Saturday, April 19, 2008

Kemble Park Tavern: Blonde's I-REview - The Restaurant Edition

The BF and I had dinner last night at Kemble Park Tavern in the Palisades - formerly the Starland Cafe, a personal favorite of mine.  I've been really looking forward to eating dinner here as the reviews were pretty good and with it's theme of an English pub, it's right up my alley.  Let's just say the decor is great, very cozy, and the service is stellar.  We were off to a good start.  They had a nice selection of wines by the glass - nothing crazy, nothing extravagant, just all the stuff I like.  The BF ordered the tomato and onion salad to start.  I don't like tomatoes or onions, but thought I'd be adventurous and try them.  The tomato was great - clearly a beefsteak tomato - it was large, crunchy, with good texture and flavor.  The onion - quite spicy - I'd have much preferred a vidalia onion.  That would have made me order my own salad.  Moving on - I ordered the shrimp over grits, BF order a cheeseburger with real Vermont cheddar!, and we split an order of the housemade bacon.  We voted on the bacon based on the  housemade bacon at Jay Caputo's Espuma in Rehoboth Beach, DE.  Guess there is a reason why Jay is semi-finalist for the James Beard award and Kemble Park Tavern is not.  The bacon was white?? and mushy.  The flavor was good, but after a half of a strip, I was done.  Disappointing.  The shrimp - which I believe were actually prawns (yes there is a difference) - and came head-on despite my request to have them removed and were at best mealy.  The grits were chunky - not creamy - and the sauce my dinner was drown in was flavorless.  All in all, I was pretty disappointed.  It was decent enough to eat - I didn't send it back - but that is the best I can say about it.  The BF's cheeseburger was quite tasty though - now I will know for future reference, although I am not anxious to return there anytime soon.  So, we decided to end the night with a treat of apple and strawberry cobbler, topped with strawberry ice cream, with a complimentary strawberry puree, rum, and champagne apertif.  Sign me up!  I was thinking that perhaps the night could be revived!  The dessert arrived - burning hot - literally I had to spit my first bite out because it was beyond scalding.  The cobbler topping was burned and the apertif was unimpressive.  It tasted like a smoothie with just strawberry and ice - nothing sweet about it.  You couldn't taste the rum and I'd argue if there was actually champagne in it.  Once the cobbler cooled, it was pretty good, but all in all the whole meal was off.  My advice?  Save your pennies on Kemble Park Tavern - with all the good choices for cuisine in this town, they'd be better spent elsewhere.

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