Historic Kennett Square PA may be known as the Mushroom Capital of the World, but it also has amazing food at Lily Asian Cuisine in the heart of the Square.
Last month I was in Maryland, visiting family and friends. I go back every summer, as a last hurrah before the insanity of football season kicks into full swing. Reilly asked if I would make a road trip to Pennsylvania, to do some analytics research for one of his companies. I had no plans for Saturday, so we made it a day trip.
Our first stop was York, and next was New Holland. Philadelphia is only about an hour from New Holland, so my plan was to drive to Philly for lunch, and then head back home. I had a great lunch at Sabrina’s Café in Philly with Kara and Nadine, and my pictures weren’t so great. Besides, I knew my parents would enjoy the food.
New Holland is in the heart of Amish country, a beautiful area of Pennsylvania with farmland as far as the eye can see and beautiful views. We saw at least a dozen roadside produce stands, and stopped at one to pick up some items. We then hit a big accident just a mile into the PA turnpike, and there was another large accident closer to Philly. Since lunch was our only reason for the drive to Philly, we decided it wasn’t worth the hassle.
My mom recommended we take the back route home, rather than highways. It truly is a beautiful drive, and a lot more scenic than the highway. We ended up on Route 1, which goes all the way from South Miami up to Maine. I kept my eye out for restaurants in every town we drove through, but nothing jumped out at me. I finally asked my parents if they wanted to wait until Baltimore, or find something where we were. My mom said to find something close, so I got on TripAdvisor to look at options.
We were just outside Historic Kennett Square, also known as the Mushroom Capital of the World. Kennett Square is larger than I originally thought, but still a small town with shops, restaurants, lodging, and attractions. It is just a few miles from Longwood Gardens, one of the top-rated botanical gardens in the country. You usually can’t go wrong with Asian food, so when I found Lily Asian Cuisine we headed there.
Lily Asian Cuisine is the #4 rated restaurant in Kennett Square. The restaurant is small, as are most of the shops and restaurants in the area. There is a sushi bar along the left wall, a couple of tables along the window facing the street, and the rest of the seating is along the right wall. There are a few tables beyond the main dining room, and then a large party room space with more tables in the back.
The Lily Asian Cuisine menu features appetizers, soups, salads, entrees, teriyaki, hibachi, rolls, and sushi. The lunch menu is suprisingly large, and offers specials 7 days a week.
The sushi looked really good, but I wasn’t feeling sushi that day. So I focused on the bento boxes, which are all lunch specials. The bento boxes include miso soup, house salad, pork gyoza, and a sweet potato roll. My parents are vegetarian, so of course did not get the gyoza. I’m not a fan of miso soup; I asked to change, but the other soups are an upcharge. To make things easy for our server, we all got double salad instead of soup, and they got a veggie spring roll instead of gyoza.
When I asked for double salad, I expected one larger bowl of salad. So you can imagine our shock when we each got 2 small bowls. The dressing options are sesame and ginger. Our server automatically gave us sesame. I’m normally not a fan of sesame, but this dressing was delicious. The dressing is light, and the sesame is not overpowering at all.
My mom got the tofu stir fry with spicy peanut sauce.
I’m not normally a fan of tofu, but this one was excellent. The tofu has a good bite and texture, and the peanut sauce is delicious. The server said the sauce was just a little more than mild. You never know if “a little more” translates the same across the board, but she was right…my dad doesn’t do spicy at all, and he would have been fine with the level of spice in this dish. My mom likes spicy, and said she would prefer more spice.
The main ingredient in the spring rolls is mushrooms. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten rolls with mushroom before. The mushrooms lend a very earthy flavor. They are good, but I prefer regular spring rolls.
My dad got the vegan delight
The vegetables are tender-crisp, and the sauce is light and very flavorful.
With some help from the server, I selected the chicken pad thai.
The pad Thai is outstanding, easily in the top 5 I’ve ever had. There is a small lime wedge as garnish, but it tastes like fresh lime is added to the dish as well. Bento boxes typically come with California roll, so the sweet potato roll is a unique Lily Asian Cuisine twist. I wasn’t so sure about the twist, because I don’t like a whole lot of mushy in my rolls. However, the sweet potato is coated in crunch, and the roll is fabulous. My parents don’t eat rolls or sushi, and they ate every single piece. There are 3 pieces of pineapple on the side of the rice, another unique Lily Asian Cuisine concept. The pineapple lends such a wonderful sweetness and slight bite to the rice. I wasn’t even planning to eat the rice, but after one bite I ate all of it.
Will I go back to Lily Asian Cuisine? No question. When I read reviews after our visit, so many raved about the sushi I have to go back and try some. I am so glad I listened to my mom and took the back roads home. Had we not done that, we never would have discovered Kennett Square or Lily Asian Cuisine. Next summer, I definitely want to do a day trip back to the area, and visit Longwood Gardens as well.
For reviews of other restaurants in Pennsylvania, click on the photos below!