More than a year and a half after getting the keys to the Main Line space that formerly housed Le Mas Perrier, georges', and Peppercorn, restaurateur Marty Grims has opened Autograph Brasserie (503 W. Lancaster Ave., Wayne, 610-964-2588).
Grims says he is playing with the word autograph figuratively and literally - celebrating people who have left their signature on American pop culture while chef/partner Ralph Fernandez's menu draws on culinary signatures of France, Italy, and Spain. It's equal parts contemporary American and steakhouse selling Midwest beef.
Dinner entrees range from $19 for an omelet or burger to $69 for an 18-ounce dry-age Angus Kansas City New York Strip with two side dishes.
Like Grims' two Main Line outposts of the White Dog Cafe, Autograph feels like a Main Line restaurant, with its made-to-look-easy elegance and upmarket price tags. Grims knows the area. He was in his 20s in 1987 when he and then-partner Jean-Francois Taquet opened the swish Passerelle in Radnor; for more than a decade, he had Du Jour Market in Haverford. (Autograph's pastry chef, Colleen Winston, worked at Passerelle. Fernandez worked at the Moshulu.)
David Semerjian Builders and Balongue Design's work can be noticed immediately in Autograph's lounge, which still has its vaulted ceiling. In keeping with Grims' "autograph" theme, the lounge walls are lined by more than 550 album covers from the 1950s to the '80s. Each album cover represents the musician’s artistic autograph.
The bar has been moved from a back wall to the center of the room, where it is topped by an eye-popping chandelier made of brass musical instruments. There's no longer an open kitchen. Eight beers are on tap. Beverage manager Len Boris offers a dozen $12 and $13 cocktails. The wine list is growing from about 150 labels.
Also in keeping to theme, numbered photos of stars and musicians are hung throughout the foyer - each with a photographer’s signature. Hundreds of autographed pictures of politicians, actors, actresses, models, and musicians - mainly from long ago - fill the walls. It's like a Johnny Carson reunion.
Right off the foyer is a section of enclosed booths, conducive to people-watching, in a section called the Boulevard. That leads out to the dining room that you may recall resembles a sun room. Now known the Sycamore Room, it has a large artificial tree below a lattice ceiling with gold petal light fixtures. The walls have shiny B&W images of Hollywood starlets with banquettes on each side.
The Club Room, always the more formal room, now has a caramel glass lit bar at one end and a gas fireplace at the other. The room is lined with paisley banquettes and leather chairs surrounded by dark woodwork. Three large round tables with blue high-back chairs are in the center.
It's open for weekday lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; weekend brunch from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; and dinner 5 to 10 p.m. Monday to Thursday, till 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 5 to 9 p.m. Sunday.