Sunday, August 5, 2007

Restaurant Review: The Mansion Inn

Another Saturday, another restaurant. I love that we try to do this every weekend!

We have wanted to try The Mansion Inn in New Hope, PA for a while, so we decided to make reservations well in advance for August 4. We didn't realize when we made them that we'd be going on the 15th anniversary of the day we first met. I love the memories...Jon was a 20 year old partying frat boy and I was a 17 year old who had just graduated from an all-girls private Catholic prep high school getting my first taste of college life. The weekend I met him I told my friend that he was the man I was going to marry. It happened, not for 11 years, but I always knew that it would.

The Mansion Inn has a beautiful outdoor garden. We had planned on having a drink there before dinner but since it was about 94 degrees with 90% humidity, we went to the bar at Marsha Brown's. Their list of wines by the glass, while overpriced, offers a lot of variety.

We walked next door to the Mansion Inn and wished it wasn't so hot so we could eat outside. They have tables on the front porch which would be great for people watching. We were seated in the parlor - a large room with very high ceilings, low lighting, light jazz music playing, and elegant, Victorian, decor. Not our style, but it was still a beautiful room. The tables were very close, but were arranged in a way where you still had privacy. Even when the room became full, it was still very quiet. Great spot for a romantic dinner!

Most of the appetizers on the menu were seafood so I was happy to hear that they had an Italian meat and cheese board as one of their specials. It was a nice sized appetizer to share - 2 pieces each of 4 kinds of meat, and 2 pieces each of 3 cheeses plus a large pile of a really good blue cheese. It also came with a small bowl of olives which we didn't touch.

Salads - I'm not crazy about the salad choices at The Mansion, but that's because I don't like fruit, nuts, or anything sweet in my salad (they have a poached pear salad with zinfandel vinaigrette and a goat cheese salad with chocolate hazelnut dressing). I asked for a regular green salad but they couldn't do it because they don't have many types of dressing, so I ended up ordering the Cesar and it was ok, but Caesar salad isn't my favorite thing. They DO have a Caprese salad, but that would have been too much after the meat and cheese plate.

Entrees - I ordered the filet and Jon chose the swordfish. I was very happy with my filet - cooked perfectly and it melted in my mouth. It came with horseradish whipped potatoes (they went overboard on the horseradish), sauteed spinach (excellent), and onion frizzles. Jon's fish was good except for the citrus sauce on it (he also doesn't like fruity stuff in his food). Also, the crab risotto was very, very dry - not anything close to the risotto that I make! Overall dinner was good. Nothing really stood out, but I didn't have any complaints except for my potatoes and Jon's risotto.

Dessert - I never order dessert, but as soon as I saw Creme Brulee on the menu I changed my mind! It was probably one of the best Creme Brulees I've every had. Jon's molten chocolate cake was excellent - rich and not too sweet with a hot, creamy chocolate center. My tea, much unlike last week, was very hot and came in a miniature teapot so I could actually have a full cup and more if I so desired.

Service - our server and all of the other staff were wonderful. They were very quiet, attentive, and sincere.

Overall our dining experience was pleasant and we left mostly satisfied - I'd give it a B. However it wasn't a restaurant that had us dying to go back. There are so many fine-dining restaurants in this area and they all have SO much potential, but still, to this day, Earl's Prime is the ONLY one that has really impressed us. The other restaurants only need to make very small changes to become exceptional, and it's a little disappointing that they get away with charging the prices they do for being "almost" very good.

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