Signature Selection
Stunning style meets world-class cuisine at Autograph Brasserie in Wayne
by Jenny Graham

Guests know they are about to experience something truly unique from the second they set foot inside Autograph Brasserie.

This stunning restaurant, located within Wayne’s Eagle Village Shops, has been making deserved headlines since it began serving patrons in early May. The space underwent a full year of renovations prior to opening its doors in the building that formerly housed Main Line culinary institutions such as Peppercorn, georges’ and Le Mas Perrier.

Autograph is the brainchild of renowned restaurateur Marty Grims, the man behind some of the area’s most iconic eateries, including Moshulu, the new American restaurant ship along the Delaware Waterfront in Philadelphia, and White Dog Cafe, which has locations in Wayne, Haverford and West Philadelphia.

The team at Autograph includes executive chef/partner Ralph P. Fernandez, regional director/partner Tamas Szene, general manager Christian Leo, chef de cuisine Dan Gervasi and pastry chef Colleen Winston. Each individual contributes fully to the successful operation of this new culinary hot spot.

The décor is eclectic and elegant, featuring walls studded with portraits of music and pop-culture icons from eras past and present. Brought to life by Barbara Balongue of Balongue Design and built by David Semerjian of David Semerjian Builders, the space features a blend of natural and glowing interior light, a one-of-a-kind brass instrument chandelier in the bar, and more than 550 album covers lining the walls in the Lounge.

Behind the hostess desk is an expansive and pristine wall featuring gold lettering that truly gives the definition of “autograph,” a word whose many meanings—“something written or made with one’s own hand,” for one—reflect directly on the uniqueness and flair of not only the restaurant’s housemade cuisine but also the inimitable experience the restaurant provides.

As with any restaurant worth its salt, the true stars of Autograph are the creations crafted by its kitchen staff. Autograph takes guests on a culinary journey of popular American dishes, with inspiration taken from the cuisines of France, Italy and Spain.

The journey begins with a host of savory appetizers to whet the appetite and intrigue the palate. For brunch, lunch or dinner, options include chilled white gazpacho, accented by Marcona almonds, grapes and English cucumber; Prince Edward Island mussels, served in a broth of roasted garlic, saffron, and Pernod; and a warm goat cheese tart, highlighted by flavors including caramelized onion, wild mushroom, chive and 30-year aged balsamic vinaigrette.

Exclusively dinnertime indulgences include selections from the raw bar—steak or salmon tartare, or a chilled Meyer lemon crab salad, served with Romesco sauce, cilantro herb salad and avocado. One also can’t go wrong with one of the many “toasts” on the menu. Options include truffle wild mushrooms with whipped fresh ricotta; goat cheese with honey balsamic fig jam; and lump crab with apple, avocado, fennel and citrus crème fraiche.

Farm-fresh salads are available all day as well. These include the Catalan Caesar salad, a mix of grilled romaine hearts, spicy chorizo sausage, shaved Manchego cheese and Caesar dressing, as well as the warm duck confit salad which features baby spinach, frisee, fingerling potatoes, Marcona almonds and goat cheese tossed in a sun-dried cherry vinaigrette.

The entrées, of course, truly shine. Winning brunch options include everything from a modern take on a Sunday afternoon classic—eggs Benedict, served with chorizo, grilled shrimp and chive-vermouth Hollandaise—to sweet lemon ricotta pancakes to hearty sandwiches such as the short rib panini, served with long hots and sharp provolone, and the half-pound prime steak burger. This hearty treat comes topped with cheddar, tomatoes, caramelized onions and Thousand Island dressing. Or, enjoy the brunch prix fixe option, which includes a toast, plus a side salad and soup.

The lunch menu includes a number of sandwiches available at brunch, plus entrées such as tagliatelle with roasted garlic broccolini; roasted wild mushrooms with red quinoa, farro and wheat berries; and steak frites, featuring char-grilled, hand-sliced filet mignon accompanied by hand-cut garlic parsley fries.

Then, of course, there is the main event: dinner. One remarkable option is a whole roasted chicken, served with Madeira wine and sage jus. The heritage pork tenderloin is equally sensational. Featuring royal trumpet mushrooms and bacon onion jam, this dish comes together beautifully in a balsamic and pistachio brown-butter emulsion.

Another is the rainbow trout, served in a means that accents the fresh flavors of the fish, with avocado, cilantro and red onion tomato salad adding brightness to the dish. Scottish salmon is made savory with a combination of melted leeks and fennel and a bouillabaisse emulsion.

There is also a succulent array of freshly sourced meats to dive into. Selected from the foremost, first-rate farms and ranches in the United States, these to-die-for dishes include the 8-ounce center cut filet mignon, sourced from Omaha, Neb.; 14-ounce 1855 Prime New York Strip and 14-ounce dry-aged Angus ribeye from Greeley, Colo.; and Harissa-grilled boneless lamb loin from Australia.

Anything from the dessert menu provides a sumptuous end to a meal at Autograph. The sundae’s simple name belies the complicated, rich and sweet flavors captured in the dish. A luxurious composition of dulce de leche ice cream, chocolate and blondie brownies, peanut butter cookie, gelato, milk chocolate pretzel bark, candied peanuts and crème Chantilly, the sundae is a truly stately treat. Other luxe options include the Meyer lemon crème brulee, hazelnut budino and warm Valrhona chocolate peanut butter fondant cake with Tahitian vanilla ice cream and English Devonshire cream.

This Main Line brasserie, as the restaurant’s name suggests, truly puts its autograph on everything it does, from décor to ambiance to cuisine.

In Grims’ words, “Every one of our chefs, servers, bartenders and staff will leave their personal signature or autograph throughout the guest’s dining experience.”

Autograph Brasserie
Eagle Village Shops
503 W. Lancaster Ave.
Wayne, PA 19087

Photograph by Christie Green Photography