Ted Iwachiw could open a restaurant pretty much where he chooses. He cooked at Striped Bass in Philadelphia under executive chef Alison Barshak. He survived the scrutiny of legendary New Orleans restaurateur Ella Brennan. He opened two restaurants at the Atlantis luxury resort on Paradise Island in the Bahamas.
“It was all very exciting,“ says the 37-year-old chef. But when he and his wife were expecting their first child, they settled in the Burlington County town of Marlton, not far from Medford, where he had grown up. “I guess every chef dreams of having his own place. I decided if I was going to do it, it might as well be on my own turf.”
Ted’s on Main, his charming, 50-seat café, reflects his travels. The narrow dining room evokes a warm New Orleans elegance with crisp white linens, walls the color of butternut squash, wrought-iron chandeliers, and artwork, such as a large and lively print of Bourbon Street.
Much of Iwachiw’s early career was logged in South Jersey restaurants, including the Washington Inn in Cape May, from which he brings his terrific clam chowder, garnished with delightfully crisp clam fritters. Southern influences were deftly handled in the barbecued shrimp with smoked pineapple and mango salsa, and the crispy, cornmeal-breaded fried green tomatoes with crawfish remoulade. Salads exhibited care—one with fresh beets and cranberry goat cheese on top of house blend greens with a citrus vinaigrette, another with a lovely mix of greens, cucumber ribbons and crunchy zucchini breaded and fried into croutons in a creamy herb dressing.
His entrées are well-conceived and well-rounded. Perhaps the best examples were pan-seared Barnegat Light sea scallops, served over butternut squash risotto with a roasted lemon beurre blanc, and a jumbo lump crab-cake, served over a crispy potato pancake, with a zesty citrus ginger butter sauce. We loved the hash of onion, peppers, and Yukon gold and sweet potatoes with the smoky, barbecued pork chop, served over a smoked apple compote. Jerk chicken, on the other hand, was dry and almost bland.
Desserts are nothing to cheer about. The one sure bet is Chocolate Passion—warm chocolate cake with an oozing Belgian chocolate center and a snappingly fresh raspberry sauce.—MAUREEN FITZGERALDClick here to leave a comment