
The food and beverage options offer plenty to explore. The by-the-bottle wine list is deep, proffering only California wines ready for uncorking. The by-the-glass list is more tightly edited, but with something for every taste from West Coast heavyweights like Stags’ Leap, Conundrum and Foppiano.

Cocktails do not disappoint: clever seasonal twists on classics, as well as house specialties, are balanced and fresh. Think: the Napa Fashioned, with bourbon, strawberry shrub, rhubarb bitters and fresh basil or the First Crush, with rosé vodka, elderflower, crushed black grapes and lime, topped with sparkling wine. Glassware and ice are on point, sure to please guests who appreciate carefully crafted drinks. A curated list of craft beers and ciders is available on draft as well as cans and bottles. A handful of mocktails are a thoughtful touch for under aged guests or anyone avoiding alcohol.

The Clarksburg Sour with bourbon, smoked lemon sour, agave and a red wine float
Under Head Chef Charles Vogt, MAIN & VINE’s food menu is expansive and well-rounded. Though the Napa-style, super thin sourdough pizzas are the kitchen’s signature, there is so much more worth trying.

Raw bar options, garden-inspired crudité, cheese and charcuterie boards and other starters like achiote chicken tostadas and red Thai curry mussels are a great way to kick off a meal, or to just enjoy a snack during happy hour.

As Northern California cuisine is all about vegetables, it’s no surprise that there are a number of stunning salads, including a gorgeous Lacinato kale variety with quinoa, pea shoots, crispy shallots, avocado, pickled radishes and cucumber and a jammy egg with spicy ginger vinaigrette and sesame seeds.

The pizzas are unlike anything else we’ve seen in these parts: The lightly charred crust is paper-thin but still delightfully chewy and able to stand up to multiple toppings. The natural fermentation lends a hint of sourdough tang, and each pie is festooned with just the right amount of sauce, cheese, veggies and meats. Presentation is unfussy, with the pizza laid out on a simple wooden cutting board or rectangular white plate. Flavors skew vegetarian, with fabulous pairings like black grape and blue cheese with local honey and hazelnuts and Kennett Square mushrooms with leeks and roasted garlic béchamel.

Entrees, like adobo rubbed flat iron steak, Pennsylvania lake trout and spring pea agnolotti are great for a heartier dinner; kids’ options include plain cheese pizza, pasta with butter and a cheeseburger. Each day of the week presents a different choice on “The Family Table,” like organic fried chicken on Tuesdays and herb roasted prime rib on Saturday. Desserts are fun with a hint of kitsch, like a banana profiterole split with housemade gelato, caramelized bananas, candied walnuts, chocolate sauce and Luxardo cherries.

Whether it’s for a full-on celebratory meal or late night pizza and glass of bubbly, stop by MAIN & VINE for an innovative, delicious take on New American cuisine: It’s a little slice of wine country right here on the Main Line. Hours of operation are Sunday through Thursday, 4 p.m.–midnight and Friday and Saturday, 4 p.m.–1 a.m. Grab a rez via OpenTable.