Ben Thomas, who got to Philly six years ago through a job at Le Bec-Fin, is about two months from opening Restaurant Cerise in the former Main Line Grill/Brgr Joint space at 1011 W. Lancaster Ave. in Bryn Mawr.
Thomas, 32, working with his Villanova-raised wife, Elena, envisions Cerise as a contemporary European BYOB with dishes from France on down to Spain and the Mediterranean. But true to their roots - "not that fusion confusion."
They are going the prix-fixe route Wednesday to Sunday: four courses with five or six options for each for $35 on weeknights and $45 on weekends. The weekend brunch will be European-style brunch - a self-service salad (pates, terrines, cheese), followed by two set courses (one breakfast-y, like shirred eggs, and the next more on the lines of lunch/dinner).
Thomas was born in Alabama but lived in Germany as a lad. At 13, he and his family moved south of Washington. After William & Mary, he went to L'Academie de Cuisine and turned up in D.C. working for the Michelin-starred Gerard Pangaud. After a move to Philly, he landed at Le Bec-Fin and then at Callahan Catering and later at Lacroix at the Rittenhouse.