“Write Bite” The George Street Culinary Experience Part II

Colosseo’s next -door neighbor is Maewyn’s Irish Pub and Restaurant. Maewyn’s opened in the former Harp & Fiddle space on February 17th of this year. Maewyn’s is owned by Heritage Hills’ Matt DeRose.  Native York Countian Steve Hoke was hired to manage Maewyn’s after a successful management career in Las Vegas. Hoke said “It’s great to be in downtown York…to be back here and managing a restaurant is very exciting.”

Maewyn’s menu, developed by Heritage Hills Executive Chef Chip Conard, is a mix of traditional Irish dishes and casual American Favorites.  Hoke said that the Fish & Chips, with its traditional Irish presentation, is far and away Maewyn’s most popular entrée.  The raw bar is open on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights and features a selection of Chesapeake Bay oysters priced at $1.50 each.

Upon securing the restaurant space, Maewyn’s changed up the layout of the interior to offer patrons a more comfortable and relaxed atmosphere. Dining space was re-worked and three comfy couch areas were added with the goal of creating “a place to come and relax and feel at home” said Hoke.

This is sure to be a hot spot this summer as Hoke has been working diligently on planning Maewyn’s Summer Concert Series. The Irish sensation “Tartan Terrors” kicked off the series on May 1st in Maewyn’s Abbey.  An impressive list of talent is already lined up including the Steven Courtney Band, the Mark DeRose Duo, Ryan Peters, and Ryne McCormick. Traditional Irish Sessions are also in the works for Summer at Maewyn’s. Hoke is working to bring female acts together for a Ladies Night in the Abbey as well. Patio dining at Maewyn’s is up and running for the summer season.

The last, and arguably best stop on this culinary tour of George Street is The Left Bank. Chef David Albright purchased The Left Bank twelve years ago on a shoestring budget after paying his dues in the kitchens of area country clubs. Albright’s fresh, local, New American cuisine coupled with the cosmopolitan feel of the dining space and bar have rendered The Left Bank a downtown icon. Albright tells me he’s never spent a dime on advertising in twelve years and come to think of it, I’ve never seen an ad or a billboard.

Albright relies solely on word of mouth referrals to bring in new business. “The food is what really keeps us consistent” said Albright. His love of food and all things culinary is apparent as he becomes more and more animated while sharing about his roof-top garden, the freshly caught Hawaiian fish he has flown in from the Honolulu Fish Company and his recent trip to the emerging culinary mecca of New Orleans.

Albright says that he’s been passionate about cooking since he was a child. He is a graduate of the College of Culinary Arts at Johnson & Wales University in Rhode Island. Albright and his staff prepare every morsel of food on the premises. Stocks, soups, rolls, sauces, potato chips and pastries are created behind the glass at the rear of the restaurant. The seasonally rotating menu features hand cut fillets and fish prepared to perfection while showcasing local ingredients at the peak of freshness. The Left Bank is currently offering an 8 ounce fillet with spinach, vidalia and gorgonzola mash potato and spring vegetable jus. The Jumbo Lump Crab Cake is among the restaurant’s most sought after dishes. It is currently being paired with sunchoke risotto, prosciutto wrapped asparagus & cucumber dill sauce.

Albright employs two pastry chefs and doesn’t hesitate to admit that he spends more money on staff labor than he spends on his high quality ingredients.  He says that staff loyalty plays a “huge” role in the long-term success of his culinary enterprise. He’s had minimal staff turnover in his twelve years and counting.

Maitre ‘d Scott Kile manages the front end of the restaurant along with Albright’s wife Julie. Dagmar Snowadzky heads up Service Etiquette at The Left Bank.  Top quality service is the name of the game here. Albright takes his cues from eateries in New York City, Philadelphia and Vegas.

There are truly too many amazing dishes to list here, but the Grilled Bruschetta Caesar Salad, the Flash Fried Calamari and the Margarita Shrimp and Crab Martini are among my favorites. About 6,000 of the Calamari appetizers were served to patrons in 2009.

Albright and his staff are committed to artistic presentation of the food prepared at The Left Bank. If you order cheesecake, you wont find the classic triangular wedge here. Food quality, presentation and service are at the top of Albright’s priority list

Fans of The Left Bank and York’s Central Market eagerly await opening of The Left Bank market stand. Slated to open in September of this year, the location will be a quick service retail location offering soups, panini and other lunch fare. The Left Bank is cutting edge York City. Albright has a cookbook in the works and is exploring the potential for retail sales of his luscious sauces and dressings.  He intends to continue to provide “that extra service that adds to the downtown experience”.

Visiting each of the restaurants along George Street’s “Restaurant Row” would make for a great summer time To Do List in downtown York. These five restaurants are but a few of the culinary gems in the center of our city. How I look forward to more “Write Bite” opportunities to the North, South, East and West.


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