Taste & Sea

Taste & Sea’s superb menu stresses seafood first, then steak

Pam GeorgeCulture, Headlines

Taste & Sea

A new Glen Mills restaurant, Taste & Sea, will offer, from left, lobster risotto, seared tuna and deconstructed Beef Wellington.

Christina “Chrissy” Villare-Talbot and her husband, John, shared the dream of owning a restaurant together.

Most would agree that John has the pedigree for it. 

A graduate of The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College, he’d worked at Creed’s Seafood & Steaks in King of Prussia since 2000, when he was hired as a sous chef. He later became executive chef and a partner.

Unfortunately, the couple couldn’t find the ideal location. 

“We didn’t want a spot at the end of a strip mall,” Chrissy noted. 

They pictured an 80- to 90-seat restaurant, such as the former Blue Pear Bistro next to Dilworthtown Inn. Consequently, the couple passed on the former Pescatore’s Italian Restaurant in Glen Mills. 

Not only does it anchor a strip mall, but the 6,500-square-foot space has  146 seats.

“It was just not our vision,” Chrissy acknowledged.

But after COVID-19, when they began looking in earnest, they viewed the location with fresh eyes.

“It had so much potential,” she said. “It just works.”

And now guests can “see” for themselves. Taste & Sea, located at 1810 Wilmington Pike (Route 202), will hold a grand opening April 8. 

However, the restaurant has been in a soft-opening phase, and a recent visit demonstrated that the new establishment is off to a solid start.

taste & sea

Chrissy and John Villare-Talbot with their daughters.

Taste-y transformation

If I’d dined at Pescatore’s, I don’t remember it. 

But I do recall Mr. T.’s. The popular watering hole touted its ribs but was better known for the 1980s singles scene. After a divorce, my brother warmed more than a few barstools in the lounge.

Even if you’ve never been to the family-owned Pescatore’s, an offshoot of Enzo’s, you can tell it was once an Italian eatery by the arches that still march across one dining room. Formerly faux-finished to resemble Roman stone, they’re now painted Aegean blue, as are the walls.

For the most part, it’s an open layout with a banquet and overflow area to the left of the entrance, which can hold up to 80 guests. The bar is in front, and the main dining room, which has an elevated seating area, is to the right. 

A glass-enclosed section for chef’s tasting events and parties of up to 12 is new to the mix.

Old friends, new partners

The executive chef, however, isn’t John Talbot, who was walking around the dining room in a suit and tie during my visit. It’s Charles “Charlie” Moronski. 

If the name sounds familiar, you may have dined at a SoDel Concepts beach restaurant. Before joining the Taste & Sea team, he was executive chef at Crust & Craft near Midway area between Lewes and Rehoboth.

Moronski and Talbot met when Moronski joined Creeds as a sous chef in 2012; he left to join SoDel in 2017. 

“John loved him and was upset when Charlie left to go to Delaware,” Chrissy said. “But they stayed friends. When we vacationed in Lewes, we would always meet up with Charlie and have dinner. We always knew we wanted him.”

Moronski, however, had just purchased a home in Georgetown.

“I put a lot of thought into it,” he said of the move. 

Talbot doesn’t take no for an answer, his wife said. A partnership in the business sweetened the deal.


Classics with a twist

Moronski’s decision pulled him back into the fine dining arena. 

With entrees ranging from $41 for chicken to $85 for a 20-ounce dry-aged Kansas City strip, this is elevated cuisine.

On all the white-linen tables, beige napkins are folded into crisp triangles. Staff come around with tongs to place freshly baked bread on your plate, and servers wear polished uniforms.

Taste & Sea is billed as a seafood restaurant first, followed by steaks and libations. That’s because Talbot — who is still a partner in Creed’s — felt there weren’t enough area restaurants that featured fish and shellfish. 

As a result, most of the entrees are seafood, although you’ll also find lamb, chicken and pork. Steaks have a dedicated section.

Appetizers include raw oysters, crudo and crab claw cocktails, but my eye was drawn to the deconstructed filet mignon Wellington ($17). 

Instead of being tucked inside the puff pastry, the meat and wild mushroom duxelles preened on top of the golden disc. The tenderloin was perfectly seared yet still rosy in the middle.

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Speaking of Wellington, Moronski said the Scottish salmon Wellington ($35) has been a hit thus far. Ingredients also include prosciutto, sauteed spinach and mornay sauce.

If you can’t decide between surf and turf, get both—sliced filet mignon dressed with a chianti demi-glace and served with half of a lobster tail, bathed in butter ($37).

The dish comes with asparagus and a crock of scalloped potatoes.

I went with venison Diane, yet another modern take on the traditional ($41). The brandy-mushroom cream sauce with mustard was so luscious that I wanted to lick the plate.

I only wish I’d had room for the affagato ($13) or Madagascar vanilla bean crème brulee with fresh raspberries ($12).

The deity in the details

I appreciate that you can find the full menu on the website, including desserts, espresso martinis and wines.

The service was equally thoughtful, and the timing of our dishes was perfect, although we would have forgiven a new staff for any lag time.

You can tell that the partners give a lot of thought to every detail, including the name.

“I was praying one night about what we were going to name the restaurant, and God led me to Psalm 34,” Chrissy explained.

Versus seven and eight read: “O taste and see that the LORD is good; happy are those who take refuge in him.”

“It just jumped off the page,” she recalled.

The couple believe God’s hand has guided them throughout the process, from the final site selection to the name to Moronski’s move to the contractors and lawyers who’ve helped them along the way.

Some things are just meant to be. And Greater Wilmington diners will be glad of it.


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