Thursday, February 03, 2011

The Stockyard Inn (Lancastwer PA) 02/2011

All restaurants must suffer from hiccups in the kitchen or the front of house at times which explains why there can be a scattering of bad reviews of restaurants that are generally highly regarded. As with these reviews it is hard to assess the significance of the occasional awful review. Whilst there are many flattering reviews there are a few seriously critical reviews of Stockyard Inn (SI) both in regard to the service and the food.
From the moment we entered SI we had a feeling that we would have a pleasing evening. The dining rooms are elegant, comfortable and express a feeling of quiet sophistication.

After checking coats we were seated promptly and offered menus and drinks.
There are some unusual items on the menu and I was happy to try Snapper soup. The menu tends be rather lyrical and to exaggerate the qualities of the dishes.
Philadelphia-Style Snapper Soup
With the aroma of cloves and spices, our famous Snapper Soup will turn your
first course into a holiday. This wonderful soup features snapper turtle meat in a thick
and rich seasoned tomato base, and is finished with sherry wine. A menu mainstay
since 1952, the original, hand-written recipe is kept in our safe. 6.50

A Stockyard Steakhouse Signature

French Onion Soup Au Gratin
Our sumptuous version of this marvelous French country dish rivals any French
restaurant. Sweet, gently sautéed onions are nestled with house-made croutons
in a delicate broth, then covered by a trio of cheeses. A perfect appetizer. 6.00
A Stockyard Steakhouse Signature

Served with a small decanter of sherry, to be added as desired, this looked pretty ugly.
The colour, our waitress said, came from ginger in the soup! I doubt it. Regardless It did not taste of ginger, and did not taste fishy at all and had a good amount of snapper turtle meat in the soup. It was pleasant as served but the addition of a couple of spoons of sweet sherry made it into a superb soup.
French onion soup, despite their claims, was fairly ordinary.
Clams on the half shell with the house cocktail sauce

were chewy as expected and tasted fine.
Pan seared Chilean sea bass,

crusted with pine nuts and fresh herbs in a saffron beurre blanc sauce came with pea risotto, shitake mushrooms and lightly cooked beans. ($28) For $8 more the fish came with a very good jumbo lump crab cake. Sandra' New York strip steak with seafood, beans and Bearnaise sauce
was a very good piece of meat but the sauce was cold and definitely not real Bearnaise. All meals were served with a green salad with choice of dressings.
I was specially pleased to see half a dozen Meritage wines on their fairly extensive wine list. We settled for a 2004 Angels Peak which turned out to be quite excellent and we will definitely look for Meritage wines in USA in future.
We were then offered a dessert tray
from which we chose a range of cakes. Their house made cheese cake
was smooth and creamy and would be acceptable in any restaurant. A Pecan cake
was very rich and sweet and a strawberry sponge fine and light.
We enjoyed a thoroughly good meal in an extremely pleasant venue. Service was exemplary. The dishes were presented nicely though they could have been a little more attractively plated. The food itself was fresh and tasty, especially the fish.
Score 15.25/20
Without deciding the importance of these things we might score Ambiance 7.5, Service 8, Wine list 7, Food 7, Presentation 5, Returnability 5.5 Value 6 all out of 10

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