The Bottom Line
- Dramatic, swish setting in restored Methodist Church
- Down-home Southern-inspired hospitality
- Great New Orleans-inspired seafood - huge portions
- Check out the wonderfully eccentric mural on the back wall
- Right in downtown New Hope, steps from shops and B&Bs
- It's a high-end option - not for budget-minded dining
- Might conjure up any bad memories you have of church services as a kid?
- Some of the portions are simply obscene - this is gut-busting food
- In downtown New Hope, steps from countless shops and a few inns, and a short walk from Lambertville, NJ
- 15 S. Main St., 215-862-7044
- Open daily for lunch and dinner
- Dinner entrees range from about $20 to $38
Guide Review - Marsha Brown Creole Kitchen, in New Hope, PA
It's hard to miss the 1874 stone church in downtown New Hope that houses Marsha Brown Creole Kitchen , a dramatic edifice that once contained New Hope Methodist Church. In 2003 restaurateur Brown transformed the decommissioned church into a first-rate eatery specializing in food from her native New Orleans. She deftly utilized the building's Palladian stained-glass windows, ornate plaster moldings, and soaring pitched ceilings in the building's restoration and transformation. And most notably, she commissioned a local Russian artist, Valeriy Belenikin, to fill the back wall where the altar had once been with an emotional, eye-popping 50-foot-tall mural called Redemption.
With such a mesmerizing setting, you could be forgiven for guessing that the food here plays second fiddle, but in fact, the kitchen turns out consistently tasty, well-seasoned New Orleans-inspired food, some of it quite traditional (gumbo ya ya with andouille sausage, crab cakes remoulade, sauteed catfish with dirty rice), but most of it jazzed up with contemporary flourishes. Highlights include tender braised brisket served with a piquant Creole sauce and blue-cheese grits; and pan-seared caramelized scallops and lobster tail over orange rice. Imaginative appetizers include cracked-pepper tuna sashimi with buckwheat soba noodles, and seared blackened lamb medallions with a mango chutney dip.
The family-style sides shouldn't be overlooked - try spicy mashed sweet potatoes topped with pecan-praline sauce, whipped Cajun cauliflower, or asparagus with peach vinaigrette. Among desserts, the "Granmere" comfort custard - from an old family recipe - works nicely. But it's hard to think about more food after such filling dinners. Service is genial and fun, and the restaurant works succeeds on most every level.