While enjoying the amazing view, we were greeted warmly by the one young woman on duty who served as both hostess and wait staff. Allowed to select any table we desired, we decided on that one perfect table that provided views of both the great outdoors and of the wonderfully warm glowing fire crackling in the massive fireplace. The scent of wood smoke permeated the room generating a warm, welcoming sensation all around.
2 gold stars so far. View and ambience.
But, there’s more to culinary heaven than warm ambience. Time to peruse the menu. Oh, it was hard to decide. How to choose, how to choose? Appetizers alone created a dilemma. Crab bisque or roasted butternut squash soup? Sautéed mussels in a roasted red pepper saffron broth or herb & red chile accented grilled pizza dough layered with fontina, parmigianno-reggiano & mozzarella? Not a pedestrian selection in the group.
And, then there were the sandwich entrees. Each one sounding as enticing as the others. Ribeyes and crab cakes and big old juicy angus burgers and reubens on marble rye and, need I go on?
But wait, I haven’t even mentioned the most exciting part. This is M.L. Carroll’s place. You know you know who she is. ML is and has been the owner and top chef of Canapes catering in Frederick for years and years and is widely regarded as one of, if not THE top food executors in the area. Never disappointed with any of her catered affairs in the past decade – we were salivating at getting a taste of what she could do in her own restaurant.
We expected amazing culinary delights to come out of her kitchen when she didn’t have to make 250 at a time. We just knew that this would be the perfect venue for her to showcase her incredible talents. We were almost giddy with anticipation.From all of the choices on the appetizer menu, we selected two: the crab bisque and the Avocado Spring Rolls served with a peanut sauce and a sweet chili dipping glaze. Props to the bisque. Actually very tasty with plenty of crab meat and flavor. The bisque was not overly thick as can often happen with less attentive chefs. So, yay for the soup.
Sadly, the praise must now come to an end. My mother always told me not to say anything if I didn’t have anything nice to say. So, if I were a good girl, and always did as my mother told me, then the review would end here. But who ever said I was a good girl?
For those of you who only like good news, I suggest you stop reading now. For there was nothing else we ate that lived up to its billing.
The avocado spring rolls? Well, they were hot. The delicate almost unseasoned avocado filling would have been far better served by a light wrapper – perhaps a phyllo dough or a thin spring roll wrapper. Instead, it was enmeshed in a hard eggroll type wrapper that did absolutely nothing to enhance the flavor of the dish. It could also have benefited by the addition of salt. And the accompanying sauces? Both overly sweet. And the peanut sauce had a clumpy skin on top – almost as if it had been sitting in the refrigerator without benefit of a lid.
The fire grilled ribeye? The generously portioned yet flavorless, unseasoned, unmarinated un-anything piece of meat had absolutely no grilled flavor - nor flavor of any kind. Oh, and the cracked peppercorn and horseradish cream with which it was supposed to be topped? Nowhere to be found.
Where the heck is the salt cellar in the kitchen? Did we somehow end up dining on “reduce your blood pressure day”??
How about the creamy lump crab cake served on toasted focaccia with a
Hey, it’s not like the place was packed and the kitchen staff was working frantically to garnish plates. We were the ONLY people in the restaurant! You would think that they could pay a bit of attention to the food they were sending out.
Our server handled the missing items with aplomb, appearing promptly with replacements. The horseradish cream was fine. But the
But, I have saved the best for last. The omnipresent “Pasta Creation” served with each entree. The creation that graced our plates consisted of old cold egg noodles with a few julienned pepper strips thrown in for color. And a slice of mushroom.
You know the hard edge that pasta gets when you have it in the fridge too long? Well, the Lodge’s pasta creation made an art of them. My guess is that at some previous meal, wide egg noodles were served as a side dish and there were just too many left over to throw out. Add a bare minimum of slivered veggies, sprinkle on far too little parmagianna and voila: Pasta Creation!